Concrete is the world’s most ubiquitous building material, and many important milestones of its development took place in Brooklyn. In this virtual program, we will examine concrete’s history, production, and chemistry, then discuss some of the landmark structures that drove the development of steel-reinforced concrete in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From Gowanus to DUMBO, Prospect Park to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we will look at monumental buildings and small details designed by some renowned architects, including Cass Gilbert, Albert Kahn, and Calvert Vaux.
In colonial New York, reliable power came from muscles (human and animal), firewood, and tides. From Spuyten Duyvil to Marine Park, Wallabout Bay to Flushing Bay, settlers turned many tidal marshes across New York’s vast estuary into millponds to run machinery as the water ebbed. In this virtual program, Brad Vogel of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and the Tide Mill Institute will share examples of this green energy from the past.
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.
In 1636, the first European settler, Willem Adriaensen Benet, was granted title to land in what is today Brooklyn. Though Dutch rule over the colony would last only 30 years, Dutch culture and language would persist in Brooklyn for well over 200 years. In this conversation with journalist and amateur genealogist Sarah Crean, who worked as a researcher for the Brooklyn Historical Society (now the Center for Brooklyn History) and has written extensively about Brooklyn’s history for Bklyner, we will examine some of this landmarks and institutions where the legacy of Brooklyn’s Dutch heritage can still be seen today.
Celebrate National Manufacturing Day with events across the country on Friday, Oct. 5, including two events hosted by Turnstile Tours and our manufacturing partners. At 9:30am, join us at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a tour of Ferra Designs, a shop that designs and fabricates architectural metalwork and furniture. The tour will include an explanation of their methodology from founder Rob Ferraroni, as well as a walk through the shop floor to see the work of their skilled craftspeople and advanced manufacturing equipment.
At 10am, we will be exploring food manufacturing by visiting the factory of Wafels and Dinges, a purveyor of authentic Belgian wafels. At their Gowanus facility, they produce more than 7,000 wafels daily for their network of food trucks, carts, kiosks, and restaurants, and it also serves as their commissary garage, where they store and service their fleet for mobile food vending.
The Gowanus Canal is one of the most polluted waterways in the country, yet that doesn’t stop the Gowanus DredgersCanoe Club from taking to the water. Their mission is to raise awareness and advocate for the environmental disaster area that is the canal, and to provide public access and engagement with the waterway itself. The Dredgers lead tours of the area by boat and on foot, and they offer free paddling on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Their boathouse and launch is just a short walk from the Wafels & Dinges Factory.