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Guide to the Listen to This: Crown Heights Oral History collection 2010.020

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Brett Dion

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 22, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Gruber, Edward, 2010 March 25

Biographical / Historical

Edward Gruber was born at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital in 1937 and raised in the Crown Heights neighborhood until he was eighteen. He attended P.S. 241, near Ebbets Field, which afforded him frequent stops to Dodgers games on his way home. His family's home was a brownstone on the north side of Eastern Parkway. He attended Erasmus Hall High School, graduated in 1955, and went on to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Gruber had a career as a telecommunications engineer and manager for International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation (ITT). When he first married, he lived on Long Island. At the time of the interview in 2010, he lived with his wife in Northern New Jersey and their daughter and grandson were new residents in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.

Scope and Contents

Ed Gruber begins the interview by noting that he was born in the neighborhood's Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, lived on Eastern Parkway, and that he has been a repeat visitor to Brooklyn's Crown Heights since leaving for college in 1955. He observes the renewal on this 2010 visit, including new stores on Franklin Avenue, coffee shops, and a construction site. He reflects on a visit to a butcher shop in his youth and his father's reporting to air raid headquarters on Franklin Avenue for duty as a warden in 1940s wartime. He tells of his grandfather's time as a restaurateur and a bartender. Gruber would walk his dog past the Town Hill nightclub to see who was singing there. He recalls the trolley on Eastern Parkway, attending P.S. 241 and seeing Dodgers games, Franklin D. Roosevelt's motorcade and, from his stoop, the Memorial Day parade. Gruber talks about childhood games he played, going to Erasmus Hall High School and getting a driver's license. He remembers seeing stores that were looted or closing down in the early 1960s and he shares some of his grandmother's recollection of the neighborhood in the early 1900s. Gruber mentions he has come back for school reunions, and even got involved with a reunion committee for P.S. 241. He closes with some praise for Brooklyn and words of wisdom for schoolchildren of this era. Interview conducted by Alex Kelly.

Conditions Governing Access and Use

Access to the interview is available onsite at the Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online on the Oral History Portal. Use of the oral histories other than for private study, scholarship, or research requires the permission of BHS. For assistance, contact

Subject Names

  • Gruber, Edward

Subject Organizations

  • Erasmus Hall High School
  • Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn

Subject Topics

  • Brownstone buildings -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Ebbets Field (New York, N.Y.)
  • Education -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Games -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Gentrification -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Nightclubs -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Parades -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Public schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Restaurants -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Restaurateurs -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Transportation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Urban renewal -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Economic conditions |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x History |y 20th century
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
  • Crown Heights (New York, N.Y.)
  • Eastern Parkway (New York, N.Y.)
  • Franklin Avenue (Brooklyn, N.Y.)