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
Sunday, March 22, 11am
See and learn about Prospect Park’s little-known corners and hidden treasures, including the Rose Garden, Lookout Hill, and the park’s historic archways. Led by two engaging guides, this virtual experience will use photos of the park today and from the archives of the Prospect Park Alliance to illuminate the layers of history still visible in the landscape.
Saturday, March 21, 11am
One of the most iconic spaces in New York City, the atrium of the Brooklyn Army Terminal was once a hive of activity for moving military supplies from World War I to the Cold War. This engineering marvel is a mystery to most visitors, and this presentation by our resident expert will explain how the space was designed, built, and operated, and how technologies like the forklift and shipping container impacted operations over time.
Friday, March 20, 11am
How do you know if the olive oil in your kitchen is what it says on the bottle? What are the differences between olive oils from different parts of the world? Become an olive oil connoisseur with Saad Bourkadi, owner of Essex Olive & Spice in the Lower East Side’s Essex Market, whose family has been growing olives and producing oil in Morocco for four generations. Register here.
Thursday, March 19, 11am
For over two hundred years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard has been on the cutting edge of innovation, first as a leading shipyard for the US Navy, and today as a home to 500+ industrial, manufacturing, design, and technology companies. We’ll look back at inventions – some small enough to hold, some as large as ships – both groundbreaking and mundane, that shaped the history of the Yard and the wider world. Hosted by Andrew Gustafson. Register here.
After nearly 12 years of leading tours at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, one of the most difficult questions we get – and almost always from young people – is this: Were there slaves here?
This question is vexing not just because of the complex and painful subject matter, but also because the historical record is incomplete. The result is usually an imprecise and unsatisfying answer. In short, yes, enslaved people were an integral part of life at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for the 60 years leading up to the Civil War, just as they were across Brooklyn and New York City.
This is an effort to unpack that complexity and get somewhere closer to the historical truth of the matter.
They say a Navy ship has three birthdays: its keel-laying, its launching, and its commissioning. The World War II-era battleship USS Missouri has one more, its recommission in 1986 as part of President Reagan’s 600-ship Navy. But one person was witness to its first two birthdays, Brooklyn Navy Yard shipfitter Clayton Colefield, who sat for an oral history in 2009 with Sady Sullivan of the Brooklyn Historical Society.>> Continue reading
Last week we looked at Operation Magnet, the scramble in the weeks after Pearl Harbor to move American forces into the European battle zone. Just one week after that, it was time to make a move in the Pacific, and the Brooklyn Army Terminal would again be key.
Unlike Europe, America already had significant forces in the Pacific theater, and they were engaged in battle with the Japanese – but it was going very poorly. The Japanese began their invasion of the Philippines just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and within a month, American forces were penned in on the Bataan Peninsula and the island fortress of Corregidor, and the American Asiatic Fleet, along with Dutch and Commonwealth allies, was being battered across the Southwest Pacific. By May, 87,000 American and Filipino troops would be forced to surrender, and half the Asiatic Fleet was sunk.>> Continue reading
On January 15, 1942, ships of convoy AT-10 left the Brooklyn Army Terminal to make the journey across the Atlantic. Aboard the transports USS Chateau Thierry and HMTS Strathaird were mostly soldiers of the 34th Infantry Division, aka “Red Bull,” 4,058 in all. Codenamed Operation Magnet, this was the first deployment of American combat troops to foreign soil after the US officially entered World War II.>> Continue reading
Celebrate International Women’s Day by exploring the past and present of women’s labor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Learn about the history from the early nineteenth century, when women sewed flags and uniforms, to World War II, when women had the opportunity for the first time to work in the shipbuilding professions, as welders, shipfitters, and machinists. As we explore the Yard, we will visit the studios of two female metal artists who have worked in the Yard for a combined 60+ years, and see how Susan Woods and Michelle Greene welding in the Yard today, carrying on the traditions of the “Rosies” that came before them.
Inside Industry: Women Welders, Past and Present at the Brooklyn Navy Yard