Mental Health Break

Oct. 29 marked the 88th anniversary of the biggest catastrophe to ever unfold in the Big Apple — that no one’s ever heard of.
Most remember that awful day in 1929 as Black Tuesday, the great stock-market crash.   

Absent from most history books is a hard-to-believe human-pachyderm tragedy: the Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede — whose victims finally got their due last week when a statue was installed in their honor in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Anywhere from 10 to 64 people were crushed by a trio of raging elephants that horrible day, all flattened by the massive beasts — led by the biggest of them all, a 13-foot-tall behemoth named Jumbo.

A newspaper account of the mayhem on the statue’s Web site says, “A slow and deliberate cross suddenly became a deadly stampede to freedom for Jumbo and a pair of elephant crusaders. The elephants bulldozed anything and everyone in their path. Bones were crushed. Bodies impaled upon tusks. Helpless citizens dragged through the streets like rag dolls.”

Yet no one would have predicted the bloodbath. After all, elephants had marched over the bridge ever since the great span was completed in 1883.

What made these elephants killers? Some said a rogue, rabid mouse spooked the lumbering giants. Others said Jumbo was to blame — spoiled peanuts may have made him particularly dyspeptic that day.

Two elephants died in the stampede. Jumbo was last seen charging to freedom through the Holland Tunnel.


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