"Brooklyn side" vs. "Jersey side" (1911)

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sat Jan 17 06:08:35 UTC 2004

In searching for the origin of 'turkey' in bowling, I stumbled on what may be the origin of the term "Brooklyn side" in bowling, a term to indicate that you hit the pocket of the 1-2 pin, rather than the traditional 1-3 pin pocket. 

Using Newspaperarchive, one finds:

10 Jan. 1911  _Decatur(IL) Review.  4/1

[A sports column headed "Hit 'em on "Brooklyn side' and you win at bowling"]

The column goes on at length to interview an H.W. Harrington, who was apparently a member of the Chicago championship team who went to NY in 1899.  Supposedly the alleys were near the river downtown, and were in not so good shape.  One alert member of the Chicago team noticed that balls thrown to the right pocket(1-3) were not producing strikes.  He shouted to one of his teamates something like "try the Brooklyn side" referring to the 1-2 pocket which was on the left side of the alley, toward Brooklyn.  They went on to defeat the NY team.

While the story may be apocryphal, it would point to an early usage of the term and perhaps the origin.  

"Jersey side" to indicate the same meaning seems to appear in the 1950's.  I couldn't find earlier using the same archive.

Sam Clements

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