Tech In The Times – From 1968

Because the school was one of New York City’s academically elite, with admission limited by an entrance exam, we had an overabundance of wimps and nerds. Most of our teams were awful.

dungareesI was just looking at some old articles in the NY Times archive (free and worth perusing). I entered the name of my high school, isolated my four years and began to scan.

Most of the stories were about our sports teams. Brooklyn Technical High School (aka Brooklyn Tech) was an all boys school with a 6,000 student enrollment. We fielded teams in every sport.

Because the school was one of New York City’s academically elite, with admission limited by an entrance exam, we had an overabundance of wimps and nerds. Most of our teams were awful.

Almost immediately, one story jumped out at me. It is attached to this entry.

The answer to your first question is, yes, I was there. Yes, I participated, even though my mom had to buy me a pair of dungarees to do so! This was the late 60s, and protesting by students was gaining steam, especially as it related to the war in Vietnam.

Oh, yeah, we really did call them dungarees. At that time, they were totally removed from the realm of fashion.

It seemed like a big social issue back then and a way of pushing back against what seemed like irrational rules.

It is a reflection of that more innocent time that this protest caused such angst to the administration of an academically elite high school. The principal was pissed we had defied him.

Until now, I had no idea the New York Times had covered it. They did in 87 words, buried on page 28 of the Saturday, March 23, 1968 edition.

As I remember (not well – I might be wrong), by the end of the school year, jeans were permitted in class.

8 thoughts on “Tech In The Times – From 1968”

  1. Its so funny what 10 years makes…..I was in high school in the mid seventies and everyone wore jeans to school. it was just the accepted form of dress.

    BTW – my dad went to a “rival” High school – Stuyvesant (in the late 1930’s) – and he has written a few things in his memoirs about riding the subway to school from Jackson Heights. It was also an elite all-boys school and very nerdy!!!

  2. I remember a student “strike” in 1968 at my high school, John Bowne, in Queens, New York, that consisted of us defying school regulations by wearing jeans. I also believe that by the end of my high school years in 1969, jeans had been accepted by the administration. By that time, I guess, they figured that students could wear jeans, so long as they weren’t burning down the school.

  3. I too remember the dungaree strike.

    Mayor John Lindsay visited Tech for a special assembly, and I chose to wear a pair of “new” bleached denim that I thought were OK. My homeroom teacher, Mr. Serotoff, decided not to take a chance, and gave me a choice: go home and change pants, or receive a dreaded “detention”. He knew that it would be tough for me to make the round trip, but I did it and returned to school in time for lunch. I lived more than 1 hour away from Tech at the time, my Mom met me at the station, and I did a quick change and caught the return train to Flatbush Ave. BTHS Class of 1968.

  4. A good memory – on the cusp of our 40th class re-union (1968).I was one of several boys from the track team to wear dungerees.We were called into the principals (I.Auerbach) office.Initially we were left waiting to be called in,finally we were summoned – admonished,but warned that if we were to continue wearing dungarees,the action against us would be removal from the Track Team.We gave in,since we were not willing to give that up !

  5. I was involved in the stike too. I spent the next 3 days in the principal’s office negotiating a new dress policy.

    On another note the class of 68′ has a reputation of being slackers. Our informal re-union during Tech Homecoming 2008 at Juniors last Saturday yielded 4 people and one was the wife of a technite. Anthony Palazollo, Myself(Paul Friedman) and someone from Florida were the only ones there. Yes some toured the school on Friday and Saturday morning and left but out of over 1000 graduates only 3 showed?

    On a final sad note, There is a rumor that classmate, Chris Aridas passed away this past February. If anyone has definitive information please e-mail me at Friedmanpaul@yahoo.com

  6. I too graduated in 68 but i do not remember participating in the strike Coach Cirillo would have sent us home if we disrespected the policy.

    My kids still laugh at me calling jeans dungarees.

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