2013-04-12 / Community

Riis Clock Still Stands


Peggy Patrylo and the famous Riis Park Clock. Many were happy to discover the well-known clock was still standing tall, even if the time wasn’t right, after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by John Patrylo Peggy Patrylo and the famous Riis Park Clock. Many were happy to discover the well-known clock was still standing tall, even if the time wasn’t right, after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by John Patrylo By John Patrylo and Dan Guarino

Peggy Patrylo of Bayswater took a recent drive to Riis Park and was happy to see that the famous clock still majestically standing after Superstorm Sandy.

According to clocks.org, quoting from the “Historic Structure Report April 1981, Gateway National Recreation Area:”

“The Wise clock, sometimes known as the Riis Park Memorial Clock, was installed … on March 4, 1941.

Although the exact origin of the clock is unknown, it was probably built in the 1890s as a special-made item by the Wise Jewelry Store in Brooklyn... Some sources claim that the clock was manufactured by the Howard Clock Company of Boston.

“The clock stood in front of the Wise Jewelry Store at Flatbush Avenue and Nevins Street for approximately (sic) years. It was then moved with the firm (to) Fulton Street near Hoyt where it remained for nine years.

“From there it was moved to 288 Livingston for about five years before being removed to the park. The clock was donated to the Department of Parks by William A. Wise and Son in 1941 when the firm went out of business.

“The base of the clock was cast iron, and from the pedestal top and above it was wood. The clock itself was twelve feet high in height and the overall height of the standard about 20 feet. There were four faces on the clock, each face being four feet in diameter and each dial 30 inches in diameter. The clock had elaborate detailed scroll work throughout the pedestal.

“The clock was set in a concrete foundation on the promenade at the park. A bronze weather vane in the form of a sailor looking through a spy glass was installed on top of the clock in September 1941.”

The clock famously appeared in a Cracker Jacks commercial in the late 1960’s/early ‘70’s. A little boy and girl are seen putting the contents of their pockets—a ball, some string, assorted coins and a marble, on the counter at the Riis Park concession stand. The counterman (comic actor Jack Gilford) picks through the coins and finds, including the marble, they have just enough for a box of Cracker Jacks. They then run across the boardwalk, past the clock, and sit down to share their treat.

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