Brooklyn Boro

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

July 2, 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: 

Three water scenes for today.

Backstroke technique, July 1940


Out of the water, July 1940 

Gloria Callen, just 17 years old here, was already the national backstroke champion (100 yards). She went on to win 13 American championships, set 35 American records and one world record. The war prevented her from ever competing internationally, though she had qualified for the 1940 Olympics.

In the top photo, she is demonstrating her technique for quite a gathering of swimmers at Steeplechase pool.


Peaceful scene, undated

This is a beautiful shot of what must be one of the nicest views in Prospect Park. The placid stream is aptly named Lullwater, with Lullwater foot bridge over it. The building was opened in 1905 as a launch site for rowboats and canoes. That function was moved and the building is now an Audubon center and an event space.

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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