Brooklyn Boro

Kaufman’s Brooklyn: Three photos of ‘Buildings: ‘New’ and older’

July 30, 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:

I’ve called this week’s theme “Buildings: ‘New’ and older.” Since the photos I’m displaying were taken at least 80 years ago, none of them qualify as new today. But many of them were fairly new at the time these photos were taken. Since these “new” buildings are already old today, the other ones have to be called “older.”

Once past my confusing attempt at accurate language, what remains is a display of interesting Brooklyn buildings from the 1930s. In most cases, the buildings were not incidental or in the background, but were the reason for the photograph. Some were meant for the Eagle, to display an interesting or important new site. Others were for a specific client who wanted a record of their property before or just after rebuilding or relocating. Finally, some shots were taken simply because they appealed to my father, as evidenced by his identifying many as taken on “One Sunday Afternoon.”

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

Today’s photos:

We’re continuing to look at some interesting “older” buildings — buildings that were already old when these pictures were taken. In most cases I have been unable to get anything but the most basic information about them. I hope you enjoy them as attractive images of a time gone by.

Seems old to me: Anonymous Hebrew School, mid-1930s

All my father wrote on this and many other pictures was “Fed Bldgs,” a shorthand for buildings of Jewish organizations. Most others identified that way are clearly very old, so I’m assuming this one is too, though it’s hard to be sure. The words “Hebrew School” are carved in concrete at the top of the building. The only words I can make out on the big white sign are “Allan Chester,” which leads nowhere useful in a search.


School’s out: Probable school, mid-1930s

One kid walking, two kids sitting on the top of the steps, a rambling structure, caged-in exterior stairways, no flag on the flagpole and what seem like open areas on either side of the building – what could it be but a school that’s not in session? The street sign says “Prospect Av,” but that’s too long a street to provide much of a clue about where this is exactly.


No sign of life, East New York Dispensary, mid-1930s

Another building with a prior Jewish identity carved in stone, but with no additional identification by my father. In this case its age is not extreme in years – the date on the top says 1909, not even forty years old – but from the look of the boarded-up adjacent buildings and the apparently abandoned dispensary, these buildings and maybe others nearby are waiting to be demolished.

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 collection 13: Photos of ‘Buildings: ‘New’ and older’

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