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The Insider's Connection

World War II

Battle of the Cakes: the Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Dessert-lovers across the world recognize the Brooklyn Blackout Cake, its decadent chocolate layers symbolic of a specific moment in history. But how many people know the story of that moment, or of Catherine and George Ebinger’s family business?  The Ebingers opened the famous Ebinger’s Bakery, between 4th and 5th Avenues on 86th Street in Bay Ridge, in 1898. In the second half of the 19th century, the German population was skyrocketing in New York. As German infrastructure and German-owned businesses appeared around the city, a German bakery like Ebinger’s would not have been an anomaly. In fact, brands like Entenmann’s, Holtermann’s, and Drake’s that you may recognize today got their starts as German family-owned bakeries in New York City. Ebinger’s sold over 200 varieties of German desserts, but during World War II, one specific menu item became an unexpected legend….

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September 9, 2019

Artists Making Waves: The American Merchant Memorial Statue

This Memorial serves as a market for America’s Merchant Mariners resting in the unmarked ocean depths. The American Merchant Mariners Memorial statue, built by Marisol Escobar and dedicated in 1991, is tucked away in Battery Park south of Pier A. The statue portrays a striking image: four men on a sinking ship, calling for help clinging to life. This image is based on a true event, developed from a photograph, and has come to represent thousands of lives lost. How can one piece of art represent a chapter of history? On March 22, 1943, an American ship called the SS Muskogee was hit by a torpedo and sunk by a Nazi U-Boat on its way from Venezuela to Halifax. The ship was transporting petroleum and carrying a crew of 34 men, led by Captain William Betts. 10 mariners held tight…

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May 13, 2019