It Happened in Brooklyn

An Oral History of Growing Up in the Borough in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s

Table of contents

The Voices
2009 Introduction
Prologue: A Future to Behold
Part I. When we were a couple of Kids

1. The Streets were our Sanctuary
2. School Days
3. Look, Ma,I’m Dancing
4. One Big Happy Family
Part II. Living Together
5. Every Customer was a Half-Hour
6. Everybody Knew Everybody Else’s Business
7. From Sweltering Stoop to Shimmering Shore
8. Coney Island
9. One Nation-Under God
10. America’s All
Part III. The Days of Our Glory
11. WhatHigh School did you go to?
12. Hanging Out and Making It
Epilogue: That World is Gone
P. S.
Picture Credits

Over one hundred voices recall, chronicle, and celebrate the Brooklyn of legend.


It Happened in Brooklyn tells the story of mid-century Brooklyn, home of the famed Brooklyn Dodgers, Nathan's franks, stoop-ball, stick-ball, and some of the best high schools in America. In this spirited recollection, more than one hundred voices chronicle and celebrate, in tones both humorous and poignant, the borough as it was once was: a largely working- and lower-middle-class environment bathed in the optimistic glow of the postwar years. Illustrated with period photographs.