Posts Tagged ‘dekalb’

don't wait here

Sit tight, wait for the show, and admire the theatrical lighting; there won’t be trains running on this side of the platform for several hours. It seems that there’s a lot of subway construction, a.k.a. “necessary trackwork,” going on lately.

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ye olde memorabilia

The peculiar smell of the bar at Maple Lanes Bowling Alley bar might be as old as the memorabilia, but arguably adds to the nostalgic feeling. The decorations lean toward baseball (before those bums went west), and are dominated by the logo man from Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park, but what catches my eye is the DeKalb winged corn sign.

It’s from a midwest seed company, relevant to Brooklyn because its name is from the same DeKalb of our local avenue and subway. (See earlier blog posting.) The Revolutionary War mercenary’s name is spread mysteriously thin across the US. Who would expect a link between DeKalb seed (purveyors of genetically modified products) and a windowless bar in the middle of Brooklyn?

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de kalb subway stop

I wouldn’t give DeKalb Avenue or the subway stop much thought, but the train conductors have come up with about six ways of pronouncing DeKalb, as if to keep the name fresh in my head.

dekalbThere are dozens of counties, cities, roadways, and other places called DeKalb across the US, from Missouri to Georgia and Fort Greene, Brooklyn. All can be traced back to Alsatian-born Johann DeKalb, who first came to North America as a spy for the French, then returned with Lafayette as a Revolutionary soldier of fortune in 1777. Appointed a general, DeKalb served under George Washington at Valley Forge and Brandywine and was killed in battle in South Carolina at age 59.

(portrait by Charles Willson Peale)

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