Photo of the Week: Lucille Fornasieri Gold Photographs

Lucille Fornasieri Gold, [Children playing at water fountain], circa 1975, V2008.013.37; Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs, 2008.013; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Lucille Fornasieri Gold, [Children playing at water fountain], circa 1975, V2008.013.37; Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs, 2008.013; Brooklyn Historical Society.

The photo of the week by Lucille Fornasieri Gold is one of my favorites from Brooklyn Historical Society’s photography collection. Taken around 1975, it depicts children playing in a water fountain by the Flatbush Avenue entrance to Prospect Park. The wall graffiti and loose garbage on the ground is a reminder of the fiscal crisis that gripped New York City in the 1970s, gutting most city services including the Parks department. It would take another decade before the Prospect Park Alliance, founded in 1987, would take up the cause of restoring the Park.

This photograph comes from the Lucille Fornasieri Gold photographs collection comprised of 93 color and black-and-white photographs taken by Gold between 1968 and 2008. The bulk of the collection is candid street portraits mostly in Brooklyn. Gold started photographing with a Leica camera in 1968, while her children were in school. She would develop and print in the kitchen darkroom of her home in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. When she moved, she lost her darkroom and while her negatives were processed, they remained unprinted for years. Starting in the 1990s, she and her second husband, Jack Gold, scanned the negatives, repaired lost detail due to deterioration using Adobe Photoshop, and printed a curated set of photographs with their home printer. Gold died while visiting her son in New Jersey in April 2016.

She said of her photography: “There is always a movement, a gesture, an interesting or bizarre juxtaposition, a color or combination of colors that create a renewed impulse to see. I engage the social and moral questions, but I don’t try to answer them. Ultimately there are no answers. When I’m photographing I feel the weight of the antecedents, the spirals of time, the evolution of thought and science.”

To see more photographs from this collection, check out this online gallery.

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. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the Week: Marcia Bricker Photographs

Marcia Bricker, Women with Ceiling, 1976, V1992.43.12; Marcia Bricker photograph collection, V1992.43; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Marcia Bricker, Women with Ceiling, 1976, V1992.43.12; Marcia Bricker photograph collection, V1992.43; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Documentary photographer, Marcia Bricker, has pursued a visual study of cafeterias since the 1970s, focusing on Dubrow’s cafeteria in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. Dubrow’s was a family-owned chain of cafeteria-style, self-service restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the last of which closed in 1985.  Brooklyn Historical Society photography collection includes 47 photographs taken by Bricker, several of which document Dubrow’s. The photo of the week depicts a woman dining at the Midwood location in 1975.

To learn more about Marcia Bricker’s work and the story behind her interest in Dubrow’s, check out her New York Times profile 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. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Photo of the week: Happy Fourth of July!

Sunset, Coney Island, 1966, V1988.12.92; Otto Dreshmeyer Brooklyn slides, V1988.12; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Sunset, Coney Island, 1966, V1988.12.92; Otto Dreshmeyer Brooklyn slides, V1988.12; Brooklyn Historical Society.

All of us at BHS wish you a happy Fourth of July! With that in mind, we bring you some fireworks over Brooklyn. The photo of the week is a double-exposure depicting a Coney Island Sunset and fireworks. A double-exposure is a photographic method that involves opening the camera shutter twice to expose the film multiple times. This results with two separate images superimposed onto one image.

This photograph comes from the Otto Dreshmeyer Brooklyn slides collection comprised of 157 color slides taken from 1965 to 1968. Dreshmeyer took most of the photographs in Brooklyn, likely using a Hasselblad camera, documenting the annual Brooklyn Memorial Day parade, Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and many beach scenes at Coney Island. To view more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

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. library@brooklynhistory.org

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Brooklyn Historical Society Statement on Muslim Ban Ruling

As an institution dedicated to the history of Brooklyn, we are proud of the rich fabric of multicultural heritage in Brooklyn. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the government’s Muslim ban makes it even more imperative that we affirm our commitment to the histories of all Brooklynites. We want Brooklyn’s Muslim communities in particular to know that their stories, their struggles, and their contributions are embraced and deeply valued by the Brooklyn Historical Society.

As part of our commitment, last year Brooklyn Historical Society launched a public history and arts project called Muslims in Brooklyn, designed to highlight the long, diverse, and dynamic histories of Muslims in our Borough. Muslim communities have been a part of American life since before the nation’s founding; and established Muslim communities have been in Brooklyn for over a century. They span many ethnicities, cultures, and nationalities, but are Brooklynites through and through, having adapted to life in Brooklyn even as they have helped to shape it.

For the last few months, we have been interviewing Muslims who live in Brooklyn, some with deep roots in the United States, others whose families originate from all over the world—including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Morocco, and Sudan. We have listened carefully to the triumphs and defeats, the challenges and the rewards of people who call Brooklyn home, and who are part of the essential fabric of this dynamic Borough. They are moms and dads, sons and daughters, students and educators, activists and organizers, business owners and workers, spiritual leaders and worshippers, and more. The stories of their families and their communities are central to Brooklyn’s past, present, and future.

Over the next two years, we will use those interviews as the basis for an exhibition, a website, public programs, and an educational curriculum. Brooklyn Historical Society’s leadership and staff are fully dedicated to honoring the first-person stories of our Muslim communities. At a moment when these communities are under legal and social duress, we devote our full support to the people whose stories are so central to the dynamic and ever changing Borough of Brooklyn.

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Photo of the Week: Spencer Memorial Church

[Spencer Memorial Church], circa 1930, V1973.5.396; Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Spencer Memorial Church], circa 1930, V1973.5.396; Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Happy Pride! New York City is celebrating LGBTQ pride this month with parades, parties, and events throughout the city. This week, we bring you a Photo of the Week focused on a Brooklyn space with a historic connection to the LGBTQ community. Spencer Memorial Church, pictured here around the 1930s, is located at the corner of Clinton and Remsen streets in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Founded in 1838, the church became a welcoming space for members of the gay community under the leadership of William Glenesk who took over pastoral duties in 1955. During his tenure, he included artists and performers in his services and created a hospitable space for the LGBTQ community, hosting discussions and events, as well as providing a meeting space for LGBTQ organizations, such as the Gay Alliance of Brooklyn (GAB). Brooklyn Heights was an artistic neighborhood with a number of well known LGBTQ residents, including Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, and others.

The Gay Alliance of Brooklyn was a civil rights organization, active from 1971-1973 and used Spencer Memorial Church as their meeting space as well as the location for their monthly dances. At its peak, the organization had over 300 members. To learn more about the history of GAB and its relationship with Spencer Memorial Church, check out the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project that highlights historic and cultural sites throughout NYC associated with the LGBTQ community.

The photo of the week comes from the Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection comprised of roughly 7,000 items dating from the early to mid-20th century. Over 30 Brooklyn neighborhoods are documented, as well as photographs of Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn docks, harbors and ferries. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

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. library@brooklynhistory.org

This post was edited and updated on July 11, 2018. 

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