Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn in the 1920s’

The tidy, empty backyards of 1920s Brooklyn

January 31, 2013

Painter Winthrop Turney was born in Brooklyn and lived there for most of his life. He found a worthy subject in the backyards of the row houses and tenements in the borough’s poorer neighborhoods.


“Brooklyn Buildings From the Rear,” is above and “Brooklyn Backyards,” below. Both were done in the 1920s, and both depict the same shuttered houses and looming factory.


Turney was also fascinated with the Brooklyn waterfront, specifically the Erie Basin off Red Hook, once an industrial shipyard.

Some examples of his view of Brooklyn’s docks and ships can be seen here.

A Brooklyn high school’s brainy class of 1927

February 16, 2011

Whatever became of the graduates of James Madison High School that year?

Born around 1909, they were little kids when the U.S. entered World War I and in their early 30s when World War II broke out.

Based on a copy of their class book, most were Jewish and headed to good schools: New York University, City College, Cornell, and Columbia. That includes many of the girls too. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in the class of ’51.)

They came to from a wide swatch of Brooklyn, from as far away as Park Slope and Sea Gate. James Madison, near Kings Highway, was only a few years old in 1927; nearby high schools like Midwood and Lincoln hadn’t been built yet.

None of the four students in this yearbook photo could be tracked via a Google search. If still alive, they’d be about 101 years old.