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20 Vintage Photos of Brooklyn

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In 1898, Brooklyn became an official borough of New York. Before that, it was its own independent city, and it was a hectic, diverse metropolis in its own right. If you think Brooklyn has gone through a lot of changes in the past ten years, check out these photos to see what life was like long ago in New York's most populous borough.

The Brooklyn Bridge

1877: A group of men pose on one of the cables on the Brooklyn Birdge mid-construction. 5,000 strands of steel wire make up the massive cables of the bridge. It took 14 years to complete construction.

1883: People walk on the bridge, while a policeman stands guard. The bridge is 5989 feet long and connects Manhattan and Brooklyn.

1926: Four men who wish to be hired to paint the Brooklyn Bridge balance on its beams as a test to see if they can handle the heights.

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1898: Curve at Brooklyn Terminal, New York & Brooklyn Bridge / Geo. P. Hall & Son, photographers, New York.

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1905: A young boy stands on the bridge, out of focus.

Coney Island

1890: People flock to the beautifully ornate entrance to Luna Park in Coney Island.

1890: Luna Park lit up and running.

1890: A crowd watches a not-at-all terrifying parade outside of Luna Park.

1927: Film director King Vidor (far right horse) and cast members of the movie The Crowd—James Murray, Eleanor Boardman and Estelle Clark—enjoy the rides.

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The "Razzle Dazzle" ride at Coney Island (date unknown).

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1901: The log flume ride makes a big splash.

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1900: A ground level view of the ride.

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1903: The Loop the Loop at Coney Island. Looks terrifying!

People of Brooklyn

1925: Herman Frics was once an owner of a saloon but then made some changes. In this picture, he had become an evangelist and principal supporter of the Hand Of God Mission of Brooklyn, New York. Behind him is his church on wheels, which transports him to less fortunate areas to preach.

1933: Baseball players Hack Wilson of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Dazzy Vance of the St. Louis Cardinals hang out at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

1938: An airplane flies over downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. The plane is taking Howard Hughes (1905-1976) and his crew around the world in four days.

Brooklyn Museum

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1905: The dome gallery, featuring some very stylish light fixtures.

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1905: Exterior of the Brooklyn Museum.

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1905: The Brooklyn Museum's gallery of natural history.  

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1905: The ceramics gallery.


All images courtesy of Getty Images unless otherwise stated.

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
8 New Ancient Ships Found at the 'Shipwreck Capital of the World'
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The number of wrecks discovered at the "shipwreck capital of the world" continues to grow. According to Haaretz, the latest find adds eight new wreck discoveries, bringing the total up to 53 sunken ships in a 17-mile stretch off the coast of Fourni, Greece.

As Mental Floss reported, in 2015 archaeologists working off the coast of Fourni identified 22 shipwrecks dating back to 700 BCE—already an historic find. But additional dives conducted by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the RPM Nautical Foundation have continued to yield new discoveries. Nine months later, in June 2016, the Fourni Underwater survey turned up 23 more ancient, Medieval, and post-Medieval shipwrecks in the area with the help of local fishermen and sponge divers. The latest expedition took place in June 2017.

Divers inspect and survey an ancient amphora near the shipwreck site.

The Fourni archipelago, consisting of 13 tiny islands, never hosted a sizable town, but it was an important stopping point for shipping routes between the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and on to Cyprus, the Levant, and Egypt. The area may have been a hotspot for ships seeking safe harbor from violent storms in that part of the Aegean Sea, as Peter Campbell of the RPM Nautical Foundation told Haaretz. It wasn’t an entirely safe destination for merchant ships, though; it was also a pirate haven.

Some of the latest wrecks found include a ship from the Greek Classical Period—around 500 BCE to 320 BCE—carrying Greek amphorae (ceramic jars), a Roman ship with origins in the Iberian Peninsula, and anchors dating back to the Archaic Period (800 to 479 BCE). Researchers found more stone, lead, and iron anchors all the way up to the Byzantine Empire, which lasted until the 15th century.

Two conservationists sit at a table working with shards of ancient pottery.

The ancient trade routes that crisscrossed the Mediterranean (and the dangers of ancient seafaring) have made the area a fertile ground for millennia-old shipwrecks even outside of Fourni. As recently as 2016, divers off the coast of Israel stumbled upon a 1600-year-old merchant ship filled with Roman artifacts. In 2015, Italian divers discovered the wreck of a 2000-year-old ship carrying terra cotta tiles in deep waters near Sardinia.

The Fourni project is still ongoing, and researchers plan to conduct a fourth season of underwater surveying in 2018. Once the project completes a full survey and documentation of the area, the researchers may consider excavating some of the wrecks.

[h/t Haaretz]

All photos by Vasilis Mentogianis courtesy the RPM Nautical Foundation

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J. P. Oleson
Time Has Only Strengthened These Ancient Roman Walls
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J. P. Oleson

Any seaside structure will erode and eventually crumble into the water below. That’s how things work. Or at least that’s how they usually work. Scientists say the ancient Romans figured out a way to build seawalls that actually got tougher over time. They published their findings in the journal American Mineralogist.

The walls’ astonishing durability is not, itself, news. In the 1st century CE, Pliny the Elder described the phenomenon in his Naturalis Historia, writing that the swell-battered concrete walls became "a single stone mass, impregnable to the waves and every day stronger."

We know that Roman concrete involved a mixture of volcanic ash, lime, seawater, and chunks of volcanic rock—and that combining these ingredients produces a pozzolanic chemical reaction that makes the concrete stronger. But modern cement involves a similar reaction, and our seawalls fall apart like anything else beneath the ocean's corrosive battering ram.

Something else was clearly going on.

To find out what it was, geologists examined samples from walls built between 55 BCE and 115 CE. They used high-powered microscopes and X-ray scanners to peer into the concrete's basic structure, and a technique called raman spectroscopy to identify its ingredients.

Microscope image of crystals in ancient Roman concrete.
Courtesy of Marie Jackson

Their results showed that the pozzolanic reaction during the walls' creation was just one stage of the concrete toughening process. The real magic happened once the walls were built, as they sat soaking in the sea. The saltwater did indeed corrode elements of the concrete—but in doing so, it made room for new crystals to grow, creating even stronger bonds.

"We're looking at a system that's contrary to everything one would not want in cement-based concrete," lead author Marie Jackson, of the University of Utah, said in a statement. It's one "that thrives in open chemical exchange with seawater."

The goal now, Jackson says, is to reproduce the precise recipe and toughen our own building materials. But that might be harder than it sounds.

"Romans were fortunate in the type of rock they had to work with," she says. "They observed that volcanic ash grew cements to produce the tuff. We don't have those rocks in a lot of the world, so there would have to be substitutions made."

We still have a lot to learn from the ancient walls and their long-gone architects. Jackson and her colleagues will continue to pore through Roman texts and the concrete itself, looking for clues to its extraordinary strength.

"The Romans were concerned with this," Jackson says. "If we're going to build in the sea, we should be concerned with it too."


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