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.
Virtual food festivals highlighting Thai food and culture // 2020–2021
Building on Turnstile’s experience with food-focused tours and virtual programming, we were engaged by marketing and communications agency ELMNTL on behalf of Thai Select USA to produce two series of online programs about Thai cuisine and culture. Produced during the height of the pandemic in the fall of 2020, the first series “Thai Food in America,” featured certified Thai Select restaurants from across the US with tutorials on Thai ingredients and cooking techniques and live cooking demos from 11 different restaurants across six hour-long virtual programs, including a live broadcast from Thailand. The second series in the summer of 2021, “Passport to the Northeast,” engaged not just restaurants in the Northeast region, but food suppliers, tour guides, and scholars to explore topics related to Thai foodways, diaspora communities, language, and culture. The series also included an interactive map of more than 100 certified restaurants and Thai business and cultural sites stretching from North Carolina to New England.
The fastest way to the beach is on the NYC Ferry, so join us for another virtual boat tour as we cruise the Lower New York Bay. We will pick up the ferry in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, then make our way under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, past Coney Island, and down to the Rockaways. Along the way, we will discuss the forts and islands that used to protect the harbor, the history of recreation along the city’s Atlantic seaboard, and the rich aquatic life of Jamaica Bay and the New York Bight. At the end of the tour, we’ll take a walk across the Rockaway Peninsula and virtually stroll along the beach.
Join artist Tatiana Arocha for a virtual visit and artmaking workshop live from her studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yard! We will see how she incorporates plants, seeds, and other natural materials into her mural making process, while drawing inspiration from plants and animals in the rainforest in her native country of Colombia. Recommended materials to have ready for the program include paper, crayons or pencils, dirt in a cup, a leaf, seeds, and some small rocks.
Did you know that Prospect Park has a piece of Gettysburg’s famed Little Round Top? And one of the oldest statues of Abraham Lincoln in America? While memorials to the Civil War are prominent features of the park, the war itself also shaped its design. Co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted spent the war directing the US Sanitary Commission, which provided medical care to the Union Army, and that experience influenced his ideas on public space and public health. On this virtual tour, we will explore the park’s many Civil War connections, from Grand Army Plaza to the Parade Ground.
Take a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of Russ & Daughters’ Appetizing Factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard! We’ll hear the story of how this iconic New York business was started over a hundred years ago by a pushcart peddler on the streets of the Lower East Side and step inside their bakery to see how they make bagels, babka, black and white cookies, and other appetizing delicacies!
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.
Food carts are an iconic image of New York City that most New Yorkers pass every day. Even if they stop to enjoy their food, not many take in the beauty and visual appeal of food carts – that’s why photographer Maxwell Schiano published a 64-page zine of his photography celebrating these icons, New York City Vibe, Volume One. In this conversation, we will learn about his process and check out his stunning photos that reveal so many wonderful details about these carts and the people working inside them. We will also be joined by Carina Kauffman-Gutierrez, deputy director of the Street Vendor Project, who will update us on the current challenges vendors face in New York City.
Behind the gates of the Brooklyn Navy Yard lies a network of streets that are a mystery to most New Yorkers. Named for naval heroes, shipyard operations, and even a numbered grid, these streets trace the Yard’s history from the War of 1812 through World War II. While new attention has been given to how and whom we memorialize in our public places and streets, we will unpack the stories of the people behind these street names as we virtually walk through the history of the Yard.
Take a virtual walk through Manhattan’s Financial District and learn about some of the food carts and food trucks that serve this neighborhood. We will check out some of our favorite spots, and talk to vendors about their food, how their businesses have fared during the pandemic, and how they are managing as the city reopens. We wish we could pass out tastings with everyone, but we will share the spots that we visit to check out on your own.