Photo of the Week: The Streets of Brooklyn Heights


[Street Scene, Brookyn Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y.], circa 1890, v1974.29.6; Brooklyn street scenes glass plate negatives, v1974.029; Brooklyn Historical Society.

I was initially attracted to this photograph, taken somewhere in the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights circa 1890, because it is aesthetically pleasing and because I have a soft spot for bowler hats. While I am not certain of the street – perhaps a reader will be able to provide a more exact location for this image – the neighborhood in the photograph seems similar to what it is today. The carriages are gone, but the tree-lined streets and the beautiful homes are still there. After the Fulton Ferry opened in 1814 – connecting the neighborhood to Manhattan – Brooklyn Heights rapidly developed into a residential “country retreat” for Manhattan’s and Brooklyn’s wealthy elite.

While the image is pleasing, and the bowler hat is nice, zooming in reveals that the highlight of this photograph is actually the two women on the street behind the man in the hat.  I have no idea what the two ladies are viewing, but their sideways stares make it clear that there is a lot more happening on this street than can be seen.


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 new 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.

Author: Halley Choiniere

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