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

July 8, 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.

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Today’s photos:

Today’s photos show three interesting scenes, though not likely to be suggestions for activities of your own this summer.

More ballet beauty, summer 1940

Another display of precision and grace. A simple design, but not simple to do.


Backstage Brooklyn cowboy, 1934

“Cowboys and Indians” was a regular circus attraction in the 1930s, as you saw in a picture shown Monday. Here’s a lone cowboy, in a 20-gallon hat, looking at the camera, while workers move around him. He looks like he made a wrong turn somewhere and is considering asking for directions.


An unusual view, September 21, 1936

This uncommon view of the entire Coney Island area was taken from the tower of the Half Moon Hotel. It’s so far away that the famous landmarks are virtually impossible to discern. But it was designed for a different purpose: to show an “overview” of the complex on closing night for the 1936 season. This shot was taken at dusk. Stay tuned tomorrow and Friday for a couple of night views.

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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