Skip Navigation

Girl Learning to Skate (Livonia Avenue, East New York)

N. Jay Jaffee


Growing up on the urban terrain of concrete sidewalks, Brooklyn children and teenagers have long embraced skating as a pastime. In 1950 N. Jay Jaffee photographed a young skater as she extended her arm out to gain balance independent of her father’s hold. Vincent Cianni’s 1995 image captures a graceful moment of a teenage boy midair.

The backgrounds of these images reveal changing textures of the neighborhood landscapes: felt hats with fur trim and arched glass storefront windows in the former, and baggy T-shirts and graffiti scrawled along a block in the latter. Although taken forty-five years apart, these photographs display skating as a communal and enjoyed act for Brooklyn youth.
MEDIUM Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
DATES 1950; printed 1995
DIMENSIONS image: 6 x 5 in. (15.2 x 12.7 cm) sheet: 9 15/16 x 7 15/16 in. (25.2 x 20.2 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed in ink on lower right of verso: "N. Jay Jaffee"
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed in graphite on verso: [sequential numbering of portfolio]
CREDIT LINE Gift of Paula W. Hackeling
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION N. Jay Jaffee (American, 1921-1999). Girl Learning to Skate (Livonia Avenue, East New York), 1950; printed 1995. Selenium-toned gelatin silver print, image: 6 x 5 in. (15.2 x 12.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Paula W. Hackeling, 1997.164.20. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1997.164.20_bw.jpg)
EDITION Edition: 2/5
IMAGE overall, 1997.164.20_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © The N. Jay Jaffee Trust
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here. The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.