Guide to Fleet Week New York 2017 Ships

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy YardEventsNew York Harbor

Flight deck of USS Bataan, Fleet Week 2016

This year during Fleet Week New York, we will be visited by more than a dozen ships and units from the US Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Military Sealift Command, and Royal Canadian Navy that will be berthed at locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Here’s a brief guide to some of the units that will be in town, and be sure to check out the full schedule of events on the official Fleet Week NYC website.

Manhattan Pier 88

  • USS Kearsarge open for visitors May 25, 26, 27, and 29, 8am–5pm

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The Great War and NYC: Street Vendors and Public Markets

Filed to: Immigrant FoodwaysPublic MarketsStreet VendorsWorld War I

File Apr 18, 11 59 22 PM

April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the US entry into the First World War. America’s involvement was comparatively brief, yet the war had massive impacts on American society. This month, we will be posting a series of articles about the ways in which the war affected the sites where we work in New York City.

New York City was far removed from the battlefields, occupied territories, and blockaded countries locked in the struggle of the First World War. While many of those places experienced food rationing, shortages, even deadly famines, the US was largely spared these deprivations. Nevertheless, the war was extremely disruptive to the food system of the nation and New York City, leading to the creation of new modes of food distribution to respond to this national crisis. (more…)


The Many Names of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

The names of the Brooklyn Navy Yard are etched in the landscape.

Some of the subjects we frequently have to address on our tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard are: where is it? and what is the official name?

So let’s start with the first question. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is located on the banks of the Wallabout Bay, a bend in the East River located opposite Manhattan’s Corlears Hook. The Yard has grown considerably since it was established in 1801 with the purchase of 23 acres of land on the bay’s western shore. Today, it encompasses 300 acres that encircle the bay from west to east, bounded by Little Street and Navy Street to the west, Flushing Avenue to the south, and Williamsburg Street, Kent Avenue, and Division Avenue to the east.  (more…)


The Great War and NYC: Prospect Park

Filed to: AnimalsProspect ParkWorld War I

World War One Memorial in Prospect Park, erected 1921

April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the US entry into the First World War. America’s involvement was comparatively brief, yet the war had massive impacts on American society. This month, we will be posting a series of articles about the ways in which the war affected the sites where we work in New York City.

War has played an integral part in the history of Prospect Park. In August 1776, the future site of the Park was a battleground, as American troops tried to stop the British advance in the epochal Battle of Brooklyn. Originally conceived in 1861, the Civil War intervened; this turned out to be a blessing, as the pause gave the Park’s commissioners reason to reconsider the original design – with Flatbush Avenue coursing through the middle of the proposed park – and instead hire the visionary team of Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. 50 years into its life, World War I would arrive to alter the Park’s landscape yet again. (more…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: Baldev Duggal

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

Baldev Duggal in the Duggal Greenhouse. Photo courtesy of Duggal Visual Solutions

This is the final entry in our eight-part series profiling immigrants to the United States who made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the eighteenth century to the present day. 

Baldev Duggal (1937–2016)

So far in this series, all of the individuals we have profiled worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard when it was still a naval shipyard. But Baldev Duggal was an individual who played an instrumental role in the long process of transforming the Yard from a dilapidated naval facility into a thriving industrial business center. (more…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: Stanislaw Kozikowski

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

Kozikowski photo

This week we are profiling immigrants to the United States who made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the eighteenth century to the present day. 

Stanislaw Kozikowski (1895–1967)

Stan Kozikowski came to fame as a young man in the First World War, but spent much of his life as an unheralded machinist in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was born in Poland – then part of the Russian Empire – in 1895 (according to his naturalization record; other records cite 1894 and 1896) and emigrated to the United States in 1912; five years later, about age 21 and not yet a US citizen, he was drafted into the US Army. There he joined the famed 77th “Statue of Liberty” Division, 308th Infantry Regiment, which is where he would demonstrate his remarkable bravery as a member of the “Lost Battalion.” (more…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: Frederick Lois Riefkohl

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

Frederick Lois Riefkohl as a midshipman at the US Naval Academy, 1911

This week we are profiling immigrants to the United States who made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the eighteenth century to the present day. 

Frederick Lois Riefkohl (1889–1969)

The histories of Puerto Rico and of the US military are deeply intertwined, and much of that history runs through the career of Frederick Lois Riefkohl, the first Puerto Rican to graduate from the US Naval Academy, to win the Navy Cross, and to achieve the rank of rear admiral. Normally we would not consider someone from Puerto Rico an immigrant – they are US citizens – but Reifkohl lived in a complicated time. (more…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: James Diani

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

"Old Jim" Diani's obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 4, 1908

This week we are profiling immigrants to the United States who made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the eighteenth century to the present day. 

James Diani (c.1833–1908)

So far in this series, we have profiled commodores, admirals, and captains of industry. But the real history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is the massive collective labor of thousands of individuals coming together to accomplish extraordinary things. The Navy Yard provided opportunities for newcomers to this country to get decent-paying jobs and apprenticeships (if you could successfully navigate the patronage system) to better their lives. One such person, who spent more than 50 years in the service of this country, was someone we know very little about. (more…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: Peter Asserson

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

Adm. Peter C. Asserson, printed in "A History of Long Island, Vol. III" (1902)

This week we are profiling immigrants to the United States who made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the eighteenth century to the present day. 

Peter Christian Asserson (1839–1906)

The Brooklyn Navy Yard has always adapted to change. Over its first 165 years, rapid changes in naval ship designs forced the adoption of new shipbuilding technologies, materials, and techniques, and the construction of new facilities. No single person did more to shepherd the Yard through these transitions than Peter Christian Asserson, civil engineer of the Navy Yard from 1885 to 1901. (more…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: John Ericsson

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

Portrait of John Ericsson by Avid Nyholm

This week we are profiling immigrants to the United States who made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the eighteenth century to the present day. 

John Ericsson (1803–1889)

John Ericsson was perhaps more of an engineer than any man who ever lived. Of his 85 years on this earth, 75 of them were spent as an engineer, and he worked in almost every conceivable field of engineering a person could in the 19th century, spanning the apogee of the Industrial Revolution.  (more…)