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The territory of Brooklyn, which is sort of Texas without erl, occupies, to tell the bald truth, the southwest outpost of Long Island, or that bulge of it where the island comes to moor like a giant ship in the harbor of New York.
Linked to Manhattan by eight subway lines, three bridges, one automobile tunnel and a state law, Brooklyn is still separatist enough to think of what lies across the East River as a place called New York, a haven for swells, spenders and the New York Giants. In the secret mind of its citizens it has probably long ago seceded from New York and, were it to do so officially, it would be the third largest city in the U.S. Among its three million citizens, packed 35,000 to the square mile, are more Italians than in Florence, more Jews than in Tel Aviv and very nearly as many Russians as live in Smolensk or Sevastopol.
What brings together this Canarsie cosmography is the common humbleness of beginnings, the common oppressiveness of the highfalutin air that emanates from the lands that adjoin to the west, a common defiant pride in the community and a common emotional identification with the Brooklyn Dodgers, that compleat athletic symbol of the underdog, who last year—if you go by the way such things are measured—played the game of baseball better than anyone else in the world.
For the visitors who stand ready to breach the moat of the East River in case the Dodgers cop the pennant once more, not only are tickets printed, but the beds are turned down and the larders are full. Aliens will find Brooklyn throbbing around its village green, that tree-lined, bench-bordered, pigeon-cruised alleyway that gives on Borough Hall, a town meeting place whose stone steps are decorated with a pair of signs that say, as any Brooklynite can tell you, "No lertering."
A place to loiter before gametime would be Gage and Tollner's, an aged eatery two blocks away which will, on Brooklyn Series game days, open for lunch at 10:30 in the morning. As always, it will serve its standard menu, which offers oysters 22 different ways—from " Baltimore broil" to "crumb fry,"—and littlenecks and cherry stones, 28 ways—from " Boston stew" to "shell roast." "Belly broils," lightly dipped in batter and broiled over anthracite, are an oldtimer's specialty. Waiters wear stars, bars and eagles for longevity, the walls are done in old mirrors and velveteen, and every evening in November you can dine by gaslight glowing from the original fixtures.
The public eats at Joe's, a vast armory of potted palms, ceiling fans, white tiled walls and coat trees, first opened in 1909 by Joe Balzerini, a former bootblack from the Bowery. Joe's is now a scant hundred feet from the Dodger home office and the staff eats there daily. When secret deals are cooking and luncheon guests must be screened from public view, waiters and busboys bring the mountain to O'Malley.
Tucked under the Williamsburg Bridge is a Spartan establishment known as Peter Luger's, which serves ounce-and-a-half drinks, inch-and-three-quarter steaks and two-inch chops. Peter Luger, who started the place in 1887, offered his customers no tablecloths, no menu and no smile, but he became known nonetheless as the Beethoven of Beef and his death in 1941 evoked editorials in New York City newspapers. The third generation runs the house just the same, which is to say you pay according to the weight of the steak, and all you can get at dinner besides meat is french fried potatoes, sliced tomatoes and onions the size of a 16-pound shot.
Brooklyn's largest hotel, the St. George, has added so many rooms between 1884, when it opened, and 1929, when it built its tower section, that it is now the second largest hotel in the country. Ladies and gents can still live on separate floors (at $3.50 the night or $16 a week, including use of the pool), but the hotel is also patronized by bankers and brokers who can, without ever coming up for air, take the subway from an office building entrance in Wall Street and emerge without intermediate stop in five minutes flat in the St. George lobby.
The Dodger headquarters, should the Series return to Flatbush, will be in the smaller, family-type Hotel Bossert, the seasonal home for Clem Labine and Don Bessent. For the occasion the Bossert has a new manager, Se�or Don Leonard V. Ross, lately the manager of the Wellington, perhaps the most exclusive hotel in Madrid.