Pier Six brawl

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Wed Aug 4 23:29:17 UTC 2004

Newspaper archive has it from 1929.  Also in a boxing context.  The story
was out of New York City.

----- Original Message -----
From: "George Thompson" <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2004 6:12 PM
Subject: Pier Six brawl

> Listening to the MYMets game on the radio last night, I was reminded of a
phrase I used to hear from my father.  One of the broadcasters remarked at
his surprise at hearing Bob Murphy, the former broadcaster who had just
died, describe a fight on the field as a "Pier Six brawl".  The present
broadcaster had not heard the expression, and supposed it was a relict of
Murphy's time in the Marines.  (Murphy was nearly 80 and had grown up in I
think Kansas & Oklahoma, where I believe they do not have piers.  Brawls,
yes, but not piers.)  I don't listen to the Mets often enough to know the
broadcasters by their voices; both are more or less young, and at least one
is a NYer.
> My father used to use the term, and the variant "a real Pier Sixer", with
reference to prizefights, mostly.  As I recall, he thought it referred to a
Pier Six on the Brooklyn waterfront, which he would have known in the 1910s
and 1920s.  However, the earliest appearance I find in Proquest's
NYTimes/LATimes/ChicagoTrib/WashPost is from the LATimes, February 25, 1933,
with reference to a prizefight:  "It was a fine old Pier Six brawl. . . ."
(Searching "Pier Six brawl"; I also searched just "Pier Six" and found a
number of earlier stories but doubt that any contained a variant of this
phrase.  The ones I checked, the ones that seemed most likely, didn't.)
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

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