Culture on the Cheap
The Pickleville Pugilist
Last week we learned about what life was like in Greenpoint’s very own Dangertown. Today we will explore (albeit tangentially) another colorfully nicknamed part of the Garden Spot (and beyond): Pickleville. Where was “Pickleville” located, you ask? The Eighteenth Ward, e.g.; the sliver of Greenpoint and “East Williamsburg” roughly contained within Meeker Avenue*, Flushing Avenue, Newtown Creek and Bushwick Avenue (as seen on the map to the left). Why was this area called Pickleville? My educated guess is because there was once a rather substantial German immigrant population in this area (just look at some of the street names and you’ll see their legacy). So much for ethnic sensitivity. But I digress.
This post is about one very special Pickleville resident. Her name was Gussie Freeman — but the Brooklyn Daily Eagle preferred to call her the “the slasher of the rope walks.” A typical turn-of-the-century housefrau Ms. Freeman most decidedly was not. You can learn more about how her claim to fame (or infamy) by reading this article dating from November 22, 1891. Enjoy!
Female boxers in north Brooklyn, who knew? This post goes out to you Gussie (“the Gouger”, “Limpy Sal” & company). You make me proud to be a Greenpointer!
*Namesake of the Meeker Avenue plume which the New York Times expounds upon in today’s edition. I could have told them people were unwilling to have their homes tested for fear it would affect their property values and saved them a trip. Oh well…
Map Credit: www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com