Art and Architecture of Prospect Park Zoo | Episode 123

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Take a deep dive into the art and architecture of Prospect Park Zoo on this virtual program that will include a live broadcast interview with Zoo Director Denise McClean of the Wildlife Conservation Society. We will learn about the history of architectural designs for zoos across New York City, the story of architect Aymar Embury III and his designs for the zoo, stories behind the animal-inspired bas reliefs and sculptures, (including the artist behind the beloved topiary sculptures), and the evolution of the zoo itself over time.

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Boatbuilding History with the City Island Nautical Museum | Episode 122

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For well over a century, City Island in western Long Island Sound was an important maritime community, not only as a destination for tourists — which it still is — but also as a center of yacht building and sail-making. As fiberglass superseded wood, the boatbuilding ceased, and the sail-making industry moved on to other locations, but the island remains proud of its nautical heritage, which is celebrated in the City Island Nautical Museum.

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Race to Hunts Point: Gamifying New York’s Food System | Episode 121

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Hunts Point in the Bronx is the world’s largest food distribution center, yet few New Yorkers have ever visited. In order to demystify this place and the city’s food system, designers Lilian Yi-Hsuan Lin, Ángel Lamar Oliveras, and Beverly Chou created Race to Hunts Point, a strategy board game designed for high school students in which players must use resources to successfully operate cultivation, shipping, and trading processes in the food supply chain. In this virtual program, Lilian will walk us through the design, fabrication, and gameplay of Race to Hunts Point, which was created through the FWRD Fellowship for designers and engineers with NYCEDC’s Futureworks.

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Coney Island Cats with Rev. Jen Miller | Episode 120

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We are excited to welcome back artist, author and local legend Rev. Jen Miller. We last joined her for a behind-the-scenes look at her extensive collection of Troll Dolls, once the main feature of the now-shuttered Lower East Side Troll Museum. Jen will return for a discussion of her most recent project, a series of Coney Island cat paintings. Her new work evokes images of a bygone New York, as seen through the eyes of the city’s often most overlooked residents. She will show some of her pieces, discuss her process, and enlighten us all on the secret life of cats in one of Brooklyn’s most iconic neighborhoods.

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U-Boats, Bootleggers, and Buoys: The History of the Coast Guard in New York Harbor | Episode 119

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To mark the 230th birthday of the United States Coast Guard, we’re looking back at the history of the “always ready” service. Due to New York’s position as one of the country’s largest ports, the Coast Guard has ensured its safety and security for more than two centuries, and today they have the largest presence of any military service branch in New York City. We will share stories of the Coast Guard fighting U-boats in both World Wars, hunting bootleggers during Prohibition, and ensuring the safe navigation of the harbor for everybody from container ships to kayakers. We will also be joined by Coast Guard veteran Ramon Ortiz, who served aboard the icebreaking tug USCGC Sturgeon Bay and in Coast Guard Sector New York.

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The Melvilles and Sailors’ Snug Harbor: A Story of New York | Episode 118

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By the time he published Moby-Dick in 1851, Herman Melville’s career as a popular prose writer was almost over. While Melville was working on the docks as a customs inspector to support his family, his younger brother Thomas was across the harbor with one of the best jobs in New York City: governor of Staten Island’s Sailors’ Snug Harbor. Join this virtual program to celebrate Herman’s 201st birthday with John Rocco, a Distinguished Teaching Professor and Coordinator of the Maritime and Naval Studies (MNST) Master’s program at SUNY Maritime College, who will introduce us to the Melville brothers’ relationship and its impact on Melville’s “lost” years and final work, Billy Budd, Sailor.

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Preserving the Fleet of the South Street Seaport Museum | Episode 117

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Since its founding over 52 years ago, South Street Seaport Museum has faced the daunting job of preserving its historic fleet. Join us for a photographic voyage with Director of Historic Ships Jesse Lebovics to see the challenges and remarkable efforts made for the long term preservation of 1885 ship Wavertree, 1930 tugboat W.O. Decker, 1885 schooner Pioneer, and the planned upcoming work on 1907 lightship Ambrose.

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History in a Cup: 200 Years of Coffee in Brooklyn | Episode 116

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Coffee has long been the lifeblood of the Brooklyn economy, once as a leading commodity coming into the port, and today supporting hundreds of small coffee shops and roasters. This virtual program will look at how one Brooklyn company came to dominate the importing and roasting of coffee in the 19th century, share stories of the small roasters that have survived in Brooklyn for generations, and look at the city’s every-changing coffee landscape.

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Guastavino Tiles of Prospect Park | Episode 115

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In 1881, Spanish engineer Rafael Guastavino arrived in New York City and unveiled his new technology for building self-supporting vaulted tile ceilings. These ceilings are now iconic elements of many New York landmarks, and city is home to more than 250 of them, but no place has a denser concentration than Prospect Park. On this virtual tour, we’ll look at many of the ceilings up close, including in Grand Army Plaza, the Tennis House, and the Prospect Park Zoo, as we discuss this engineering marvel.

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A Brief History of NYC Street Vending | Virtual Fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project

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Street vending has been a part of New York City’s public life for hundreds of years, often taken up by newcomers to the country and New Yorkers excluded from the formal economy, as a means of starting a small business. For this special virtual program, Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson will explore street vending history from the 19th century to today and examine how the city’s physical, culinary, artistic, and legal landscape has been shaped by vendors. We’ll also be joined for a special visit from street vendor MD Alam, calling in from his food cart Royal Grill Halal Food to share with us how his business has survived during COVID-19.

This program is fundraiser for the non-profit Street Vendor Project, a project of the Urban Justice Center, and is not part of our ongoing Virtual Program series or included in our Membership program

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