The photo of the week depicts one of those historic sites: 70 Willow Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, pictured here in 1922. This home was purchased in 1953 by Tony Award-nominated theater designer Oliver Smith, whose work included original set designs for West Side Story and Hello Dolly! He was part of a large group of prominent gay writers, artists, and intellectuals, many of whom lived in the Heights at midcentury. One of those writers was Truman Capote, who rented Smith’s garden apartment from 1955 to 1965. To learn more about historic LGBT sites in NYC, check out this map, created by the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. Also check out Brooklyn Historical Society’s exhibition Truman Capote’s Brooklyn: The Lost Photographs of David Attie, which features photographs of Truman Capote in Brooklyn, including inside the Willow Street home.
This photograph comes from the Eugene L. Armbruster photographs and scrapbooks collection comprised of photographs and scrapbooks documenting Brooklyn during the late 19th century and early 20th century in Brooklyn. Eugene Armbruster was an amateur photographer and historian, with particular interest in infrastructure. Many of his photographs depicts buildings and street scenes through Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and neighboring states. Brooklyn Historical Society is currently digitizing all seven scrapbooks from this collection. You can see some of those pages here.
Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org