Where the F Train rises above ground to cross the Gowanus Canal once stood a sign for Eagle Clothes. Eagle opened its plant here in Brooklyn in 1951 and did a fair business in Ivy Style and gentleman’s clothing until closing in the late 1980s, a victim of outsourcing as well as our nation’s unfortunate turn to casual wear. When Mayor Vincent R. Impellitteri toured the site in July 1951 he called it “one of the most complete and best equipped factories he has ever seen.” It provided over a thousand jobs, no small thing given that the the Brooklyn Navy Yard was scaling back and would eventually close in the mid-1960s. In the decades after the World Wars there was no longer a need for battleships.
Eagle plant literally outfitted The Man in the Gray Flannel suit, manufacturing the wardrobes for the production of that 1956 film right here in Brooklyn. That’s just one example of Eagle’s reach. Abraham & Straus was a major Eagle retailer. Rod Serling wore Eagle Clothes for much of his time as producer, writer, narrator on The Twilight Zone. (He also wore Kuppenheimer for a time as well.) Every time I saw that Eagle sign in the fifteen years since my move here until its tearing down three years ago I could not but help to think of Rod Serling. The photo here came to me yesterday and I thought I share on this Sunday morning.