A Path From Moses to Barclays
by Larry Penner
Oct 25, 2012 | 11780 views | 2 2 comments | 451 451 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Take a trip down memory lane to understand that if had not been for mega-builder Robert Moses and both the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers leaving the Big Apple in 1957 for California, there may have been no Barclays Center or Brooklyn Nets basketball team.

The Golden Era of baseball in New York City took place in the 50's with a three-way rivalry between the American League Bronx Yankees, National League New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.

All three teams claimed to have the best center fielder in baseball. On street corners all over town, citizens would argue whether the Yankees Mickey Mantle, Giants Willie Mays or Dodgers Duke Snider was champ.

Ordinary Brooklyn residents could ride the bus, trolley or subway to Ebbets Field to see their beloved Dodgers. Working and middle-class men and women of all ages, classes and races co-mingled in the stands. Everyone could afford a bleacher, general admission, reserve or box seat. Hot dogs, beer, other refreshments and souvenirs were reasonably priced.

Team owners would raise or reduce a player’s salary based on their performance the past season. Salaries were so low that virtually all Dodger players worked another job off-season. Most Dodger players were actually neighbors who lived and worked in various communities in the County of Kings.

During the 1950s, Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley tried to find various locations for construction of a new baseball stadium, which he pledged to finance using his own money. With limited seating capacity at Ebbets Field, he needed a new modern stadium to remain financially viable.

But New York City master developer Robert Moses refused to allow him access to the current day Atlantic Yards site. This location was easily accessible to thousands of baseball fans from all around the city via numerous subway lines. Thousands of fans who moved to eastern Queens and Nassau and Suffolk counties would have had direct access via the Long Island Railroad.

Imagine how different Brooklyn would have been if elected officials had stood up to Robert Moses and allowed construction of a new Dodgers stadium in Downtown Brooklyn.

Without the departure of both the Dodgers and the Giants, there may have been no National League expansion in 1962. There would have been no Colt 45s (original name of the Houston Astros), the New York Mets, or the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 28, 2012
Obviously this article is very pro-O'Malley. Walter O'Malley is the reason the Dodgers are not in Brooklyn today; not Robert Moses. The man moved the 2nd most profitable team in Major League Baseball to the Left Coast purely because of his greed.
Norman Oder
October 26, 2012
For the record, O'Malley sought the site now occupied by the Atlantic Center mall, across Atlantic Avenue from the Atlantic Yards site.

More here: http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/a_sports_myth_grows_in_brooklyn.php

Norman Oder / Atlantic Yards Report