Brooklyn Footprints in Florida: David Sholtz

Another high profile Brooklyn Footprint in Florida would be that of David Sholtz, a Brooklyn native born to Jewish parents in 1891. Sholtz served as Florida Governor during the great Depression, from 1933 to 1937. We found the original article from a December, 1925 Brooklyn Daily Eagle that mentions Sholtz as a potential Governor for Florida At the time of the article Sholtz was living in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he had moved immediately following his graduation from Yale in 1914. hile reporting on the training camp of the Brooklyn National League Baseball Club in Daytona Beach several years prior to the 1925 article, the Brooklyn Eagle also mentioned the probability of David Sholtz one day being the first “Northern man” to become Governor of Florida. Eight years after the 1925 article Sholtz did just that, he was elected Florida’s 26th Governor in 1932. … Read More >Brooklyn Footprints in Florida: David Sholtz

Brooklyn Castle Interviews

“Seeing Brooklyn Castle changed my perspective as to the reality of using chess as an academic tool in the lower grades.”
Mayor Mike Ryan: Sunrise, Florida

The award winning documentary film Brooklyn Castle continues to inspire city government officials in Florida who are trying to incorporate academic chess programs into the lower grades because learning chess has proven to strengthen a child’s ability to exercise memory, pattern recognition, and decision making.

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Interview: Fred Mannarino

Artist and Brooklyn native Fred Mannarino lives in the house he had built 29 years ago in Spring Hill, Florida. Mannarino is now 87 years old and remembers a stunning amount of details from his Williamsburg, Brooklyn childhood during the 1930s until the 50s. Yet, as he pointed out with a laugh; “Although I can remember when I delivered the Brooklyn Eagle in the 1940s when it cost just a nickel, but hell, I’m getting so old now I can’t remember what I was doing an hour ago.” His father, Joseph Mannarino, was an immigrant from Calabria, Italy, who came directly to Brooklyn when he was 13 years old. During his teens he worked in German restaurants as a potato peeler making $37 a week, which was where he learned how to cook. His mother was also from Calabria. She was a seamstress and played the “numbers” a lot. Once she won really big and was able to buy the family a diner that was for sale on Flushing Avenue.
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Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Norm Graff

Brooklyn native Norm Graff played stickball with the Wycliff Stiffs until he was 89. He was born in East New York in 1926 so he has memories of how difficult it was for his family during The Great Depression. Graff has a great sense of humor. When he was joining the Navy in 1944, during his mental aptitude test the Navy psychiatrist asked him, “Does anybody in your family suffer from insanity? Graff, being a young wiseguy replied, “No, they all seem to enjoy it.” During the interview he said his wife of 64 years recently celebrated her 85th birthday; Graff said, “And she’s still a knockout.” … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Norm Graff

Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Mel Zupnick

Mel Zupnick has played with the Wycliff Stiffs stickball league since it started about 20 years ago. He was born in East Flatbush and grew up in Brownsville. Zupnick is the third Brookyn native in Florida we have interviewed who delivered the Brooklyn Daily Eagle during his childhood to earn extra money. “I lived with my grandparents. My grandmother took whatever my grandfather earned and saved it so from the money I earned delivering the Eagle I would give my grandfather a few bucks a week to keep in his pocket. That would leave me about $6 or $7 to get what I wanted; you know, comics, movies, whatever. … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Mel Zupnick

Interview: Fred Serrano

I was raised in the streets of Brooklyn; the world was mine back then. I had a great childhood. We didn’t have TVs, cell phones or computers, but we had whatever we could make. The football we played with was made of newspapers rolled and wadded up with a rope wrapped around to hold it together. After we moved to President Street off Van Brunt, two blocks from the docks, I remember seeing aircraft carriers severely battle-damaged in the war being brought back to the Navy Yard. I was so young when I delivered the Brooklyn Eagle I had to get working papers. … Read More >Interview: Fred Serrano

Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Harry Klaff

Harry Klaff, Chief of Operations for the Wycliff Stiffs Stickball league, is Brooklyn through and through. He grew up in a six-story apartment building on Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst. After graduating from Layfayette High he went to Brooklyn College and received a Masters in history and then taugh history at Tilden High in Brooklyn for 34 years. One of his favorite memories is watching the Dodgers raise their only World Championship banner on opening day at Ebbets Field in 1956. … “You gotta remember, in those days the average ball player made about three or four times what the average working stiff made, which was not a real lot of money, at least not like today. They were regular people, and in the off season they had real jobs. The Dodgers were part of the community.” … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida: Harry Klaff

Brooklyn Stickball in Florida

One of the founders of the popular stickball league in Wellington’s Village Park near Palm Beach, Florida, is former New Yorker Marty Ross. As Ross recalled: “Every time I asked them about their memory of the “spaldeen” their eyes would light up and all these stories came out of the woodwork. It’s like I made them relive something fantastic.” That’s when Ross decided he wanted to start a regular activity with all these people who had played stickball during their childhood, but he didn’t have a place they could play. … Read More >Brooklyn Stickball in Florida