On Thanksgiving, we’re looking back at an unsung hero of the holiday during World War II, a merchant ship called SS Great Republic. This ship helped execute the great turkey-lift of 1944, delivering turkey to nearly two million American soldiers fighting in Europe. As we’ll discover, delivering this meal stretched the military’s supply chain, and the New York Port of Embarkation, to its limits.>> Continue reading
WCBS Newsradio 880, July 28, 2021
by Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso
A New York City tour business has been growing despite the pandemic shutdown by adding new viable services.
Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson are the husband and wife duo at the helm of Turnstile Tours. Both of them have decades of experience in history, museums and tourism. Over the past 10 years, they’ve built a diverse portfolio of programs with unique New York stories at historic sites such as the South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
Crain’s New York Business, May 10, 2021
by Brian Pascus
When the Covid-19 pandemic threatened to shut down their Brooklyn tour-guide business—Turnstile Tours—husband-and-wife team Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson reinvented their nine-year-old company on the fly.
Founded in 2012, Turnstile Tours’ unofficial motto is “We share stories of how New York City works.” By taking customers behind the scenes of different aspects of city life, especially in Brooklyn, the company aims to highlight the work of ordinary New Yorkers.
At our December member happy hour, we invited participants to share some of their favorite books about New York City, in any genre – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, travel – and our members did not disappoint! Many showed off their extensive collections, and some even have entire shelves dedicated to nothing but books about the city.
We collectively compiled a list of over 30 books, which you can find below, and we’ll continue to add to it (you can also join our group on GoodReads). Many make great holiday gifts, some are long out of print, and a few were featured on our virtual programs, including John Tebeau’s loving tribute to New York’s best bars and restaurants, and Jennifer Egan’s Brooklyn Navy Yard bestseller Manhattan Beach.>> Continue reading
Where Traveler, October 15, 2020
by Noah Diamond
Turnstile Tours, a Brooklyn-based company, normally offers custom-made walking tours of locations like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Essex Market, in partnership with local businesses and organizations. Today, the same ethos of community and access which animates Turnstile’s walking tours is available through its Virtual Programs.
Offered via Zoom webinar, the Virtual Programs are described as “online experiences…talking with makers, street vendors, and museum staff, showing artifacts and materials from our archives, and sharing stories and research that don’t always make it into our tours.” In one memorable program from early in the pandemic, tour guide Brian Hoffman spoke remotely with a woman buying a pint of lychee at the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
A selection of Turnstile’s Virtual Programs is available for free at the company’s website; new programs, generally, three or four per week, are e-ticketed events. And the company has now resumed in-person walking tours of Prospect Park, under precautions like limited group size and mandatory masks.
On Wednesday, June 17, Turnstile Tours will broadcast their 100th “virtual tour” since the New York City lockdown began, a trivia night looking back at the highlights of the last three months.
The small Brooklyn-based tour company – which develops and operates tours in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, NYCEDC, Street Vendor Project, Prospect Park Alliance, and Brooklyn Historical Society – had to cancel thousands of tour reservations in the face of the pandemic, with no clear idea when, or if, they would be able to go back to work.>> Continue reading
At 3:57 p.m. on May 2, 1982, the British submarine HMS Conqueror fired a spread of three torpedoes at the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano, located approximately 230 nautical miles southwest of the Falkland Islands. Two of the weapons found their marks, fore and aft of the ship’s protective belt armor on the port side. In less than 30 minutes, the order was given to abandon ship, and Belgrano sank, taking 323 souls with her.>> Continue reading
Crain’s New York Business, April 27, 2020
by Brian Pascus
For small-business owner Cindy VandenBosch, who runs Turnstile Tours from her office in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the lack of communication from JPMorgan Chase on the status of her Paycheck Protection Program loan prompted her to take desperate measures.
When she couldn’t get a single Chase representative on the phone for days, VandenBosch said she rented a Citi bike, donned a mask and gloves, and rode to a branch in Sunset Park for answers.
Travel Unity Podcast, April 10, 2020
Since the WHO has categorized COVID-19 as a pandemic, the global economy has suffered, and millions of people are filing for unemployment. There are several webinars that are designed to help brands and companies stay relevant, but several lack the fundamental issue for most small business owners (i.e. restaurants, cafes, etc.), which is, how do I get money into my business now.
The hospital ship USNS Comfort is en route to New York City. One of just two hospital ships in the Navy fleet, it has been dispatched from Norfolk, while its sister ship Mercy recently arrived in Los Angeles. Comfort will dock at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal (and some dredging is required to fit the converted oil tanker into the berth), while the counterpart Red Hook Cruise Terminal is being converted into one of the city’s five emergency hospitals, along with the Javits Center, Bronx Expo Center, Queens Aqueduct, and the College of Staten Island (which, coincidentally, sits on the former site of Halloran Hospital, the Army’s largest hospital in World War II).>> Continue reading