On Thanksgiving, we’re looking back at an unsung hero of the holiday during World War II, a merchant ship called SS Great Republic. This ship helped execute the great turkey-lift of 1944, delivering turkey to nearly two million American soldiers fighting in Europe. As we’ll discover, delivering this meal stretched the military’s supply chain, and the New York Port of Embarkation, to its limits.>> Continue reading
Take a virtual visit to one of the most popular sites of Open House New York Weekend, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and join us for a live exploration of the site’s architecture, history, and industry. Designed by architect Cass Gilbert and built in 1918–1919, the Terminal is an architectural and engineering marvel that served as a major military installation for nearly 50 years. Today it is a city-owned industrial park that is home to over 100 tenants, including manufacturers, technology companies, nonprofits, artists, and more. On this virtual tour, we will explore the history and architecture of the stunning atrium, and visit with Adapt Ability Bikes, a nonprofit that builds adaptive bicycles for people with disabilities, and stop into BioBAT Art Space to see the work of artist Tatiana Arocha.>> Continue reading
Celebrate Navy Day with a discussion of one of the least-known units of World War II, the Navy Armed Guard. Serving in the U-boat-infested waters of the Atlantic, these sailors served in small detachments aboard merchant ships manning the deck guns. This virtual program will be hosted from the Sunset Park waterfront, where many sailors departed from the docks of the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Bush Terminal, and where the largest Armed Guard Center in the country was located, the Second Battalion Naval Militia Armory that once stood on 1st Avenue and 52nd Street. We will discuss the creation and evolution of the service during World War II, listen to oral histories of Armed Guard sailors, and visit one of the few memorials to the sacrifices of these brave men.
Photo Credit: Official US Navy photograph, taken by Clarence F. Korker
- The Pointer archive
- American Merchant Marine at War
- Clarence “Korky” Korker interview (USA Warrior Stories)
- Justin F. Gleichauf (1990) Unsung Sailors: The Naval Armed Guard in World War II
- “Historical Narrative of U.S. Naval Armed Guard Center Third Naval District” (Hyperwar)
- “Armed Guard Service in World War II” (NHHC)
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 G.I. 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.
- Trina Young (2021) Elvis: The Army Years Uncovered
- WATCH Press conference at Brooklyn Army Terminal, Sep 22, 1958
- “Farewell Squeal for Elvis” (Life, Oct 6, 1958)
- “Bad Nauheim pays tribute to famous former resident, US Army Pvt. Elvis Presley” (Stars & Stripes, Aug 21, 2021)
- “Army Elvis” (Elvis History Blog)
- Culture and Military Museum of Grafenwoehr
- Elvis Barbershop Museum
Built on the footprint of the piers and warehouses of the historic Bush Terminal, Bush Terminal Park provided much-needed green space and waterfront access to the Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood when it opened in 2014. Join us for a virtual walk through the 22-acre park, which offers remnants of the site’s maritime and manufacturing history, unique engineered tide pools and a wild-growing forest, and unparalleled views of the harbor and skyline.
- WATCH Made in NY Campus at Bush Terminal Virtual Tour | Episode 218
- “Finally, A Park Grows in Brooklyn’s Last Industrial Pocket” (Curbed)
- Sunset Park 197-A Plan (2011)
- SCAPE Studio Deconstructed Salt Marsh (2014)
- Billion Oyster Project in Bush Terminal Park
- “Carnage and Heroism: Memories of 1956 Bush Terminal Explosion” (NY Times)
Since its founding over a century ago, Bush Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn has been a center of industry and innovation. Today, the city-owned site is being transformed into a campus for the Made in NY initiative to support cornerstone industries of the city’s economy: fashion and film. On this virtual tour, we will learn how the historic campus is being repurposed to provide affordable space and support services to garment manufacturers, alongside facilities for film and television production, and an expanded public realm to open the campus to the community. We will be joined by Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS and David Ostrich of W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, who will walk us through the reimagined campus and adaptively reused buildings.
Completed in 1919, the Brooklyn Army Terminal is a marvel of architecture and engineering. On this virtual tour, we will examine its design and construction during World War I, its 47-year service as a military supply base, and its reinvention as a hub for industry, manufacturing, and technology today. We will spend time in the breathtaking atrium, step into the skybridges that connect the buildings, and look at how the site has been renovated.
- Brooklyn Army Terminal virtual programs
- Adapt Ability Bikes
- BioBAT Art Space • Common Frequencies
- New York New Jersey Rail (car float)
On April 26, 1956 an oil tanker customized to carry standardized metal crates left Port Newark, NJ for Houston, TX, marking the first commercially successful containerized shipment. Over the next 30 years, containerized cargo would come to dominate the shipping industry and create a new global economy. Marc Levinson, author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, joins us to share the story of the shipping container and how it changed the world.
- Marc Levinson’s website
- Outside the Box: How Globalization Changed from Moving Stuff to Spreading Ideas
- WATCH past episodes on containerization
New York City’s working waterfront has been widely associated with crime and corruption at least since On The Waterfront hit movie screens in 1954, but the story goes back further. Nathan Ward, author of Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront and CUNY scholar Joseph Sciorra join us to reveal the story of Pete Panto, a longshoreman who took a stand against the mob bosses. Though Panto paid the ultimate price, his death initiated a long struggle toward waterfront reform.
- Ward, Nathan, Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront (2011)
- Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College
- WATCH Pete Panto Conference (2001) Part 1 • Part 2
- “Chi è Pete Panto?”, Joseph Sciorra
- Brave New World Repertory Theatre – The Hook & A View from the Bridge (2019)
- Russell Sage Foundation, The Longshoremen (1915)
Food manufacturing has been a cornerstone of Brooklyn’s manufacturing economy for 150 years. Not only was the borough was home to some of the largest chocolate and confectionary makers in the country, but its port brought the tropical ingredients from around the globe. We will discuss some of the large and small chocolate makers that dotted Brooklyn’s landscape, the men and women who worked in them, and the transformations brought to the industry by mechanization, unionization, and war. We will also look at some of the artisanal chocolate makers that are keeping the confectionary traditions alive today.
- The Easter Bunny Goes to War
- The 1919 Brooklyn Chocolate Flood
- Jacques Torres Chocolate
- “Brooklyn’s JoMart Chocolates” (New York Times)
- “Mexican Family Gives Brooklyn Mole Poblano Flavor” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)
- History of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco, and Grain Millers International Union
- Chocolate Manufacturing in World War I (National Archives)
- “Origin of a Dish: Brooklyn Blackout Cake” (Sarah Lohman)
- “City OK with Loss of Cocoa Port” (Brooklyn Paper)
- MRE & Ration Reviews (YouTube)