Brooklyn Plane Crash

Friday, December 17, 2010


On the morning of December 16th, 1960, two airplanes collided in the fog over New York City. The New York Times ran a triple banner headline, covering what was the worst air disaster in American history at that time. Fifty years later, The Times is covering the story again.’s deputy metro editor Wendell Jamieson says the project highlights the stark difference in the way newspapers covered such disasters then and now.

Comments [5]

Susan Oliver from Portland, OR

Very interesting story, especially in light of so much other "re-reportage" going on today, things like Twitter's Genny Spencer stream (, and the New York Times' "Disunion", which is blogging the events up to and during the Civil War as if they were happening today in real time.

I have one concern about your method. Was there any attempt made to authenticate the identity of the person Wendell Jamieson interviewed? When the only communication you're relying upon is done via email, there is obviously an opportunity for fraud. I highly doubt that that happened in this case, but for both NPR and the NY Times to blithely report that this was done via email without any qualifications is worrisome.

Dec. 28 2010 11:15 AM
Michael Lando from Brooklyn, NY

There were some interesting comments about how the TV personalities never referred to the neighborhood name of Park Slope. I lived in Park Slope for nearly fifty years and was a student in St Augustine's School down the block on Sterling Place when the crash occurred. I grew up between 5th and 6th Avenues and we never referred to the neighborhood as Park Slope until I was a teenager and we wanted to be included as living in a more chic gentrifying neighborhood. We knew a large part of the area as South Brooklyn, and a lot of the old timers knew it also as Gowanus. Now it's chic again to say you live in Gowanus, but where exactly is that? I know where it is but do all the people who speak "realtor-speak" know? What about South Brooklyn? Will that name come back into style? Don't misunderstand me as I am very pleased about the revitalization of many of the old neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and I mean Brooklyn, not the other four towns of the original Dutch five.

Dec. 20 2010 04:00 PM

Interesting story and not really sure why it's being so widely resurrected as I'm sure there are many similar newsworthy events that have been left in the past.

Regardless of that, I used to live near Dean and Hoyt and do my laundry up Smith street, there were many photos in the laundromat of this crash. I found the subject matter to be completely perfunctory but was always intrigued by them and at the time couldn't find any information on the crash. The photos were under harsh lights and fading, I hope they were not originals or they'd be erased by now.

Dec. 19 2010 04:06 PM
Brett Greisen from Astoria NY

Good comments at the end of the segment about terminal area speed limits & other procedural changes.

Many years ago I was on a SI ferry that was buzzed by a Cessna 150 trainer doing wingovers at an altitude below that of the ferry wheelhouse. The wingovers were also done within the length of a single wing on that models.

This was pre-internet so I got home & tried to contact the FAA by phone. However, the only phone # listed in the white pages (before the more extensive Blue Pages) was for noise abatement complaints.

I could not get referred to an airmanship complaint line even with the plane's tail #, ferry name + direction of travel & time of day.

Luckily, today the Net & more comprehensive listings make such a civiian report easier to report to the licensing/airmanship office.

Dec. 19 2010 11:42 AM
Donna from MetroWest

It's been many years since I lived in Park Slope with my boyfriend (now husband) in the early 70's+ and learned about this disaster from him. We would stop at the site of the disaster many times in our walks in the neighborhood, and try to feel what the passengers/pilots were feeling at the time, and just simply cry...

Hearing this story today brought tears to my eyes once again..

Dec. 18 2010 02:53 PM

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