Pugilism In Greenpoint?

May 21, 2009 by
Filed under: Bushwick, Greenpoint Magic, Williamsburg 

streetfightthumbAfter watching this amazing video yesterday of two youths having an impromptu boxing match on Grand Street (and getting over the What The Fuck factor) my mind has been abuzz with pugilistic thoughts. Namely the following question:

Was boxing a popular sport in north Brooklyn 100+ years ago?

To sate my need to know I pointed and clicked my way over to the Brooklyn Public Library’s online archive of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and did a little searching. It didn’t take me long to get my answer either:


Follow are a few articles I found regarding the Greenpoint Sporting Club. Not really being “into” boxing myself what I find of interest is the arcane language (e.g.; “mixing it up in a lively fashion”) and the “monikers” some of these guys have. Politically correct 1890’s Greenpoint was most decidedly not. Enjoy!

August 31, 1897


October 19, 1897


December 21, 1897


December 23, 1897


Both started in lovely, Burns playing havoc with Kelly’s nose…

Nope, they just don’t write ’em like they used to!

Miss Heather


3 Comments on Pugilism In Greenpoint?

  1. dhex on Thu, 21st May 2009 1:17 pm
  2. it was part of the whole “physical culture” upswing at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. henry miller speaks about it a bit in black spring and parts of capricorn (iirc) when talking about his childhood in williamsburg. (mary dearborn covers it in her ok-ish biography, “the happiest man alive” as well)

  3. bestviewinbrooklyn on Thu, 21st May 2009 2:07 pm
  4. North Brooklyn, South Brooklyn, Manhattan, anywhere, really: more alike than different.


  5. stupidnwrcklss on Thu, 21st May 2009 5:46 pm
  6. A couple of years back I had friends who would congregate from yard to yard at the North end of Greenpoint to have fights amongst friends. Also I have often seen younger kids on the G train with boxing gloves and unfortunately some who even thought it to be funny to have impromptu fights with random straphangers.

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