Take a short trip west of New York City to explore a little-known and much misunderstood language and culture: the Pennsylvania Dutch, who aren’t Dutch at all but German. Educator and entertainer Keith Brintzenhoff takes us beyond pork and sauerkraut, hex signs and distelfinks, to learn about this German immigrant community, efforts to preserve its endangered language, and opportunities to celebrate its music, food, and more.
In late 2020, as part of the long-overdue cleanup of the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, dredging of the toxic sediment began, and photographer, filmmaker, and writer Nathan Kensinger has been there to document it. For more than a decade, Nathan has been recording images and stories of New York City’s waterfront, with a special focus on the industrial landscapes, hidden ecosystems, and environmental challenges of coastal communities. In this conversation, Nathan will show some of his photography and film about the Gowanus and discuss the canal’s environmental history, the cleanup process, and the changing neighborhood around it.
Please join our friends at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a virtual opening of new public art, Atmosphere for Invention, now on view in Buildings 77 and 92. The program will include the premiere of a short video featuring all nine artists and their new works, as well as remarks, virtual cheers and toasts, and Q&A. The Brooklyn Navy Yard has initiated a public art program for artists seeking to create site-specific installations in public spaces. With the cultural sector among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative serves to economically uplift members of the Yard’s creative community while also providing the community with art activations to enjoy around the site. Each of the works on view use elements of color, texture, and light to establish a dialogue with the history of the site as well as its evolving ecosystem of people, labor, and infrastructure. Together, the works capture the innovative spirit of the Yard and its forward-looking future. Artists on view include Tatiana Arocha, Beth Campbell, Paul Campbell, JC Cancedda, Noël Copeland, Monique Luchetti, Jackie Meier, Lindsay Walt, and Tracy Wuischpard.
Prospect Park Alliance recently completed the restoration of the Endale Arch, one of the original portals to the park designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. Get an insider’s look at the restoration process, which required years of research, incredibly skilled craftspeople, and painstakingly detailed work to bring the arch back to its original splendor. We will be joined by Sarena Rabinowitz, Assistant Architect, Design & Construction at the Alliance about the years-long, multi-phase process to restore the full arch, and Curtis Barnhart of Barnhart Restoration & Design, which did the restoration work on the stunning interior. We will also go live to the arch itself to see these wonderful details up close. This program is offered in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance, and the arch restoration was generously funded by the Tiger Baron Foundation, with additional support from Council Member Brad Lander through District 39 participatory budgeting.
Over the past four centuries, the Battery at the tip of Manhattan has evolved, from a fortification to immigration station to park to National Monument. On this virtual walking tour, we will take advantage of the sweeping views of the harbor, share the history of Castle Clinton and the park, and explore some of its many monuments. The Battery is in many ways New York City’s World War II memorial, housing the Eastern Sea Frontier Memorial, the Norwegian Veterans Memorial, the haunting American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust.
Join us as we explore one of the most curious chapters in the history of Prospect Park, the four years (2005–2009) during which the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Grand Army Plaza housed a free lending library of puppets! Our guests will be master puppeteers Sara Peattie of the Puppeteers Cooperative and Theresa Linnihan, who operated that puppet library and performance space. The library was forced to move due to the arch’s leaky roof, but now the Prospect Park Alliance is preparing for a major renovation, so we thought this would be the perfect time to talk to the last tenant of the arch! Theresa and Sara will share stories, images, and puppets from this important community resource, which lives on in its current home at Brooklyn College.
At each of the water passages that lead to New York Harbor – from the Narrows to Hell Gate, Ambrose Channel to the Race – disused forts stand on either shore, once guarding these entrances. In this virtual program, we will explore the history of coastal fortifications in New York from the Revolutionary War to World War II, examining the different eras of fort construction and the technological advancements that drove the changes in these forts’ shape, armament, and role over time. We will also look at how these forts have been repurposed today – as parks, schools, museums, and the last active military base in New York City.
The neighborhood today known as DUMBO was once the center for the agricultural hamlet of Brooklyn, and grew into a center of commerce, shipping, and manufacturing. On this virtual walk, we will look at several eras of the neighborhood’s history reflected in its architecture. From the storage warehouses of the 1860s, to the reinforced concrete industrial buildings of the Gairville complex, to the last remaining tenement building in the neighborhood, we will also examine how these buildings have been repurposed to create one of the most expensive residential and office districts in all of New York City.
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 the city is home to more than 250 of them, more than any other city in the United States. On this virtual tour, we’ll look at many of the ceilings up close, in both grand public buildings and out-of-the-way places, including in Prospect Park, Grand Central Station, Ellis Island, and the Municipal Building, as we discuss this engineering marvel.
Take a virtual ride with us on the South Brooklyn route of the NYC Ferry. We will board at Corlears Hook and examine the Brooklyn waterfront as we ride past DUMBO, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Red Hook, Sunset Park, and finally end in Bay Ridge. Along the way, we will look back at the industrial history of these neighborhoods and see some of the last vestiges of the industrial and working waterfront in Brooklyn, including the Red Hook Container Terminal, Erie Basin, and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. We will also discuss many of things to see and do near the ferry stops.