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Discover a Brooklyn in the 1950s That Danced to Rock and Roll and Breathed Social Change Through Historic Photos

Brooklyn, with its intricate past and vibrant culture, has been the backdrop for countless narratives that have shaped New York City’s identity. The 1950s was a distinctive era, witnessing a juxtaposition of progress, nostalgia, and shifting urban landscapes. Journey with us through the boulevards and bylanes of Brooklyn during this unforgettable decade.

The Farewell to the Dodgers

A major chapter in Brooklyn’s sporting history came to a poignant close in the 1950s. The Brooklyn Dodgers, an emblem of community pride, made the heart-wrenching decision to relocate to Los Angeles in 1957. Ebbets Field, once echoing with cheers, stood silent, leaving many Brooklynites with bittersweet memories of “Dem Bums” and their beloved ballpark.

Urban Renewal and the Building of the BQE

The 1950s marked significant infrastructural transformations in Brooklyn, most notably with the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE). Masterminded by urban planner Robert Moses, the BQE reshaped neighborhoods and altered the very fabric of Brooklyn, ushering in a new age of connectivity while also spurring debates about urban planning and its implications.

The Rise of Television and Brooklyn’s Role

As television became a household staple, Brooklyn found itself in the limelight. Shows like “The Honeymooners,” set in a Bensonhurst apartment, showcased the everyday life of working-class Brooklynites, endearing them to viewers nationwide. This medium immortalized Brooklyn’s culture, humor, and quintessential charm for posterity.

Brooklyn’s reputation as a melting pot solidified in the 1950s, as waves of immigrants continued to find refuge and opportunity on its shores. Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern communities, among others, further enriched the borough’s cultural panorama. Festivals, eateries, and music from these diverse groups enlivened streets and brought newfound vibrancy to Brooklyn.

Do you have personal stories, vintage photographs, or heirlooms from Brooklyn in the 1950s? We’re eager to hear and share in your nostalgia. If this excursion into a defining era resonates with you, please consider sharing this post with fellow New Yorkers and those who cherish the timeless spirit of Brooklyn.

#1 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs Street Scene in Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1954.

#2 Dramatic Sunset over Downtown Skyline with Brooklyn Bridge, 1950s.

#3 Antiques dealer George Knapp at Knapp Antiques, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#4 Brooklyn Dodgers manager Charley Dressen the locker room with Jackie Robinson, New York City, 1952

#5 Barton’s Bonbonniere, Brighton Beach Avenue, Brooklyn, New York City, 1952

#6 Crystal Motors, business at 5901 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, New York City, 1950

#7 Crystal Motors Oldsmobile Car Showroom at 5901 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, 1950.

#8 Crystal Motors Oldsmobile Car Showroom at 5901 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, 1950.

#9 Skyline of Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn, 1950s.

#10 Crystal Motors Oldsmobile Car Showroom at 5901 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, 1950.

#11 Beachgoers Sunbathing and Swimming at Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn, 1950.

#12 Pedestrian and Traffic on Unspecified Street in Brooklyn, 1950.

#13 Bathers on the Beach at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

#14 Children Watching ‘One World’ Festivities at Elliott Place Play School, Brooklyn, 1950.

#15 Picket Fence with Signs at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

#16 Dilapidated Exterior of ‘The New Variety Revue’ in Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

#17 Beachcomber Searching for Valuables on Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn, 1950.

#18 Labourer Working on Rollercoaster Chain Lift at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

#19 ‘Space for Rent’ Placard at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

#20 Bricklayer Working, with Wonder Wheel in the Background at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

#21 Shuttered Storefront with ‘Frozen Custard’ Sign at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

#22 Modern Skyline with Brooklyn Bridge, Not from Brooklyn.

#23 Last Trolley Service to Cross Brooklyn Bridge, 1950.

#24 Brooklyn Heights Promenade Opening, Brooklyn, 1950.

#25 Opening Ceremony of Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn, 1950.

#26 Trucks in a Brooklyn Junkyard with Brooklyn Bridge in Background, 1952.

#27 Shoppers at Brownsville Marketplace, Brooklyn, 1951.

