I'm wondering about the origin of the phrase "darkest Brooklyn".
I imagine it is meant to suggest unexplored wilderness and perhaps also primitive social conditions. I've found a citation from the late 19th century:
[George B. Buzelle], The Third Annual Report of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities… presented May 1, 1884. District Conference of Wards 3 and 10, Secretary's Report, (Brooklyn: Tremlett & Co., 1884), p. 21.
The end of another year finds us returning with our reports from Darker Brooklyn; not darkest Brooklyn; that region few of us have explored.
That makes it sound as though the author is nodding to "darkest Brooklyn" as an established phrase. It certainly predates the books In Darkest Africa (1890) and In Darkest England and the Way Out (1890).
How old is this expression, actually, and what associations of Brooklyn are being referred to?
Edit, 19:30 EDT: Contrary to some of the comments, this phrase is attested well before the 1970s:
Library of Congress possesses a 1958 work, "Through Darkest Brooklyn," by Gerson Lieber. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003668972/
Truman Capote (1946): "As you see, I have changed addresses, have moved to a little lost mews in darkest Brooklyn... for various reasons...". Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote, ed. Gerald Clarke, (New York: Vintage International, 2004), p. 39.
James Huneker (1920): "adjacent to all the cemeteries and frog ponds of Darkest Brooklyn", letter to Alice Wade Mulbern, Dec. 12, 1920, Letters of James Gibbons Huneker, ed. Josephine Huneker, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920), p. 308.
New York Times (1911): "Contrary to Eastern conceptions, he said, the only cowboys and Indians to be seen in the West nowadays are found in Eastern magazines shipped in trainloads out there; while Western gamblers make their habitat onIy on Broadway and take their money exclusively from 'citizens of Harlem and darkest Brooklyn.'" Article "WEST EXULTS OVER EAST. Gerrit Fort, Railway Man, Tells of Marvelously Superlative Attractions." June 01, 1911, p. 7.
New York Times (1908): "Sir Oliver seems to have told the Ruskinians nothing definite about the Myers messages. Instead he discussed the relation between the psychical and the physical, and his remarks must have had all the Intellectual vigor that marks the utterances old Uncle Peleg or Little Bright Eyes at a materializing séance in Darkest Brooklyn." Article "TOPICS OF THE TIMES. More Science from Sir Oliver." February 7, 1908, p. 6.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1901): "In that particular settlement the bath tub is a prime neighborhood attraction, and benighted visitors from darkest Brooklyn and Jersey City are escorted proudly to the settlement and given an opportunity to enjoy the tub as the greatest luxury of belonging to a woman's club in the city." Article "Hopeful Side of the 'East Side'." May 17, 1901, p. 4.
- Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1896): "In the center of 'Darkest' New York and 'Darkest' Brooklyn is the home in which the sun never shines." Article "Christ in the Tenements." Jan. 13, 1896, p. 9