Tag Archives: Gravesend Racetrack

The Other White Horse Tavern

News of the recent sale of the building housing the White Horse Tavern has Greenwich Village preservationists worried for the future of that legendary watering hole. Did you know that Gravesend once had its own White Horse Tavern? It stood on the southwest corner of Avenue U and McDonald Avenue–its official address was 286 Avenue U–from the mid-1890s through about 1922. (The current structure on the site was completed in 1927.) The rare and possibly unique postcard below captures the place and maybe shows its owner, too. On his 1910 U.S. passport application, Bavarian immigrant Engelbert Schindlbeck (1868-1921), the proprietor, stood five-foot-six, with a broad forehead, blue eyes, proportionate nose, medium mouth, round chin, brown hair, fair complexion, and round face. That description seems to match the fellow standing front and center, at the corner of the White Horse porch, in dark suit and boater.

Avenue.U.286.Schindlbeck.recto.WATERMARKED

Circa 1911 postcard view of Engelbert Schindlbeck’s White Horse Tavern, 286 Avenue U, Gravesend, Brooklyn. (Collection of Joseph Ditta.)

Schindlbeck’s place catered to patrons of the nearby Gravesend Racetrack, offering food and drink and hotel rooms to sleep off the latter. The track had closed by the time J.E. Reid, the wag who mailed this postcard, visited on July 31, 1911. He wrote: “A friend of mine and my self came down here Sunday morning [July 30]. We got lost, but will be back as soon as we find our way out.” Unlike the poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), whose heavy drinking at the other White Horse Tavern led to his early demise, we suspect Mr. Reid and companion made it out of Gravesend alive.

Screenshot 2019-03-10 at 10.16.49 PM

Google’s street view of the same corner as it looked in June 2018.


Copyright © 2019 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Avenue U

Pony Express

Sometimes I get lucky. That was the case on March 13th when I won on eBay the two framed horse racing photographs seen here. No one else bid (my many arch enemies must have been napping) and I got them for a song. According to the inscribed brass plaque on the base of its frame, the photo on the left captures a moment in the Steeplechase, the second race run at the Brooklyn Jockey Club’s Gravesend track on Monday, June 8, 1908. The winner was “Simon Pure,” followed by “Henderson,” “Waterspeed,” and “Boadwee.” The four small plaques on the base of the other frame name the horses above: “Agent,” “Alfar,” “John M. P.,” and “Haylas.” This was the second race of the Coney Island Jockey Club at the Sheepshead Bay track on Saturday, September 8, 1906. John M. P. won, followed by Agent, Alfar, and Haylas.

If only the pictures had arrived as fast as these horses raced. . . . They came from Florida, and were delivered on March 18th five days after purchase. Pretty good time, actually. Or so I thought. When I opened the giant box, it held stereo speakers. Yes, stereo speakers. Turns out the seller shipped two boxes simultaneously: mine with the photographs, the other with the speakers. The speakers were destined for California. They came to Brooklyn instead. You know where this is going, right? Yes, my pictures went to California. Luckily, the shipping company picked up the speakers the following day, but it took another week for the photos to cross the country. Another week of me anxiously checking the tracking location, praying that these 108- and 110-year-old images in fragile, 20″ by 30″ frames would survive the journey. They did, thankfully, but Pony Express might have been quicker!

Brooklyn.Jockey.Club.1908.photos4 - Copy


Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Ditta (webmaster@gravesendgazette.com)

2 Comments

Filed under racetracks