#28 Children in Brooklyn Offer a Retirement Gift to Policeman Edward Bickel, 1950.

#29 Shooting for MGM Musical ‘I Love Melvin’ on Brooklyn Bridge, 1952.

#30 Empty Coney Island Boardwalk on a Wet Labor Day, Brooklyn.

#31 Lower Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Side, Not from Brooklyn.

#32 Shoppers at Morris Meat Market Sale in Brooklyn, 1953.

#33 CBS Models Riding The Whip at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1953.

#34 CBS Models Riding The Parachute Jump at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1953.

#35 CBS Models by the Pool at Steeplechase Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1953.

#36 CBS Models Lounging at Steeplechase Park Pool, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1953.

#37 Brooklyn Public Library as Seen from the Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, 1950s.

#38 Downtown Brooklyn with Manhattan Skyline on the Horizon, 1950s.

#39 New Yorkers Enjoying Cherry Blossom Trees in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

#40 Exterior view of Sperry Gyroscope Company factory on Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, 1955.

#41 High-angle view of the Williamsburg neighborhood, Brooklyn, 1955.

#42 Aerial view of tennis courts in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 1955.

#44 Elevated view of Grand Army Plaza Public Library, Brooklyn, 1950s.

#45 Policemen stopping and searching teenagers for weapons on a Brooklyn street.

#46 Jim McKay in the CBS press box at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, 1955.

#47 Banner across Brooklyn Borough Hall during Dodger Victory Celebration Day, Brooklyn, 1955.

#48 Jackie Robinson in the dugout vs St. Louis Cardinals at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, 1956.

#49 Exterior view of Ebbets Field rotunda before a game against Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn, 1956.

#50 View of ‘Department Store Row’ on Fulton Street towards Borough Hall, Brooklyn, 1957.

#51 Aerial view where East and Hudson Rivers meet, showing Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, 1950s.

#52 Kids playing in the East River, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#53 View of Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Heights waterfront, 1958.

#56 Young boy riding his bicycle on the street in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#57 Three boys enjoying Boro Pet Center window in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#60 Writer Truman Capote poses on the Brooklyn Heights waterfront, 1958.

#61 Photographer David Attie capturing Manhattan skyline in a distorted mirror, Brooklyn, 1958.

#62 Car park attendant among signs in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#63 Fashion photographer Hiro Wakabayashi on Brooklyn waterfront, 1958.

#64 Man walking in the rain on Clark Street, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#65 Young woman with stroller on Brooklyn Heights Promenade, 1958.

#66 Kids playing in the East River in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#67 People sitting on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, 1958.

#70 Kids with Brooklyn Bridge behind them in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#72 Brooklyn Heights with view of Brooklyn Bridge, 1958.

#74 Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#75 Joe’s Restaurant on Fulton Street in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#76 Bartenders and customers at Joe’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#77 Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Heights waterfront, 1958.

#78 Hotel Margaret on Columbia Heights and Orange Street, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#79 Hotel Bossert at 98 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#80 Distant view of Hotel Margaret, Columbia Heights and Orange Street, Brooklyn’s first skyscraper, 1958.

#81 Lobby of Hotel Bossert at 98 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#82 One Water Street, formerly FDNY Marine Company 7, now Brooklyn Ice Cream Company in DUMBO, 1958.

#83 Ethnically diverse school children on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#84 Boy with newspaper walks by a historic carriage house at 31 Pineapple Street, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#85 Woman walks dogs with an Eisenhower-Nixon billboard in the background, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#86 Cobblers at work inside a shoe repair store in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#87 Grocer at J. Ferrara Grocery in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#88 School children doing homework in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#89 Boys enjoy animals in the window of Boro Pet Center at 78 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#90 Men socialize outside the Robert Fulton Civic League in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#91 Barber Jerry converses with a delivery man outside his shop at 15 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#92 Men gather on a street corner in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#93 Barber Jerry shaves a customer at 15 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#94 Sanitation worker collects garbage in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#95 Eisenhower-Nixon billboard at Cranberry and Fulton Streets, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#96 Young girl runs with a balloon on Love Lane in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#97 Clothes hanging on a clothesline next to P.C. Herwig Co. in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#98 Father and daughter watch construction in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#99 Girls jump and play on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#100 Adults and boy on a stoop beneath a “floor for rent” sign in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#101 Father and daughter watch construction in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#102 Young girl smiles at a horse delivering plants in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#103 Man delivers plants from a horse-drawn carriage in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#104 People near Henry Ward Beecher Monument in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#105 People sitting on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#106 Shoe shine and repair sign on Orange and Henry Streets in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#107 Shipworkers on the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights, now called Dumbo, 1958.

