In New York City, we are lucky to be surrounded by water – at the very least we’re all a relatively short subway trip from it – and the beaches and recreation that come with it. The postcard above shows one of the many yacht clubs that existed in Brooklyn beginning in the late 19th and existing well into the 20th century: the Bay Ridge Yacht Club. By far, the most popular yacht club was the Atlantic Yacht Club, in Gravesend Bay. Founded in Gowanus in 1866, it moved from one waterfront neighborhood to the next in its long history of existence. Another popular club that expanded to include many sports was the Crescent Athletic Club whose country clubhouse and boathouse were located in Bay Ridge while their main clubhouse was located in Brooklyn Heights. Although Brooklyn’s early 20th century yacht clubs saw an active series of regattas, the yacht clubs that exist today seem to focus more on storing watercrafts and offering a community focused on fishing, relaxing, and sailing.
In addition to providing a window to the stories of Brooklyn’s former yacht clubs, this picture is a representative of our enormous postcard collection — we have a great lot of them! Postcards are a highly collectible medium for which there are many enthusiasts dedicated to their survival. The practice of deltiology was most prominent in the early 20th century and has since fallen behind email and Facebook. However, some of our postcards, especially those of Coney Island, would bring your Instagram-filtered photographs to shame.
Finally, the postcard also captures the endless days of summer. As the holiday weekend is almost upon us, I remind everyone to take in the beach one last time before the lifeguards head back to school, the temperature begins its downward spiral, and the days shorten ever so gradually. Happy Labor Day, Brooklyn.
Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our new website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Fri, 1:00-5:00 p.m.