1) Amusement Park Rollercoasters: Inspired by a gravity-powered railway ride once used for transporting coal in the hills of Pennsylvania, former women’s hosiery manufacturer LaMarcus Adna Thompson created the first rollercoaster attraction at Coney Island in 1884. The ride, called the Switchback Railway, started at a height of 600 feet and coasted down a wooden track of artificial hills at six miles per hour. Not quite the zero to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds you’d get from Six Flags’ Kingda Ka, but go much faster on a wooden rollercoaster and you’d probably get splinters.
2) Sweet N’ Low and Sugar Packets: Coffee drinkers relied on spoonfuls of sugar before a failed Fort Greene tea bag manufacturer named Benjamin Eisenstadt figured out that the sweet stuff could be dispensed in paper packets in the 1930s. According to legend, Eisenstadt showed his unpatented idea to Domino Sugar, who simply took it. Luckily, Eisenstadt got his comeuppance in the late ‘50s, when he developed Sweet N’ Low, a low-cal sugar substitute.
3) Dabble: After 50 years of rejected patents, 84-year-old Brooklyn wallpaper hanger George Weiss sold his first invention in 2011. He had created Dabble, a word game in which each player has five minutes to rearrange the letters he receives on 20 tiles into words. Dabble won Creative Child Magazine’s 2011 Game of the Year award under Family Word Games, and today, Dabble can be downloaded as an app on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
4) The Revolutionary War, Post-Declaration of Independence: Nearly two months after the colonies declared their independence from the crown, 21,000 British troops landed at Gravesend Bay and fought with George Washington’s soldiers for control of Brooklyn Heights. The Battle of Brooklyn was the first major battle of its kind in the American Revolutionary War, as well as the largest in the entire conflict.
5) Receive National Attention For Wearing Provocative Pants: Obviously, there's a very decent possibility that a group of Americans were known for wearing provocative pants before Brooklyn’s Fourteenth Regiment, but all those “skinny jeans Brooklyn hipster” jokes made this historical item too good to pass up. Originating as a social club, the Fourteenth Brooklyn fought in all the major battles of the Civil War while outfitted in their version of a French Chasseur’s uniform. The uniform’s bright, baggy red pants and the unit’s impressive fighting record caught the attention of Stonewall Jackson, who dubbed the regiment the “red legged devils.”
6) MakerBot: Commercial 3D printing existed before MakerBot's first line of small, D.I.Y. printer kits, but the company is one of the first, and the leading, manufacturers of affordable 3D printing of its kind. The "Botcave," MakerBot's store, operates out of the company's headquarters in Gowanus.
7) Anti-Theft Lunch Bags: Fort Greene product design engineer Sherwood Forlee had had enough with coworkers stealing his food out of the communal fridge. So, like a true survivalist, he camouflaged his edibles. Forlee invented the "anti-theft lunch bag," a plastic baggie covered with splotches of a greenish brown color resembling mold. The result, available for $8 on Forlee's site, makes any sandwich appear thoroughly unappetizing.