#108 Cars parked along the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#110 Father and daughter walk near Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#111 Children play with construction materials in an alleyway in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#112 Patrons dine and dance at a nightclub in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#113 Fulton and Front Streets with Brooklyn Bridge in the background, Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#114 Couples dance at a nightclub in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#115 Fulton Ferry Fireboat House, now an ice cream parlor, in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#116 Construction workers build against the Manhattan skyline in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#117 Men make a delivery near a construction site in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#118 Van Anden family carriage house on Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#119 Waiter serves customers at Joe’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#120 Homeless man sleeps in front of Joe’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#121 Customers dine at Joe’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#122 Mother and son on a fire escape in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#123 View of Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline, 1958.

#124 Bertram Wolfe at his apartment in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#125 Kids swim in the East River with Brooklyn Bridge in the background, 1958.

#126 Willow Street near Truman Capote’s home in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#127 Bertram Wolfe in his apartment in Brooklyn Heights, 1958.

#128 Downtown Brooklyn skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge, 1958.

#129 View of Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Promenade, 1958.

#130 Downtown Brooklyn skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge, 1958.

#131 Brooklyn Fox Theater marquee advertising Alan Freed Show, 1958.

#136 Crystal Motors business at 5901 Bay Parkway in Brooklyn, 1950.

#137 Promotional photo for the iconic TV show “The Honeymooners.”

#139 Nathan’s Hot Dogs stand on the Coney Island boardwalk, 1954.

#140 Vintage American car in DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.

#141 Nathan’s Hot Dogs stand on the Coney Island boardwalk, 1954.

#142 New York skyline viewed from the Brooklyn Bridge, 1958.

#143 Crowded streets and parked cars at Coney Island, 1950s.

#144 Ebbets Field, home to the Brooklyn Dodgers before being torn down in 1960, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, 1950s.

#145 Aerial view of downtown Brooklyn from Williamsburg Savings Bank roof, with Manhattan in the background, 1950s.

#146 Vintage Chevrolet parked in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1950s.

#147 Aerial view of downtown Brooklyn with Manhattan skyline on the horizon, taken from Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower, 1950s.

#148 Aerial map of Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges over the East River, 1954.

#149 Cars and pedestrians on Avenue H, Brooklyn, 1950s.

#150 Skyline of lower Manhattan viewed through Brooklyn Bridge cables, 1950s.

#151 Cars and pedestrians on Avenue H, Brooklyn, 1950s.

#152 Vintage grocery store Barron’s in Brooklyn, with subway overpass at night, 1950s.

#154 Hungarian refugees in Brooklyn after fleeing the Budapest revolution, 1957.

#155 Crystal Motors, Oldsmobile showroom at 5901 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn, 1950.

#156 Brooklyn Public Library seen from Grand Army Plaza looking toward Eastern Parkway, 1950s.

#157 Aerial view where East and Hudson rivers meet, featuring Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, 1950s.

#158 Elevated view of Grand Army Plaza and Public Library, Brooklyn, 1950s.

#159 Brooklyn Heights view of skyscrapers looming against clouds across the East River, undated.

#160 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, street scene at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1954.

#161 Brooklyn Piers No. 1 & 2 with Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline in the background, 1959.

#162 Rides at Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

Rides At Steeplechase Park In Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1950.

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#163 Beach crowds at Coney Island as seen from the Parachute Jump, 1950.

Beach Crowds At Coney Island As Seen From The Parachute Jump, 1950.

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Written by Makayla White

An amateur content creator and dreamer. I Run, Cycle, Swim, Dance and drink a lot of Coffee.

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