If you’re looking for Irish Brooklynites you’ve come to the right place.
There was an influx of Irish Immigrants to Brooklyn during the mid 19th century who helped build New York City. If you’ve seen ‘Gangs of New York’ you have an idea of what it was like at the time. Irish immigration continued through the 1950s as depicted in the incredible film ‘Brooklyn‘. The neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Windsor Terrace became predominantly Irish and the borough eventually produced some of the most talented Irish actors, writers and musicians in history.
Read on to learn more about your favorite Irish Brooklynites!
Anne Meara was best known as half of the comedy duo “Stiller & Meara” with her husband Jerry Stiller. Their act was based on her being a tall Irish girl and him being a short Jewish man.
“Nobody was thrilled when we got married, absolutely nobody.But they accepted it”, she added with perfect comic timing: “Nobody sat shiva.”
Remember where Ralph and Alice Kramden lived on ‘The Honeymooners’? The address was 328 Chauncey, which just so happened to be the same address where Jackie Gleason grew up. In fact, almost every detail of the Kramden house was based on Gleason’s childhood home.
Gleason was born into a poor Irish-Catholic immigrant family in 1916 at 364 Chauncey Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. He went to Public School 73 and dropped out of high school. He preferred to spend his time with the Nomads, a Brooklyn “athletic club,” an organization that differed little from a street gang.
“The Great One” is such an important part of Brooklyn culture that there is even a sign with his signature saying that welcomes everyone to Brooklyn, “How Sweet It Is!”
Wasn’t it exciting when Jimmy Kimmel came back to Brooklyn to film ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’?
If there’s one thing we know for sure, he has a ton of Brooklyn pride! Kimmel grew up in Mill Basin and invited his classmates to the taping of his show in Brooklyn to recreate their class photo.
Kimmel even keeps a picture of his childhood home at his place in L.A.
“I just like looking at it because it makes me remember living in Brooklyn, which is I think the greatest place to grow-up,”.
Always the funny man, this part Irish comedian always knows how to get a laugh on Twitter:
“The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” host grew up in Bay Ridge before moving to Saugerties, New York at a young age. Luckily he didn’t forget his Brooklyn roots. What better way to announce The Tonight Show was moving back to New York than a parody of one of the most classic Brooklyn movie scenes of all time, Tony Manero strutting down the street in ‘Saturday Night Fever’.
Jimmy on being Irish:
“I’ve just been waking up every day, having breakfast by the pool. I try to get tan, but I’m Irish so I burn bright red – lobster red. But then it becomes a nice cinnamon toast color.”
It’s been a long time since little Anne Hathaway starred in ‘The Princess Diaries’ and she has grown into a major star. But let’s not forget where she got her start. Hathaway was born in Brooklyn and went to Brooklyn Heights Montessori School. She even lived in the world famous Clocktower Building on the Brooklyn Waterfront in DUMBO. She has since moved, but will never forget her Brooklyn roots.
Danny Boy O’Connor
Did you know Danny Boy O’ Connor from House of Pain is from Brooklyn? You can’t get any more Irish than that! What 90s hip hop group House of Pain did for Irish Pride is immeasurable. The music video for “Jump Around” was filmed during the 1992 New York City Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Portions of the video were filmed during the parade route as well as Central Park and Old Town Bar and Restaurant.
Chuck Connors was everything a little boy could dream of: baseball player, basketball player and actor. He was raised Roman Catholic and served as an altar boy at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn. He grew up in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn and got a sports scholarship to Adelphi Academy, a private high school in Brooklyn. He went on to star in the TV series ‘The Rifleman‘.
“Brooklyn” and “tough guys” seem to go hand in hand and Lawrence Tierney is no exception. The Brooklyn born actor was always cast as a thug or gangster as you remember from ‘Dillinger‘ and ‘Reservoir Dogs‘. Maybe he learned how to be a tough guy by listening to his father’s work stories? His Dad was an Irish American policeman.
Tierney was a star track athlete at Boys High School in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. He got his big break after he was discovered in the Irish American theater. The rest is history.
Pulp writer Mickey Spillane was born in Brooklyn. His family moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey for a few years, but no one can stay away from Brooklyn for too long. They moved back and Mickey graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1935. He sold his firs story that year. Mickey’s father was an Irish bartender.
One of the best things about Spillane was his signature Brooklyn attitude. He once sad why he writes, “Authors want their names down in history; I want to keep the smoke coming out of the chimney”.
Irish immigration created the wonderful and rich Irish culture we have in Brooklyn today. Learn more about your favorite Brooklyn celebrities on our tours!