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

July 7, 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.

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.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Today’s photos:

Three more scenes today from recreational options in old Brooklyn.

Women and men, background and foreground, May 26, 1939

These folks are cheerfully lined up at the bar, at Steeplechase. Notice the skates on some but not others. It might not have been a good idea to skate in those tight, floor-length dresses.


Cyclonic, November 7, 1936

You might have to squint, but you should be able to make out the word “CYCLONE” printed at the high point of the roller coaster. This was the famous not-for-the-faint-of-heart thrill ride. A ferris wheel and parts of a couple of other rides are visible. This angle and distance for the shot was actually a way to liven up the image of the workers beginning to turn Dreamland parking lot into a new attraction; that new construction was the story the Eagle was covering.


Not until pigs fly, May 26, 1939

The pigs — not your standard carousel conveyances — look a little like they’re flying. You may remember these two merrymakers from a picture a few weeks ago with out-of-control facial expressions and hands clutched to each other as they approached the bottom of a giant slide. They were “Having fun” then and they’re having fun now.

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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