Oral History in the Classroom at PS 27 in Red Hook

PS 27 in Red Hook (since 1890!)

PS 27 in Red Hook (since 1890!)

Sady and I took a trip down to nearby Red Hook to teach 4th graders at PS 27 about oral history. We played clips from BHS collections and discussed them with the kids, who were learning about Weeksville, Bed-Stuy and the African American experience in Brooklyn.

The kids were quite excited when we told them that the workshop would end with them conducting interviews that would be saved in the BHS collections for perpetuity (We didn’t use the word perpetuity with the 4th graders.). Look for those kids’ interviews (which were great and suprisingly sophisticated) on our podcast. We’ll put them up once we get the parents to sign off on it and have a chance to edit out some of the (long, thoughtful) pauses.

Sady at DeFonte's

Sady, Excited to be at DeFonte's in Red Hook

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our wonderful lunch at one of Red Hook & Brooklyn’s most famous sandwich joints—DeFonte’s! I was so excited to be there that I got two sandwiches. The first one was a peppers and eggs with cheese and ketchup on a hoagie roll. Delicious, but perhaps a bit of a carb overload. The second (which I saved most of for dinner) was Soprasata, Provelone, and Capicola ham with onions and olives—DELICIOUS! The place is a Brooklyn classic and has been there for years (since 1922!). If you’ve never been down there, GO NOW, and take a bite out of Red Hook history.

About Todd Florio

Todd is the Head of School Programs at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
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4 Responses to Oral History in the Classroom at PS 27 in Red Hook

  1. Red Hook says:

    Growing up in Red Hook, we also referred to DeFonte’s as The American House. Great sandwiches then. Don’t know if it is a Brooklyn term, or just a Red Hook term, but we called the big sandwiches on italian bread as “Crushers”. Guessing it was from the sound of the bread as you bit into the sandwich. SO GOOD!!!!

  2. N Jay says:

    I remember 3 brothers who lived there named Timmy Tommy and Terry, My older brother had friends named Lefty and Righty..One morning somewhere around 5 am we got cap guns for christmas and you guessed it we shot the guns off and woke up the intire neighbor hood, we felt it for that stunt. as more memories come back to me i will share if you are familiar with these people or are them would love to hear from you

  3. N Jay says:

    Happily I woulde welcome the days of my youth between the age of 3-7 that I spent living in the projects in Red Hook at 470 Columbia Street,if memory serves me rightapt 2F we went to the school at PS 27 wish I knew more about the school at that time, names of teachers ect. was there any pictures taken at that time of the classes, are there archieves somewhere toi find them, we played in the little park directly or at least I think it was behind the projects some where near coffey park. We went to the Red Hook pool. Each Sat or it might have been sunday we went to the Clinton theater from 10-4 and came home with dishes for mom.I kinda remember a Soda shop near by? A sandwich shop as well. I remember making a skate board with my brothers and waiting till someone got a large appliance so we could play inside it, where are the imagination of todays kids? in 1956 we moved away from Red Hook out to Brentwood where i lived till 1970…There must be a ton of things that happened during my time in Red Hook would like to hear about.

  4. Sady Sullivan Sady Sullivan says:

    I had the Potato & Eggs since that’s what a lot of folks ahead of me were getting and I don’t eat the meat. It was cozy and filling and I imagined longshoremen eating it with cold hands and a thermos of coffee.

    My favorite part of the day was when one of the Fourth Graders said “What’s your job called again?” And I said “Oral Historian” and he said “That’s what I want to be!” I told him he should come intern here at BHS when he’s old enough – I can’t wait!

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