In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Midwood, where Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up, residents paid their respects on Saturday morning to the homegrown Supreme Court justice who died on Friday at age 87.
Ginsburg served as a mark of pride for Brooklyn, where she spent her early years before pursuing studies that would eventually lead her to become a trailblazing modern Supreme Court justice.
At Ginsburg's old home on East 9th Street, current owners William and Diana Brenneisen lamented the loss, offering condolences to her family. Diana has taken pride in being the owner of the house Ginsburg once lived in. The couple learned about their connection with Ginsburg a year after purchasing the home in 1969.
"I found out through people that were here prior to us. 'You know, that’s Ruth Ginsburg’s house,’” recalled Diana. "I was a legal secretary and I mentioned it to my bosses. Finding out that she formerly lived here, it was a beautiful experience, knowing that we were raising our family here, and that she came from here."
Diana said Ginsburg will be missed across the country.
"She's a wonderful woman, she'll be truly missed by everyone, the community, even the country itself, because she was a strong powerful woman in her judgement on various matters," said Diana, adding, she was a "big influence."
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A mile east, a pop-up memorial was set up outside of James Madison High School, where Ginsburg graduated in 1950. Signs reading, "We Love You RBG," and "Love RBG" were found taped to a pillar as lavender flowers laid on the ground. Sitting at the steps was Ella Frederick, 44, a Brooklyn public school teacher, who brought her two kids to the school to understand where Ginsburg came from.
Frederick, 44, recalled meeting Ginsburg last year at the Supreme Court when her friend was brought in to take photos of Ginsburg. Frederick told her that she too was a Brooklyn resident. The two connected.
"She said 'Oh, I'm from Brooklyn, I went to Madison High School," and I said 'everyone knows that,' and she said where do you teach, and I said IS 234, and she said, 'oh my aunt taught there, she taught PE,'" said Frederick, who brought her two children, Ray and Lee, to the school to pay respects. "As Brooklyners, she is a part of us, and the diversity in Brooklyn is what brought her the perspective she brought to the court those roots are around us, so I'm feeling grateful for Brooklyn, and terrified for our future, and grateful that she was born under a bright star that she could give so much to us."
Susan McMillan, a Brooklyn public school teacher who accompanied Frederick to the school, felt shock over Ginsburg's passing.
"We wanted to bring the kids to pay tribute because Justice Ginsburg. Just means so much to so many people and she's played such a major role in all of our lives, particularly as women," said McMillan. "And for these kids growing up, we wanted them to just get a sense of where she came from, her roots and what she means to everyone who is feeling this sadness right now."
The school took pride in Ginsburg's accomplishments so much that it created a practice courtroom. Danielle Goonan, another Brooklyn resident who attended the school, said classes were regularly held inside the courtroom named after Ginsburg.
"I think her legacy in this neighborhood is one of a shining light again. Students--until James Madison is knocked down--will walk into the lobby of James Madison High School, look up at her picture and say, 'I could be like Ruth.' She came from Brooklyn, and she came from the neighborhood and we were all working class kids," said Goonan of Ginsburg. "I used to say I want to be a Supreme Court justice."
In her sophomore year, Goonan was sent tickets to the Supreme Court by Ginsburg herself.
"We all went down and we met her afterwards in her chambers," said Goonan. "And, you know, it was like she was just one of us."