Join us for a virtual visit to Bien Hecho, a woodworking business at the Brooklyn Navy Yard that specializes in making furniture, millwork, cabinetry, public street seats, and other custom woodwork from reclaimed and sustainably-sourced wood. We’ll hear the story behind John Randall’s decade-old business, and how he has salvaged and transformed scrap wood, from a Brooklyn water tower to the Coney Island boardwalk, into beautifully-designed pieces of furniture and functional sculptures. This program will also explore Bien Hecho Academy, where classes and workshops take place. We’ll show some of the machinery and tools in the woodworking shop with the Academy’s Director Angie Yang, and we’ll get some insider tips on woodworking you can do at home or that you can also put into practice by joining Bien Hecho Academy’s exciting classes.
As New Yorkers are riding their bicycles more than ever, new Brooklyn-based nonprofit AdaptAbility is on a mission to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy cycling in the city’s parks and streets. During this virtual program, we will interview Sunset Park entrepreneur Sandra Alfonzo about her journey from being a bicycle shop owner to running a nonprofit that makes and rents adaptive bicycles to children and adults with disabilities. We’ll also go live to Michael Cairl in Prospect Park to see the trike he uses from AdaptAbility in action and to hear about his experience transitioning to adaptive cycling.
Hunts Point in the Bronx is the world’s largest food distribution center, yet few New Yorkers have ever visited. In order to demystify this place and the city’s food system, designers Lilian Yi-Hsuan Lin, Ángel Lamar Oliveras, and Beverly Chou created Race to Hunts Point, a strategy board game designed for high school students in which players must use resources to successfully operate cultivation, shipping, and trading processes in the food supply chain. In this virtual program, Lilian will walk us through the design, fabrication, and gameplay of Race to Hunts Point, which was created through the FWRD Fellowship for designers and engineers with NYCEDC’s Futureworks.
Coffee has long been the lifeblood of the Brooklyn economy, once as a leading commodity coming into the port, and today supporting hundreds of small coffee shops and roasters. This virtual program will look at how one Brooklyn company came to dominate the importing and roasting of coffee in the 19th century, share stories of the small roasters that have survived in Brooklyn for generations, and look at the city’s every-changing coffee landscape.
Bowne & Co., Stationers opened their doors at the South Street Seaport Museum in 1975, 200 years after Robert Bowne founded his shop across the street on Queen Lane. Today Bowne & Co., continues the tradition of 19th-century letterpress printing. This virtual program with Art Director Rob Wilson – co-hosted with Stefan Dreisbach Williams from the home of Robert Bowne’s ancestors, the 1661 Bowne House in Flushing, Queens – investigates the changing role that stationery and printing offices played in New York City, and the ways in which Bowne & Co., uses its collection of 34 printing presses, and more than 2,400 cases of movable type in contemporary ways today.
Jean Marie Keevins is a NYC-based, Emmy-nominated puppet supervisor, producer, writer, puppet artist, and owner of Little Shadow Productions. She is currently Puppet Supervisor for Apple TV+ and Sesame Workshop’s Helpsters, which was nominated for five Emmy Awards this year. This program will look at Keevins’ recent work on “Helpsters,” as well as her co-authored plays “Zwerge” with Deb Hertzberg (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) and Spencer Lott (“Sesame Street”), and “Elephant in the Room” with Sahr Nguaja (“Fela,” “Moulin Rouge!”). Jean Marie will also teach us how to make a shadow puppet theatre out of a shoebox at home in order to tell your own stories in a “shadowbox diary.” As a vice president for Puppet Heap, Jean Marie coordinated puppet builds for “The Muppets” and “Muppets Most Wanted,” as well as a worldwide Diet Coke campaign with Jean Paul Gautier, and built puppets for “Avenue Q” and Disney on Ice’s “Finding Nemo.” Little Shadow has created puppets for Netflix’s special “Wyatt Cenac’s Brooklyn” and “Lonely Island,” among other projects.
By the mid-20th century, New York City was among the preeminent manufacturing centers in the United States, with nearly 1 million city residents employed in factories. Today, nearly all of those jobs are gone – so, what happened? Join our discussion with historian Andy Battle, who will explore the deindustrialization of New York City, with a special focus on the city’s best-known industry, clothing manufacture. Andy Battle is an historian, editor, and instructor in the Bard Sequence Program.
Inspired by travel and her Kentucky roots, Brooklyn Navy Yard-based jewelry maker Carrie Bilbo creates collections combine inspiration from the natural world with carefully-crafted porcelains and precious metals. On this virtual program, Carrie will showcase her work and creative process, discuss building her business, and share some of her newest work, including custom-made pieces and her sister brand Sweet Caroline Wedding Adornment. A graduate of nearby Pratt Institute, Carrie launched her company in 2010, and her work has since appeared in magazines, fashion runways, movies and TV shows, and on celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg and Isabelle Fuhrman.
Go inside industry at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Scott Jordan Furniture, a manufacturer of beautiful solid-wood furniture that has been in business for more than 35 years. Founder Scott Jordan will take us on a virtual tour of his shop and his production process, which blends traditional and advanced manufacturing techniques. He will walk us through the computer-aided design system, show us his CNC (computer numerical control) router that cuts and shapes parts, walk us through his beautiful Navy Yard showroom, and share how the business has grown and evolved over time.
The COVID-19 crisis has thrust manufacturing into the national spotlight, as the city, state, and nation struggle to procure necessary medical equipment, and companies big and small pivot to produce these critical supplies. How did we get here? What do we still make in NYC? How will manufacturing businesses survive this crisis? We will tackle these and other questions with Adam Friedman, director of the Pratt Center for Community Development. Adam is a renowned expert on urban manufacturing, a board member of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, and the founder of Made in NYC, a support network for local manufacturers created in the wake of another crisis facing New York City, the September 11 attacks.