One for the books: Library renames historic eagle statue after former beep

New name: Brooklyn Public Library leaders renamed the historic Brooklyn Eagle statue inside the Central branch after its late benefactor, former Borough President Ingersoll.
Brooklyn Paper
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It’s a bird rebranded!

A historic eagle statue named after the newspaper whose offices it once perched atop just received a new name from bookworms at the Brooklyn Public Library, who rechristened the sculpture now sitting inside a local reading room after former beep Raymond Ingersoll.

Ingersoll strongly advocated for the borough’s library system during his two terms in the People’s House, and helped its leaders raise funds to complete the construction of its majestic Central Branch in Prospect Heights, where the eagle now resides — making the tribute even more fitting, according to his grandson.

“The extended family of former Borough President Raymond V. Ingersoll is honored that Ingersoll the eagle will soar in the Brooklyn Public Library as an inspiring tribute to my grandfather’s legacy of service to the borough,” said Raymond V. Ingersoll II.

Ingersoll, who served as Brooklyn’s top pol from 1934 to 1940, won the honor following an online vote hosted by library leaders, who suggested his surname and four other possible names as new monikers for the statue that formerly nested atop the old Brooklyn Daily Eagle building Downtown.

Losing names included “Emily,” for Brooklyn Bridge builder Emily Warren Roebling, and “Dodger,” a nod to Kings County’s former baseball club that betrayed the borough when it moved to Los Angeles back in 1957.

Not everyone is thrilled about the historic statue’s renaming, however, and one legendary Kings County newsman accused the library of shamelessly reproposing a relic of the borough’s journalistic past for its own marketing purposes.

“It’s a violation of history,” said Ed Weintrob, Brooklyn Paper’s Publisher Emeritus, who now publishes the Jewish Star. “I’m not sure what else to say, it’s a stupid idea.”

The borough’s chief bookworms announced the renaming contest months after the Brooklyn Historical Society in October permanently gifted the eagle statue to the library, where it sat on loan since 1997.

Decades ago, the onetime mascot of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle — which bears no relationship to the current periodical of the same name — perched atop the newspaper’s old Washington Street headquarters until its demolition in 1955, when the statue was handed off to the Long Island Historical Society, which is now the Brooklyn Historical Society.

The copper-cast creature then dwelt in the lobby of the society’s Pierrepont Street headquarters in Brooklyn Heights until the 1960s, before being loaned to the Brooklyn Museum from 1966 to 1987, and then loaned to the Central Branch a decade later, where it has roosted ever since.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 6:55 pm, January 16, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I was going for Eagle McEagleFace.
Jan. 11, 2019, 8:22 am
Janet from Park Slope says:
The "violation of history" occurred when the branch, formerly known as "Ingersoll", was renamed. This is karma.
Jan. 11, 2019, 10:41 am
Janet from Park Slope says:
Puzzling that Ed Weintrob would deem the library's renaming of the eagle statue for Raymond Ingersoll a "violation of history", considering that the Central Branch was originally named for Ingersoll. BPL's renaming of the branch was the violation. This is karma.
Jan. 11, 2019, 10:47 am
Colin Mixson from Brooklyn Paper says:
Hey Janet, This didn't make the story, but I should note that Mr. Weintrob did provide a comment stating that the Central Branch was formerly named the Ingersoll Branch, and said he felt that, by naming the Brooklyn Eagle statue "Ingersoll," the library was — in a way — naming the sculpture after itself. Not sure that one renaming necessarily justifies, or condemns the other, but figured you should know Ed is well informed regarding Brooklyn's history. Cheers, Colin
Jan. 11, 2019, 11:54 am
Ro from South Slope says:
What was Ingersoll's (the Brooklyn eagle, now permanently residing at the Central Library) original name?
Jan. 11, 2019, 6:15 pm
Frank from Furter says:
Wasn't it originally named "Marty"? boy he could squawk.
Jan. 11, 2019, 8:21 pm
Honey says:
Retarded. That’s what I pointlessly rename the people who did this.
Jan. 12, 2019, 6:10 am
Gargoyle from Newkirk Plaza says:
Now let's make the Great Hall at the central library as grand as it could be. Currently it is depressingly drab.
Jan. 12, 2019, 6:35 pm
Anon from Cobble Hill says:
Ed Weintraub is right - dumb idea and inappropriate. And oh so unnecessary. Thanks, Colin, for providing further context...good reporting and good that you joined in. I agree with Gargoyle - now that the library has literally obliterated my libraries here in Downtown with the business library badly shrunken and moving it out of the business district (another stupid move, unexplained) and decimating the Height library - these people ought to get out of the real estate-deal business and back to the business of enhancing knowledge in surroundings that people would enjoy going to.
Jan. 13, 2019, 9:23 pm

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