Brooklyn Boro

Iconic Eagle photographer from 1930s to ’50s left treasured images, his son recently revealed

April 23, 2020 Editorial Staff
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A collection of iconic Brooklyn photographs by the late Irving Kaufman, mostly taken for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in the 1930s to ’50s, were recently digitized by the photographer’s son, Phil. Beginning today, online and in print, the Brooklyn Eagle will revive many of these images for the enjoyment and edification of our readers.

Learn more about the photographer here.

The Towers Hotel. This building is at 21 Clark and Willow Streets in Brooklyn Heights and is currently being converted to an upscale, senior living facility that will be called The Watermark. Not so long ago, it was used as a dorm for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Photos: Irving Kaufman, courtesy of Philip Kaufman


A long look down an unidentified Brooklyn street.


Located at the corner of Bedford and Lafayette Avenues, this historic building was built by Brooklyn’s oldest Jewish congregation, K. K. Beth Elohim, and served as a synagogue for 30 years. In 1921, the congregation vacated the building. The Brooklyn Traffic Court soon established its headquarters there, turning its sanctuary into a courthouse. In 1969, the building was demolished.


Another unidentified Brooklyn location, though “6 Ave.” is visible on a street sign.


Buildings frame a view across the river. Before the construction of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, sidewalk park benches sat before a tall metal fence at this Heights dead end.


A train passes at the end of an unidentified street, which is lined with shops.


A large mural advertises Mastiff tobacco cigarettes.


A sign advertises a savings bank, and a Western Construction Co. storefront sits at an “Ave. C” streetcorner.


A man stands on a slope leading to railroad tracks. This photo was submitted to the Eagle by Irving. His typed notes: “Oct. 4, 1935 Residents want fence along Long Island Railroad Tracks. 60th St., Woodside [Queens] Pix shows view of 60th St. showing R.R. at end of street. There is nothing to prevent children from going on tracks where they are exposed to danger of oncoming trains and exposed third rail.” Noted on the same sheet are the words “Walling Story” and a number in pencil, as if added later, which reads, “4929-B.”


A lone walker strides down an empty street.


Another Eagle submission by Irving. His typed notes: “Oct. 26, 1935. Brooklyn Then and Now Rogers Ave. at Crown St. Shows site of Old Kings County Penitentiary, now occupied by Brooklyn Preparatory School and St. Ignatius church shown in foreground.”


A view of a Shell gas station. A sign on a lamp post points reads “Tunnel” and points the way.


A man stands of trolley tracks near a car that appears to have its wheels removed.


A view of the lower Manhattan Fulton Fish Market, taken on January 21, 1941.


An index of Kaufman’s Brooklyn posts may be found here.

Irving Kaufman’s profile may be found here.

I invite you to submit comments, memories, images of Brooklyn, and especially any additional background information you can supply about the photos posted here to [email protected]. I’d also be glad to supply information about buying prints of any of the images seen here. Many of my father’s images are also available for viewing and purchase at All prints purchased will be the product of professional scanning and editing.

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