“Every Day Is a Holiday” Film Screening and Discussion | Episode 136

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Chinese-American filmmaker Theresa Loong knew little about her father’s past. One day, she found his secret diary, written when he was a POW in a Japanese work camp during World War II. In remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the end of the war, we will be screening “Every Day Is a Holiday,” followed by a Q&A and discussion about personal storytelling with Theresa. “Every Day Is a Holiday,” is the painful but life-affirming story of Paul Loong’s unlikely journey from Chinese teenager in Malaysia and a prisoner of war in Japan to merchant seaman, Veterans Affairs doctor and naturalized citizen of the country that liberated him: the United States.

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Gastrodiplomacy and the Rise of Thai Cuisine in America | Thai Food in America | Episode 1

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How did Thai cuisine become so popular in the United States and across the world? Join us for this live virtual program to learn how Thailand has used “soft power” to raise awareness of its food and culture and transform the country into a prime culinary tourism destination and a leading exporter of food related products. We will meet the owners and chefs of two of the oldest and top-rated Thai restaurants in the United States. Chef Nongkran Daks from Chantilly, Virginia’s Thai Basil and Chef Chai Siriyan from San Francisco’s Marnee Thai will share their stories, discuss how awareness of Thai cuisine in America has changed in the last 20 years, and prepare a special and personal dish with us, including the iconic Pad Thai and the regional specialty Kang Kai Kole (southern yellow chicken curry).

This series is sponsored by Thai Select USA.

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The 9/11 Boatlift: Panel Discussion with Maritime Heroes | Episode 134

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Join us for this special program, presented in partnership with the Transportation Institute and the New York Council Navy League, to hear firsthand stories from the Coast Guard and maritime industry personnel who took part in the 9/11 Boatlift. As tragedy unfolded on September 11, 2001, ordinary Americans did what Americans do at their best — they answered the call to help their fellow citizens. With Lower Manhattan streets blocked and the subways closed, crowds built up along accessible points of the shoreline. Captains and crew of the ferries already in the area, assisted by NYPD, started loading passengers to bring them to safety. With that, the largest maritime evacuation in history began.

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Planting for Pollinators and Native Plant Gardening | Episode 133

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Learn how Prospect Park restores and manages habitat for pollinator conservation, why invertebrates are so important to Brooklyn, how managers choose plants, why native plants are critical to pollinator survival, and how anyone with a little bit of space can plant a pollinator-friendly native garden. We will again be joined by Prospect Park Alliance forest ecologist Howard Goldstein.

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Exploring Chinese Medicinal Herbs in Your Backyard | Episode 132

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Ever since she was a little girl growing up in China’s Hubei Province, Gina Gao has been collecting medicinal herbs, inspired by family traditions and by growing up in the same small town as Li Shizhen, a renowned 16th-century physician and botanist. Each month, she will host a virtual program to show some of the herbs that might be growing in your backyard right here in NYC, share how to dry and prepare them, and discuss their histories and uses in traditional Chinese medicine. In this first program, Gina will tell us about the medicinal properties, preparation and use of mugwort, a valuable and cultivated plant in China that is considered a troublesome invasive plant in New York.

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Brooklyn Army Terminal: Nerve Center of World War II | Episode 131

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Celebrate the 101st birthday of the Brooklyn Army Terminal’s opening on this special program about the facility’s unique role in World War II. BAT served as the headquarters of the New York Port of Embarkation, the largest port operation in the country that oversaw the transportation of millions of troops and tons of supplies. We will listen to oral histories of workers and service members from the period, view archival images that highlight the incredible scale of activity, and share stories of some of the remarkable operations conducted from the Army Terminal across the globe.

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From Arizona to Missouri: Bookends of World War II | Episode 130

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To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, we are looking back at the remarkable careers of the ships where the war began and ended for the United State, both built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. USS Arizona was built in 1916, and 25 years later, it was destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 1,177 aboard and drawing the US into the war. In 1944, USS Missouri slid off the ways in Brooklyn, and it would become the site of the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on Sep. 2, 1945. We will share stories of the ships’ construction and service, and our experiences visiting both, sitting side by side today, one afloat and one at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i.

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Lighting the Way: Staten Island’s National Lighthouse Museum | Episode 129

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From the Civil War through the 1960’s, a site next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal served as the central depot supplying America’s lighthouses and Aids to Navigation. Join us for a virtual visit with historian Wade Goria to the National Lighthouse Museum, which tells the story of this essential service and the people, equipment, and structures that have kept America’s shipping channels safe.

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Battle of Brooklyn: Revolutionary War Sites of Prospect Park | Episode 128

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To celebrate Brooklyn’s Battle Day, we’re taking a virtual walk through Prospect Park to follow the battle lines of the largest battle 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.

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Images d’Épinal: Paper Models from the Turn of the Century | Episode 127

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Papercraft modeling and dolls are as old as paper, but the art form exploded in the 19th century with new innovations in printing technology, and tiny French city of Épinal became one of the global centers of printmaking. During the pandemic, papercraft modeling has been a welcome respite, and we have found countless Épinal prints available online and through Épinal’s Musée de L’Image. In this virtual program, we will examine (and assemble) some of our favorite models, including landmarks of French architecture, notable ships, and scenes from World War I. To provide historical context, we will be joined by Dr. Raisa Rexer, Assistant Professor of French at Vanderbilt University and an expert on 19th century French art and photography.

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