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…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: Henry Eckford

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

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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. 

Henry Eckford (1775-1832)

The long, arduous, and risky journey to America has a way of bringing to our shores the most ambitious, talented, and daring people; Henry Eckford was certainly one of those. Born and raised in the Scottish town of Kilwinning, located not far from the famous shipbuilding center along the Firth of Clyde, Eckford set off from his homeland for Canada to learn the shipbuilding trade at just 16. Like John Barry, he apprenticed with his uncle, and became a skilled shipwright in the yards along the St. Lawrence River. (more…)


Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: John Barry

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy Yard

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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 Barry (1745–1803)

Born in Ireland’s southeast County Wexford, John Barry grew up with an abiding hatred for the English. When he was 12, his Catholic family was dispossessed of their land by an English landlord, forcing them to live with family nearby and beginning a period of immense hardship for the family. Barry began apprenticing on his uncle’s fishing vessel, learning the trade of the sea, and at 15 he left Ireland for the Americas, eventually settling in Philadelphia. His career was remarkably successful, as he became master (captain) of a small merchant vessel at just 21 and was the trusted master for one of Philadelphia’s most prominent shipowners, John Nixon. When war broke out and the Continental Navy was formed, Barry became the first commissioned captain to command an American naval vessel, taking on the 14-gun USS Lexington on December 17, 1775. (more…)


Vote in the 2016 Brooklyn Navy Yard Photo Contest

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy YardPhotography

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This is year four of our photography tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and we need your help to select the best photo of the Yard of 2016. All of these photos were taken across four two-hour explorations we led in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92. We received 118 submissions from 22 different visitors for our photography contest, and four judges – one a former staffer at the Yard, one a BLDG 92 Visiting artist, and two artists with studios in the Yard – volunteered their time to select the 12 you see below. (more…)


Fall 2016: Brooklyn Navy Yard Photo Contest

Filed to: Brooklyn Navy YardEventsPhotography

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Last week we held our final Brooklyn Navy Yard Seasonal Photography Tour of 2016 (don’t worry if you missed it – our next one will be on January 22). Stay tuned because after we receive the last three finalist photos from this round, we’ll be unveiling the online voting for the year-end People’s Choice Award, and these finalists will be put on display in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92.

On this Election Day, our photography judge gets to make a much more pleasant and interesting selection than most of us casting our ballots at polling places. This season’s judge is Thyra Heder, an artist, author, illustrator, and woman of many talents who has called the Yard home for many years. If you’re a fan of children’s books, you may have seen her wonderful debut Fraidyzoo (on sale in the BLDG 92 gift shop), which she followed up with The Bear Report. (more…)