Happy Leif Erikson Day! Two Voyages Tell The Story of America

Woman in a blue jacket standing underneath a bronze abstract sculpture with a meadow and ocean in the distance.

We couldn’t let Leif Erikson Day pass without boasting that we stood in his bedroom. And not in Norway or Iceland or Greenland, but right here in North America, at L’Anse aux Meadows, a National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site on the northern tip of Newfoundland. But to understand what this place is, and what it has to do with October 9, we actually need to walk back through three separate journeys.

First, how did we wind up there? Last month, Cindy and I spent eight days in Newfoundland for our (five-year-delayed) honeymoon. We traveled up the island’s west coast from Gros Morne National Park (also a UNESCO site) to Quirpon Island in the extreme north, and L’Anse aux Meadows was a stop along the way.>> Continue reading

National Manufacturing Day Tours, Oct. 4

Ferra Designs metal design and fabrication workshop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Celebrate National Manufacturing Day on Friday, Oct. 4 on a guided tour at the Brooklyn Navy Yard focused on interior design and fabrication The tour will begin with an introduction to the Yard’s story, with an emphasis on the diverse array of products, goods, and objects designed and manufactured on-site over the last two centuries. Next, visitors will walk the 30,000-square-foot factory floor of Ferra Designs, a company that specializes in custom-built architectural metalwork, and visit the studio of textile maker AVO, and speak directly to some of the craftspeople redefining manufacturing and making at the Yard today. This tour is great for anyone interested in art, design, craft, and manufacturing as well as those interested in history and the continued social and economic impact of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Metalworking and woodworking is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in New York City, but it is eclipsed by food production, processing, and packaging, which employs more than 17,000 New Yorkers. On Oct. 4 we will also be hosting a tour of de Royal Dinges Factory, a commercial kitchen and food truck commissary that produces more than 7,000 waffles daily for Wafels & Dinges, one of the most successful street food businesses in the city (and finalist at this year’s Vendy Awards). Visitors will learn how commissaries work to support the thousands of food carts and trucks around the city, walk through the production line, and even get to put their hands in some dough to make their own authentic Liège wafel.

National Manufacturing Day Tours

icon-gears  Brooklyn Navy Yard: Inside Industry // FRI, Oct 4, 9:30am 
icon-truck  Wafels & Dinges Factory Tour // FRI, Oct 4, 10am

Join the Final Vendy Awards, Sep. 21

The best day of the year is fast approaching: Saturday, September 21, 2019, the day of the 15th – and final – New York City Vendy Awards. For 15 years, the Street Vendor Project has been convening carts, trucks, and pop-ups to serve up the best street food New York City has to offer, in order to raise awareness about the plight of vendors and raise money for their vital mission. Started in 2005 with just four vendors gathered in commissary garage in the East Village, and attended by just 250 guests, the Vendys have grown into one of the city’s premiere food events, featuring two dozen vendors and 2,000+ attendees flocking to Governors Island.

This year’s competition will feature three categories instead of the usual five: Best Dessert, Best Freshman (for first-time Vendy competitors), and the All-Star Vendy Cup, featuring 15 vendors that have collectively earned 25 nominations, nine Vendy Awards, and three Vendy Cup championships, including two finalists from the first Vendys in 2005, Tony Dragon’s and NY Dosas (see the full list of 2019 nominees). The event is all-you-can-eat-and-drink, and all of the proceeds benefit the Street Vendor Project. This may be the final Vendys, but SVP will continue to support and celebrate the vendor community, so stay connected, and you can prepare for the Vendys by joining one of our Food Cart Tours.

 

15th Annual Vendy Awards

icon-calendar  SAT, Sep 21, 12pm
  20+ street vendors, all you can eat and drink
  Governors Island

USNS Pathfinder, Submarine Hunter

At the Brooklyn Navy Yard‘s shipyard, operated by GMD, they repair mostly commercial ships, but they also get a fair number of federal government contracts. The shipyard does not repair US Navy combat ships, but we are currently hosting nearly every other federal agency that operates ships, with vessels from the US Coast Guard, Maritime Administration, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and Military Sealift Command. Right now, a unique MSC ship from the US Navy Oceanographic Office is in dry dock, USNS Pathfinder.>> Continue reading

Cass Gilbert’s New York: Explore the Woolworth Building & Brooklyn Army Terminal

Mosaic in Woolworth Lobby showing figure of Commerce holding a globe

Join us for this special exploration of two of renowned architect Cass Gilbert’s most impressive works: the Woolworth Building and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. This 3-hour guided experience includes a tour led by the experts at Woolworth Tours of the building’s stunning lobby, with its soaring mosaic ceiling, intricate stained glass, and amusing corbel characters. We will then walk through the heart of the Financial District to Pier 11 to board the NYC Ferry to the Brooklyn Army Terminal to explore a building radically different in appearance, design, and function.  This engineering marvel on Brooklyn’s Sunset Park waterfront was built in 1918-1919, serving as a supply base for the American military for nearly 50 years. Today it is home to over 100 companies in industries ranging from precision manufacturers to biotech researchers, online retailers to chocolatiers. 

Public Tours

icon-calendar  Select SAT, 1:15pm
  3 hours
icon-male  icon-anchor  Walking & Ferry
  Woolworth Building, Lower Manhattan

Taste the Yard: Brooklyn Navy Yard Food Tour, August 16

Close-up photo of microgreens growing in a tray in a greenhouse

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Yard is a growing community of food manufacturing businesses. On this tour, go behind the scenes at some of the Yard’s most delicious tenants! Participants will learn about different aspects of food production, distribution, and retail, while sampling treats along the way. In addition, guests will gain a better understanding about the history of theYard and learn more about the 450+ businesses that call the Yard home today. As a bonus, the tour gives visitors amazing views and access to the Yard that is only possible on a tour. Perfect for a Summer Friday outing with colleagues or friends, this new tour is not to be missed!

Taste the Yard Tour

icon-calendar  FRI, Aug 16, 1pm
  2 hours
icon-male Walking tour
  BLDG 92, Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Saving the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Timber Shed

Photo showing the Timber Shed in the forground with Admirals Row to the right and the Brooklyn Navy Yard behind.

For the first time in 175 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Timber Shed has emerged from behind a wall, and it is being prepared for a new life. One of the oldest buildings at the Yard, it is one of the few few surviving structures that represents the Yard’s early history of wooden shipbuilding. 

Actually, the Timber Shed represents the whole purpose and justification for creating the Navy Yard in the first place. When Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert purchased 40 acres of land in Brooklyn 1801, he used appropriations for the purchase of timber, claiming that the Navy needed secure places to store it; otherwise, he was just wasting money moving the government-owned timber to the private shipyards that were building the ships. With this creative interpretation of the law, he created six shipyards that would be at the core of the US Navy for the next 160 years. In those other five Navy Yards (Portsmouth, Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Washington), none still have an extant timber shed.>> Continue reading

USS Arizona, Brooklyn’s Most Famous Battleship

Today marks the anniversary of the launching of USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We have written about the Arizona many times before, including about the impact the sinking had on the Yard’s workers half a world away, and about our visit to the memorial in Pearl Harbor. It remains one of the most well-known and written about ships in the history of the US Navy, but we want to take a look at some lesser-known incidents in its storied history connected to the Yard.

When looking back at the ship’s history from the perspective of its tragic end, one can’t help but find many omens; when taken together, they seem to have foretold its fate. They are, of course, coincidences, not curses, but fascinating nonetheless.>> Continue reading