NEW YORK -- With the movie "42" bringing the Jackie Robinson story to a new generation, fans young and old may be inspired to visit some of the places in Brooklyn connected to the African-American athlete who integrated Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
In Coney Island, a statue portrays Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, the white Dodger teammate who stood by him in the face of racist taunts. At the cemetery on the border of Brooklyn and Queens where Robinson is buried, admirers still leave baseballs and other mementoes. And for fans who enjoy irony -- or who remain bitter about the Dodgers' departure to Los Angeles in 1957 -- there's a "No Ball Playing" sign at the housing complex where the Dodgers' storied stadium, Ebbets Field, once stood.
Joseph Dorinson, author of "Jackie Robinson: Race, Sports and the American Dream," says it's no accident that the color barrier was broken by a Brooklyn team. "Jackie made it in Brooklyn, and no other place, because of the multicultural and ethnic diversity here," he said. That diversity still exists here today.
Here's a guide to exploring Jackie Robinson's Brooklyn.
STATUE: The life-size statue in Coney Island shows Robinson and Reese arm in arm. It's inscribed with the story of how Reese, captain of the Dodgers, "stood by Jackie Robinson against prejudiced fans and fellow players ... silencing the taunts of the crowd" during a game in Cincinnati. The statue is located outside MCU Park, where the minor league Cyclones team plays at Surf Avenue and West 17th Street, near the last stop on the D, F, N or Q train to Coney Island.
HOME AND CHURCH: Robinson lived in several places in Brooklyn before moving to Queens and later Connecticut with his wife and children. On a tidy block in East Flatbush, a two-story brick house at 5224 Tilden Ave. with a rusting fence and peeling paint bears a plaque that states: "The first African-American major league baseball player lived here from 1947 to 1949." Local officials have started an effort to landmark the house.
Robinson and his wife, Rachel, also lived for a time at 526 MacDonough St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Although much of the movie was filmed in the South, some scenes were shot on MacDonough because the filmmakers wanted to show the building's distinctive front stoop, a common feature of Brooklyn homes.