Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Another Memorial by the Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede: Yes, Abq Jew reminds you, it was only three years ago that the Chicago Cubs, on Rosh Hodesh MarHeshvan (the "bitter" holiday-free month of Heshvan), won the 2016 World Series.

Oh, those were happy days
(unless you were a Cleveland fan).

We celebrated Chicago's victory over The Fates along with native son President Barack Obama and his bright, good-looking, and virtuous family.

And we looked forward to the upcoming elections, as we prepared to deliver the White House (and the Capitol!) to one of the smartest, most experienced, and most capable candidates in our nation's history.

As we all know -

It's been straight downhill since then.

Before we get to Thanksgiving - when we are obligated to be thankful for the many blessings we have, as Americans, indeed received, present circumstances notwithstanding - we pause in our time-travels to memorialize two events that occurred on October 29, 1929.

The first event - those of a certain age (and perhaps, their children and grandchildren) will never forget.

The second event - those of a certain age (and certainly, their children and grandchildren) may not even remember, since its tragedy was trampled in the tragedy of the first event.

Abq Jew speaks, of course, of

The Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede

Don't remember? Here is the story:
Since the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in May of 1883, elephants have crossed into lower Manhattan. 
It was a hallowed and wholesome tradition, started by world-famous showman, P.T. Barnum. That is, until the laughter and cheers of yesteryear were supplanted with screams of horror and the sounds of bones crunching under elephant foot. 
October 29th, 1929, to some, is known as Black Friday … the day of the great stock market crash. To others, it is known as 
the Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede … one of the most horrific land mammal tragedies in our nation’s history.

This year was more even more publicized than most as the circus advertised the arrival of its new star: Jumbo! The thirteen-foot-tall African elephant was to lead other elephants across the bridge and crowds came from miles around to see Jumbo in all of his massive glory as he led the greatest show on earth into the greatest city on earth.

However, before Jumbo and the other elephants could complete their journey, something upset the animals and a slow and deliberate cross suddenly became a deadly stampede to freedom for Jumbo and a pair of elephant crusaders. 
The elephants bulldozed anyone and anything in their path. Bones were crushed. Bodies impaled upon tusks. Helpless citizens dragged through the streets like rag dolls. 
Then it was down Broadway to Wall Street where more chaos unfolded. While the distressed leaders of the financial sector descended into panic, many taking their own lives, 
the Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede would go down in history as the greatest single animal-driven disaster of the modern era.

When all was said and done, two of the elephants lay dead in the city street. The third, Jumbo himself, was last seen running to freedom through the Holland Tunnel. 
While no firm evidence exists either way, rumor has it he survived and lived out his days in an elephant sanctuary. 
The Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede Monument is dedicated to the triumph of the will of these elephants … and the poor souls that stood in their way.
Artist Joe Reginella has taken it upon himself - as he did for the Staten Island Ferry Octopus Disaster - to spread awareness of this pachydermal tragedy - via a website, a Facebook page, a documentary, and the Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede Walking Tour.

One of the most horrific land mammal tragedies
in our nation's history. Dedicated to the triumph
of the will of these elephants and
the poor souls who stood in their way.

You can learn more about the Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede here and here.To learn more about New York City's most compelling mysteries and forgotten tragedies, click here.

Let us never forget.

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