I like this shot of the playground at Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue in August, 1941, and not only for the two young Brooklynites caught forever in a foreground dust-up. (Presumably today's charming "Imagination Playground" occupies at least part of this area?) What's striking is how minimalist it all is. Not just long-banned concussion-cradles like the dreaded "monkey bars" visible in the distance, or the swings that undoubtedly disgorged their little swingers onto concrete instead of padding underfoot.
But notice, too, how little stuff the moms and dads have brought along. One baby carriage, one trike...that's it. No mini-toy-strollers, no actual strollers! No scooters (and of course, no helmets). Everyone looks empty-handed and unencumbered. And that's on a macro level. Project yourself further: no one at the playground that day had a smart phone, an IPod, a water bottle, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, or plastic lidded compartmentalized caddy for organic snacks...kind of freeing, no? Today's moms, dads, and nannies drag home from the playground in a convoy of vehicles, diaper bags, and harnesses, a sort of wagon train of defenses against boredom, injury, hunger and contagion. Back in '41, it would appear they just walked out the door and sat on a bench.