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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Oral history interview conducted by Sady Sullivan
October 30, 2008
Call number: 2008.031.3.007
13:32 - Origins of Prospect Park & the name "Brooklyn;" movie theater visits; street games at homes in Brooklyn & Queens; Aunt sparks Dodgers interest
20:28 - Seeing first Dodgers game; Don Newcombe at his house and status of athletes in '50s; trips to cornerstore
28:10 - Family's social activity; popular music at home and father's career as trumpeter; his and sister's early schooling
34:31 - Promising offerings of Queens for father: homeowning & bit more safety; his sadness at moving & views on suburbs; composition of South Ozone Pk.
41:29 - Public schooling in Queens: His indifference, accelerated learner, engaging teachers, social activity
55:49 - Choosing University of Hawaii "on a whim;" appeal of Princeton campus as ideal; unprepared & adapting to Hawaii
Oral History Interview with Richard "Dick" Parsons
Richard "Dick" Parsons was born in 1948 in Brooklyn. He lived with parents and a sister in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn until age five. The family relocated to the South Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, and the young Parsons accelerated through school, graduating at age sixteen. He attended the University of Hawaii and the Albany Law School at Union University. After serving in state and federal government, practicing law as a partner in a firm, and being Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Dime Bancorp, he joined Time Warner; first as a board member beginning in 1991 and then as President starting in 1995. Taking other high-ranking positions at the company in the late 1990s, he was then CEO of Time Warner from 2002 to 2007 and Chairman of the Board from 2003 to 2009. He has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations and became Board Chair of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2016.
In this first of two interviews, Richard "Dick" Parsons describes impressionable sights and feelings about being a small boy in Brooklyn in the 1950's. He recalls his passion for the Brooklyn Dodgers at two points, and shares special memories of Coney Island, riding trolleys, Prospect Park, seeing movies, and street games. A short description of home life is followed by the family's uprooting and resettling in Queens. Parsons relates his public school experience, basketball playing, and his surprising turn to attend the University of Hawaii. In closing, he describes his unpreparedness for life in the new fiftieth state, how he fit in, and some classmates' understanding of the northeast United States. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.
The Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Civic leaders series features a dynamic range of narrators. Many are well-known public figures and others are well-known in their communities. This ongoing series focuses on Brooklyn history and the experiences of these narrators often reference their outsized contribution to how New York City citizens live, work, and conduct business in the five boroughs. The oldest narrator in this series was born in 1921.
CitationParsons, Richard, Oral history interview conducted by Sady Sullivan, October 30, 2008, Voices of Brooklyn oral histories: Civic leaders, 2008.031.3.007; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Brooklyn Dodgers
- Newcombe, Don
- Parsons, Richard
- University of Hawaii
- Family life
- Local transit
- Public schools
- Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Coney Island (New York, N.Y.)
- Ozone Park (New York, N.Y.)
- Prospect Park (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidVoices of Brooklyn oral histories: Civic leaders