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.
On March 17, 1863, the gunboat Shamrock was launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, an event attended by more than 5,000 onlookers and tremendous fanfare. The christening of this ship was meant to recognize the contributions of Irish troops to the Union cause, but it also represented a watershed moment during the ascendancy of the Irish in the city’s waterfront trades. This program will examine the growth of Irish communities along the waterfront before and after the Civil War, look at the centers of civic life, including churches, pubs, and political clubs, some of which persist to this day, and learn about groundbreaking Irish admirals, engineers, and entrepreneurs that helped shape the city’s waterfront.
As both an historic site and an active industrial park, with buildings and infrastructure spanning nearly 200 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is literally made up of layers of history. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Archives serves the dual function of documenting and preserving the Yard’s history, while also providing historical engineering and architectural documentation that is critical for restoration and development projects. In this virtual visit to the Archives, we will be joined by archivist Elizabeth McGorty, who will tell us about the role of the Archives, show us some of the highlights of the collection and what they tell us about the Yard’s history, and take us behind the scenes to their storage facility where they keep some of the more unique artifacts of the collection.
We are teaming up with our friend and renowned pizza expert Scott Wiener from Scott’s Pizza Tours to explore the world of mobile pizza and discuss the history and culture of pizza on the street with some special guests. We will be joined by Ernie Wong of Shanghai Mobile Kitchen Solutions, one of the city’s leading fabricators of food carts and trucks, who will teach us about what goes into building and operating a pizza oven on wheels in New York City.
Since 2003, IceStone has been manufacturing countertops in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Made from 100% recycled glass, cement, and pigment, their unique designs and innovative production process have made IceStone a leading company in sustainable manufacturing. On this virtual tour, we will explore their products and process with Marketing Director Ashon McCollin, who will walk us through their factory, discuss commercial and residential projects they have worked on, and highlight the company’s initiatives to support the environment and their workers, which have made them a Certified B Corporation and a leader in the social enterprise movement.
Celebrate Open House New York Weekend by joining us for a live virtual visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s historic Dry Dock No. 1. Built in 1851, this New York City landmark is the third-oldest naval dry dock in the country, and it is still used for ship repair today. We will discuss its fascinating history, as well as learn about the Yard’s active working waterfront, which includes the largest ship repair facility in New York Harbor. This program is part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s day-long series of live programs, including virtual visits to artists and manufacturers (see the full schedule), and check out pre-recorded virtual tours of other tenant businesses.
As Open House New York Weekend goes online this year, we are hosting a virtual visit to one of the most popular sites of the weekend, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, so 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 businesses, and we will visit with some of the makers, manufacturers, and artists that occupy the buildings today, including FABSCRAP, SPark Workshop Brooklyn, and Uncommon Goods. This program is supported by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
In this special Made in NYC Week program, learn how New York City’s makers and manufacturers are advancing inclusion of people with disabilities through adaptive design and employment practices. In this panel discussion, we will speak with the Adaptive Design Association, which creates adaptations of expensive and non-custom commercial products for people with disabilities; learn about Adapt Ability, a new nonprofit that specializes in affordable solutions for adaptive bicycling; and take a behind-the-scenes look at Undercare’s adaptive clothing for people with mobility challenges with CEO and Founder Susanne Leary Shoemaker. In celebration of Disability Employment Awareness Month, we will also be joined by Karen Waltuck, JobPath’s Director of the Consortium of Customized Employment, to learn how a network of 13 agencies are working together to create more integrated and competitive work environments for manufacturers and other sectors through customized employment programs for people with developmental disabilities. This program will be hosted by Turnstile Tours’ President Cindy VandenBosch, who is an accessibility professional in the museum and tourism fields.
As New Yorkers are riding their bicycles more than ever, new Brooklyn-based nonprofit Adapt Ability 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 (check out his blog On Foot, On Wheels) in Prospect Park to see the trike he uses from AdaptAbility in action and to hear about his experience transitioning to adaptive cycling.
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.