Brooklyn Collegiate Centre of City College of New York
Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn newspapers such as The Eagle, The Times-Union, The Citizen, and the Daily Times covered news from the Brooklyn Collegiate Centre.
Brooklyn Collegiate Centre came into being when two overcrowded Manhattan institutions, the all-male City College of New York and the all-female Hunter College, opened branches in Brooklyn. While the two branches occupied the same building, they had separate classes, faculty, and administrations--loaned from the parent campuses. Classes began in October 1926 with a joint enrollment of 1,200 students. The two-year CCNY branch became known as Brooklyn City College.
Brooklyn City College quickly organized a dramatic society and a debate team. Soon we read of a school newspaper—the Pioneer—and a student council. An Inter-fraternal Council emerged after four CCNY fraternity chapters began pledging students on the Brooklyn campus. With a large Jewish enrollment, B.C.C. received a chapter of the Menorah Association in 1928 to promote Jewish culture. The German Department also organized a Deutcher Verein.
In October of 1926 the Times-Union reported that Sophomores required Freshmen to wear red ties and white socks while in the area defined as the campus. In 1927 the same newspaper noted “bloody noses and blackened eyes” resulting from the annual flag rush between the classes.
Two events in 1930 changed the history of the Brooklyn schools. First, they became independent of their respective parent campuses. Second, the CCNY and Hunter branches merged into one college, with co-educational classes beginning at the junior level. The new entity took the name Brooklyn College.
Bricks and Mortar
The Willoughby Building at 80 Willoughby Street was completed in 1926. It was a ten-story brick structure, measuring 62 feet in width with a depth of 97 feet. The centre rented the upper nine floors, containing 40 lecture rooms, a library, and a gymnasium. Overcrowded, the schools immediately began to look for more space. In 1927 Hunter College moved out to 66 Court Street. By 1929 Brooklyn City College had added an annex two blocks away on Pearl Street.
By 1934 Brooklyn College had relocated to a new campus at 2900 Bedford Avenue. The Willoughby Building has for several years housed the St. Joseph’s High School for Girls. It is also the new home for Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. The image (right) is by jim.lawrence
Team Name: The Citizen refers to teams as the Blue and White; the Times Union as the Lavender.
School Colors: Lavender and Black. For 1928 colors were Gold and White, according to the Daily Times.
Originally Brooklyn City College was to have no sports programs. However, in November 1926 the main CCNY campus announced that the Brooklyn Branch could have its own athletic association, financed by students, with teams playing as Brooklyn City College. The main campus provided $100 and “loaned” two coaches to start an athletic program. One of the loaned coaches was 24-year-old Louis Oshins, who coached football at the school for 21 years.
Brooklyn City College organized a tennis team to compete in the spring of 1927 and by the fall of 1927 had a complete sports program—including track, wrestling, boxing, and soccer. In 1928 Oshins organized five small colleges in the region-- Long Island University, New York State School of Agriculture, Cooper Union, Wagner College and Brooklyn City College-- into the Metropolitan Collegiate Conference to participate in football, basketball and baseball.
Brooklyn City College played a limited football schedule in 1927 including two games against the CCNY junior varsity. The 1928 team compiled a 5-2-1 record, winning the new Metropolitan championship. The 1929 team won only three games—all conference wins--, so played Long Island U for the conference championship. That game was a much-advertised experiment of the revised scoring rules proposed by Stanford coach Pop Warner. There were no extra points following touchdowns; points were awarded for each first down. LIU had two touchdowns and 10 first downs for 22 points; BCC had one touchdown and 5 first downs for 11 points.
The image of Louis Oshins (left) is from the 1959 Broeklundian. https://academicworks.cuny.edu/bc_arch_1959/148/