Community leaders and elected officials in East Flatbush are hoping they don’t strike out with the city Landmarks Preservation Commission in their bid to get landmark status granted to Jackie Robinson’s former home at 5224 Tilden Avenue in Brooklyn, the New York Daily News reported.
The push to preserve the baseball legend’s old residence kicked off Tuesday, a day before the release of “42,” a film chronicling the slugger’s experience shattering the Major League Baseball color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson won both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards while living in the home from 1948 through 1949.
Robinson was a hero for race relations on the baseball diamond and he took his work home with him. During the family’s first Christmas on Tilden Avenue, Robinson noticed that his Dodger-loving neighbors, the Satlows, didn’t have a tree. Not wanting them to go without, he took it upon himself to buy them one, not realizing they were Jewish. The family was so touched by the gesture that they put the tree next to their menorah. Robinson’s daughter wrote a book about the story called “Jackie’s Gift.”
“It blends in just like the other houses in the district, and that’s why we need to work to landmark it,” City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who is based in Brooklyn, said of the home. “It seems pretty well kept for the time being. We want to make sure it stays that way.” [NYDN] — Evan Bleier