Brooklyn Boro

Kaufman’s Brooklyn: Three photos of ‘Parks and recreation’

July 1, 2020 Phil Kaufman
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My father, Irving Kaufman (1910 – 1982), was a professional photographer who started in Brooklyn in the mid 1930s working for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He captured thousands of images of Brooklyn through the 1950s. I have recently digitized a great many of them. My father’s profile can be found here.

This week’s theme:

This week’s theme continues from last week’s: “Parks and Recreation.” Summer has arrived and with it, even with the limits necessary in our awful situation, we’ll be getting out to use the parks (very broadly defined) available for many forms of recreation. I’ve got lots of pictures for you of what some of that looked like in Brooklyn long ago.

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My father didn’t do a great deal of work with recreational spaces. But enough of it came along so that many dozens of interesting shots accumulated. After posting 20 of them last week, I’ve got 20 more lined up for this week. The scenes this time include water ballet, a traveling circus, and Brooklyn’s iconic combination of Coney Island and Steeplechase.

Today’s photos: 

Another sampling of three summer activities for today.

Angled diver heading down, summer 1940

This is the third view (only the second actual photo) of the same diver, or at least the same jackknife dive. Here she has spun around three-quarters of a circle, heading toward a clean entry perpendicular to the water. My father either clicked again a second or so after the previous shot, or had another chance when the same dive was repeated. This shot gives a nice view of the audience enjoying the show.


Outdoors with some playthings, March 12, 1937 

Though not nearly up to today’s standards, at least these bears have some space and some hint of their natural environment. In fact, my father’s note, meant for the Eagle, says “view of Bear Dens said to be the best of any in the country.”


Askew, undated

It’s not quite clear what’s going on here, and there are no notes to help out. This boat looks stranded in the middle of nowhere with the water near it not adequate for something of this size. A crane is removing something, possibly a piece of the boat itself. It could be that it got stranded at low tide, but then why not just wait for the high tide to rescue it? Is the crane starting to take the whole thing apart as junk? For those of you more familiar with boating, it might be fun to speculate further.

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.

Weekly collections 9 and 10: Photos of ‘Parks and recreation’

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