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

Untitled ‘Eagle’ project: Library seeks new name for beloved bird statue
Bird is the word: Brooklyn Public Library leaders are inviting locals to vote on a new name for the historic eagle state inside the book lender’s Central Branch.
Gregg Richards

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 cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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