Monday, December 31, 2012

What I learned today

Heights Casino in Brooklyn
I don't know if I learn something new every day, but today I did. I follow two blogs about architecture. One is called Old Long Island and it's about all the grand estates in the area where I grew up. The person also does a blog called Beyond the Gilded Age about buildings of that era (1877-1893). I am definitely the dummy in the group. Most of the commenters are architects and historical preservationists so I learn as much from the commenters as I do from the blog. Reading the comments has educated my eye (a bit) when looking at buildings.

Today, on Beyond the Gilded Age, he featured a building called The Heights Casino on Montague Street in Brooklyn. I thought Casino? Brooklyn? This building was a social hall/athletic club and the description made no mention of gambling.

So I posted a comment:

December 31, 2012 11:18 AM

Patricia said...

Does "casino" have an original meaning that goes beyond gambling? I've never seen it used this way to mean a social or athletic facility.

Then I looked at and posted a second comment:

December 31, 2012 11:48 AM

Patricia said...

Ok, I just answered my own question by using The meaning of casino is any building which is a social gathering point, but especially if there is gambling. The word comes from the Italian for house (casa) and the diminutive ending (ino). Never knew this, but it is so obvious now.

Just now checked to see if there were more comments. OK, I'll admit: I looked at both blogs again in order to procrastinate and not do what I'm supposed to be doing. But here's a comment from one of the learned commenters:

December 31, 2012 11:53 AM

The Down East Dilettante said...

Patricia---just to add a little---'Casino' was a word used for many sporting and gathering facilities in the gilded age summer resorts---the most famous of which is the wonderful Newport Casino. Definitely the definition of a hundred or more years ago was less specifically geared toward gambling

So that's what I've learned. It surprises me that I typically have an eye out for word derivation, but never put the casa into casino... Never occurred to me!


Mary Mc said...

what a cool building. Were these places exclusive, or could the average Joe use them? or the average Jill?

Pat said...

Just googled it, and it has its own website ( The good news is that it's still in operation and the building is in tact. The bad news is that it looks like a very snobby squash club.