BROOKLYN NETS: The Flagpole Of Flatbush
I had a chance to ask Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz what the chances were that a blue line could be painted downtown along Court Street to signify and pay tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 victory parade route. He said, "No, no way." He pondered the question for another second. I understood then there were very real reasons why that would never happen. But the Borough President finished his response by telling me, "...that is over. The Dodgers are done here. This (the Brooklyn Nets) ends that." It was hard to argue with that reasoning. Then I thought perhaps I didn't really want to know the real reason. Responding in fan-speak was perhaps the best way he could have answered.
I met the Borough President today because the old Ebbets Field flagpole was rededicated and given new life at Barclay Center. While the flagpole has been in place since the arena opened last month, this afternoon a plaque affixed to the base was unveiled.
(left to right) Nets CEO Brett Yormark; Jerry Stackhouse;
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Sharon Robinson; Bruce Ratner.
Here is the background. This was the flagpole perched atop the scoreboard along Bedford Avenue. I can speak for a VFW post once owning it. The casket company is a little fuzzy to me. When the Veterans vacated the property, the location on Utica Avenue became a church. And so, the flagpole became the property of the pastor. There it stayed for many many years on a side wall, not quite in front. Most of the neighborhood residents were aware of it. My baseball teams utilized indoor batting cages on the same block. That's how I became aware of the flagpole. After seeing it so often as a younger boy, I returned a few years ago to take a picture. However, I arrived two weeks too late. The businessman next door told me a flatbed truck came by and took it away. The pastor sold it. No one ever found out where it was taken. I heard a rumor someone from Long Island purchased it. On a side note, I've read some of the media's background stories, and I'm not sure who they're talking to. Anyway.....
As part of this afternoon's presentation, Borough President Marty Markowitz clarified the matter. Apparently, when he became aware of the flagpole's availability, in 2007 he suggested Bruce Ratner purchase it - which he did. The Borough President also related to me later during our personal exchange, that it came at a rather high price. Let's just say the pastor did very well in the transaction. I do not mean to paint the wrong picture. Truth be told, the church was struggling financially, and the flagpole was an asset. Five years later, the flagpole thankfully has a new home in Brooklyn again.
The daughter of the late Jackie Robinson, Sharon Robinson, was also on hand for today's dedication. And in meeting her, I freely admit I was a little overwhelmed. I told her as much. I told her I didn't even know where to start expressing how privileged I felt at that moment, much less making mention of her family's place in history. So I just told her I was humbled and extremely honored to have met her.
Marty Markowitz, Bruce Ratner, and Sharon Robinson were also gracious enough to grant me a shameless photo request. And so did Jerry Stackhouse..! My man! The small ceremony concluded by raising the American colors up the flagpole, followed by a Brooklyn Nets flag.