2. Bedford-Stuyvesant contained the lost baseball stadium Capitoline Grounds

Capitoline Grounds in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Capitoline Grounds circa 1870. Image via C.S. Reinhart on Wikimedia Commons.

Even the most die-hard baseball fans may not know that there was a baseball stadium in Bedford-Stuyvesant near Halsey Street. Capitoline Grounds was home to the Brooklyn Atlantics from 1864-1872, who joined the professional circuit during the final year they played at the stadium before leaving for a larger field. No remaining traces of Capitoline Grounds can be found at its original location, but it was honored for a short time by a now-closed coffee shop with the same name on Flatbush Avenue.

Even during this eight-year stretch, many monumental events occurred at the popular stadium. At “the finest game ever played,” the Atlantics defeated the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who at the time were considered the greatest team in the world thanks to having the longest winning streak of all time at 84 games. In 1870, the first public display of the curveball was demonstrated by Fred Goldsmith, Ned Cuthbert is credited with inventing the slide at the stadium when he tried avoiding a tag when attempting to steal a base. In a tragic event at the stadium, Washington Donaldson and two reporters attempted to fly a hot-air balloon across the Atlantic Ocean starting in the field, but the balloon crashed in Connecticut and killed one of the reporters on board. And before its demolition in 1880, Capitoline Grounds was used as an ice rink during the winter. Today, there is a coffee shop in Bed Stuy named in its honor.