Straight from the heart of the outer boroughs
by Tracy Kaler
Our friends at LIFE.com reminded us recently that Brooklyn wasn't always the trendsetting model and hipster hangout it is today. Long before the borough became New York's new bohemia –– a foodie destination filled with au courant boutiques and seven-figure real estate prices –– Brooklyn was a town unto itself, a parcel with no pretense, a home base for the millions born and raised there.
Now, comprised of 2.5 million people, if Brooklyn were its own city, it would be the fourth most populous in the country, only behind the remainder of New York City, followed by Los Angeles, and Chicago.
While Brooklyn is associated with such American classics as the egg cream and Nathan's Coney Island hot dog, it's also given us the love-it-or-hate-it New York accent (fuhgeddaboudit!). Brooklyn also boasts magnificent homes in enclaves like Brooklyn Heights and Clinton Hill, sand and surf in seaside communities like Manhattan Beach and Sea Gate, and though gentrified, Bed-Stuy remains a mecca for African-American culture. Prospect Park is Central Park's rival, and ethnic diversity is alive and well, particularly in neighborhoods like Borough Park, Flatbush, Midwood, and Bensonhurst. Most Brooklynites prefer living in the borough of Kings to any other in Empire City, including Manhattan.
Thanks to editor Ben Cosgrove, we're featuring some of Ed Clark's great photos of Brooklyn post World War II. These images capture the Brooklyn from the past when it was a simpler, less progressive time and place.
|Corner of Middagh and Hicks, Brooklyn Heights, 1946--photo by Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images|
|Sumner Avenue (now Marcus Garvey Boulevard) near Myrtle Avenue in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, 1946--photo by Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images|
|Grandy Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 1946--photo by Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images|
|Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 1946--photo by Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images|
|Listening to a Dodgers-Giants ballgame on the radio, Brooklyn, 1946--photo by Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images|
|Laundry out to dry, Brooklyn, 1946--photo by Ed Clark—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images|
To see the complete collection of photos, visit LIFE.com.