Wire rope helped build many New York City landmarks in the nineteenth century, most notably the Brooklyn Bridge, but it quickly became an essential tool in the maritime industry as well. Marine surveyor Charlie Deroko returns to our virtual programs with an engineer’s perspective on the history of wire rope and a mechanics’ view of its use on historic tall ships, specifically the Peking, which spent 40 years in the South Street Seaport Museum’s collection.>> Continue reading
Join the conversation during Climate Week NYC with Prospect Park Alliance‘s Forest Ecologist Howard Goldstein. Howard will share insights on the unique challenges the part faces as the borough’s only forest, and what impact climate change is having the composition of the forest, the biodiversity that it supports, and the pests that threaten its health in the short- and long-term future.>> Continue reading
On September 22, 1958, 23-year-old US Army Private Elvis Presley boarded troop transport USS General George M. Randall at the Brooklyn Army Terminal to begin his 17 months of military service in Germany. Though everything Elvis did was a media event, he tried his best to be just another GI. In this virtual program, we will follow Elvis’ footsteps in Brooklyn, compare his experience to that of millions of other soldiers that passed through the New York Port of Embarkation, place his drafting and deployment into the context of the Cold War, and discuss the impact of his military service on his music and movie career.>> Continue reading
Join Turnstile Tours and the Friends of Olmsted-Beil House for a virtual panel discussion to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Frederick Law Olmsted’s report for the Staten Island Improvement Commission, a comprehensive plan for the island’s growth and development. We will hear unique perspectives about Staten Island in the late 1800s, Olmsted’s public health recommendations, and his legacy in the greenest borough of New York City. The panel will include Prof. Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Director of Graduate Landscape Architecture Program at City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture; Jessica Kratz of the Greenbelt Nature Center; naturalist Ed Johnson, emeritus curator of science at the Staten Island Museum; and moderated by Andrew Gustafson of Turnstile Tours.>> Continue reading
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, the US Navy established six naval shipyards to build, repair, and outfit the fleet. From the “original six”—Boston, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Washington—the public shipyard system would expand over the next 150 years, peaking at 11 in 1943. Today, only four Naval Shipyards still exist, but as the other sites have been decommissioned over the past five decades, they have been repurposed as industrial parks, residential neighborhoods, container ports, and more. This virtual program will examine the history of these yards’ closure, the challenges and successes of their repurposing, and the future of the country’s active public shipyards.>> Continue reading
Take a lunch trip from NYC to LA to Tulsa and back with tour guide and travel writer Jeffrey Tanenhaus. In 2015, he took a Citi Bike and pedaled it cross-country, a wild ride chronicled in his new book, West of Wheeling: How I Quit My Job, Broke the Law & Biked to a Better Life. Our colleague and friend will join us from his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where this former New Yorker now runs a tour company, to chat about inspiring highlights from his experience on the road. And he’ll even take us on a tour of his neighborhood and show us his collection of unique Oklahoma ephemera.
- Tulsa Tours
- Countri Bike on Instagram
- TrailLink Rails to Trails
- Adventure Cycling Association
- Warm Showers
- Empire State Trail
- Exploring by Bike
In colonial New York, reliable power came from muscles (human and animal), firewood, and tides. From Spuyten Duyvil to Marine Park, Wallabout Bay to Flushing Bay, settlers turned many tidal marshes across New York’s vast estuary into millponds to run machinery as the water ebbed. In this virtual program, Brad Vogel of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and the Tide Mill Institute will share examples of this green energy from the past.
- Sergey Kadinsky’s Hidden Waters Blog
- Verdant Power
- Pliant Energy Systems
- PortSide NY’s Red Hook WaterStories
- Marine Park Alliance
- New York Preservation Archive Project
To celebrate Brooklyn Battle Week, take a virtual walk through Prospect Park and follow the battle lines of the largest engagement of the Revolutionary War. We will see see where American forces tried unsuccessfully to stop the British advance at Battle Pass, follow the path some used to escape to join the main battle in Gowanus, and visit the many Revolutionary War monuments in the park, including Daniel Chester French’s sculpture to the Marquis de Lafayette and Stanford White’s memorial to the 1st Maryland Regiment.
- Old Stone House – Brooklyn Battle Week Events
- Old Stone House Battle of Brooklyn Walking Guide
- Henry P. Johnston (1878) Plan of the Battle of Long Island and of the Brooklyn Defences
- George S. Sproule (1781) A Plan of the Environs of Brooklyn Showing the Position of the Rebel Lines and Defences
- Green-Wood Cemetery
Built in 1874, the Concert Grove Pavilion is a stunning example of Prospect Park co-designer Calvert Vaux’ colorful and decorative style. Earlier this year, the Prospect Park Alliance completed a $2 million restoration of the pavilion, which was last restored in 1988. Joined by Prospect Park Alliance Assistant Architect Sheena Enriquez, we will look closely at the pavilion’s beautiful details, including its cast iron columns that contain motifs borrowed from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish, and Egyptian architecture, its elaborate roof finials and eaves, and its newly-illuminated stained glass ceiling. Sheena will share how the restoration team did extensive archival research, conducted color testing to match the pavilion’s original design, and repaired and recreated damaged or missing pieces.
- WATCH Restoring the Endale Arch
- “Return to Splendor” (Architectural Record)
- Prospect Park Alliance Gala, Sep 30, 2021
- Become a Prospect Park Alliance member
Photo by Paul Martinka
Concrete may seem like an odd material for shipbuilding, but during World War I, severe shortages of steel led to this innovation. Devised by Norwegian immigrants the Fougner brothers, they built one of the first such ships in the US at their shipyard in Flushing, Queens. The technology reached its apex during World War II, when the US built over 100 ships and barges, and they were used as freighters, tankers, and even floating ice cream factories. Large-scale concrete shipbuilding is a thing of the past, but we will examine the fates of these wartime ships, and discuss many examples of concrete boatbuilding today.
- Concrete Ships
- Nicolay Fougner (1922) Seagoing and Other Concrete Ships
- John Vasta (1952) The Concrete Ship Program of World War II
- “How Poured Ships are Built” (Popular Science)
- “How the Navy’s ban on booze birthed a million-dollar floating ice cream parlor” (Task & Purpose)