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
In the second installment of this series on the history and ecology of Staten Island’s North Shore, we are joined by Karen Imas, Senior Director of Programs at the Waterfront Alliance to discuss the organization’s recent study of island’s northeast shore, stretching from the Verrazzano Bridge to Stapleton. This study takes a community-centered approach to dealing with issues of waterfront access, resiliency, preparing for climate change, and the working waterfront using the organization’s Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG).>> Continue reading
Take a ride to the Bronx on this virtual tour of the Soundview Route on NYC Ferry, as we discuss important landmarks of NYC’s history of housing, food, and exclusion. Starting from Wall Street, we will cruise under the iconic East River bridges, stop in Stuyvesant Cove, and make our way up the river before heading into new waters for our virtual tours, past the Hell Gate and into mouth of Long Island Sound. We will discuss the history of the East River’s islands, many of which have been sites of exclusion and incarceration, including Roosevelt Island, Randalls Island, the Brother Islands, and of course Rikers Island. We will also see some of the city’s most critical infrastructure, including power plants, waste transfer stations, LaGuardia Airport, and the vast food distribution facility at Hunts Point, before landing in Soundview at the mouth of the beautiful but mistreated Bronx River.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 opened its doors on Veterans Day 2011, 11/11/11, making it the first publicly-accessible building at the Yard in over a century, and the first in a series of projects that have pushed back Yard’s walls. BLDG 92 was created to be the public gateway, containing not only the museum of the Yard’s history and contemporary story, but serving as a hub for educational and public programs, and brining the Yard’s Employment Center closer to the community. On this virtual tour of BLDG 92 and its exhibits, we will look at how this project was realized, what the exhibits tell us about the Yard’s story, what is missing from that interpretation 10 years on, and how the Yard engages the public today through different sites and programs.
- Brooklyn Navy Yard Archives
- Small Works for Big Change art sale
- Atmosphere for Invention: Art & Object Walk on Flushing Avenue / Public Art in Building 77
- Creative History at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
In 1835, Naples-born painter Nicolino Calyo arrived in New York, and over the next 20 years, he produced a body of work that captured both the grandeur and minutia of city life. An experienced landscape painter, one of his first works was also one of the grandest—a series of paintings of the great fire of December 16–17, 1835, which would build his fame in America and lead to a number of touring exhibitions, including large-scale panoramas, a popular entertainment of the era. He also produced over 100 paintings of street vendors, and invaluable catalogue of the sidewalk economy of 1840s New York. In this virtual program, we will discuss Calyo’s life and career, and examine some of his most notable works, large and small.
- Calyo’s “Cries of New York” paintings (Yale University Art Gallery)
- Calyo’s “Views of New York During the Great Fire” (Museum of the City of New York)
- Calyo’s “Servants at the Pump” (Smithsonian)
- The Cries of New-York, 1808 (Smithsonian)
- A Spectacle in Motion: The Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World (Mystic Seaport)
- Margaret Sloane Patterson, “Nicolino Calyo and His Paintings of the Great Fire of New York” (JSTOR)
- Steven H. Jaffe, “Cries of New York” (Museum of the City of New York)
On the Staten Island Ferry’s 115th birthday, we take a tour of the island’s North Shore waterfront. Seen by Staten Islanders as culturally distinct from the neighborhoods south of the expressway, the North Shore is home to the borough’s cultural and industrial centers, interspersed with forgotten villages and dilapidated mansions. But even here, gentrification and transit investments aim to remake the waterfront just as climate change increases its vulnerability.
- WATCH: Staten Island’s Freight Rail: Back from the Brink with Don Lotz
- Snug Harbor Cultural Center
- WATCH: “Mind the Light, Kate”: New York’s Most Famous Lighthouse Keeper with the Noble Maritime Collection / The Noble Maritime Collection
- WATCH: Lighting the Way: Staten Island’s National Lighthouse Museum / National Lighthouse Museum
- Museum of Maritime Navigation and Communication
- Alice Austen House Museum
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is the hub for Open House New York Weekend, with food trucks, pop-up eateries, outdoor activations, and tours. We will be hosting a series of virtual tours on the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Instagram Live @bklynnavyyard starting at 12pm with a tour of the food trucks that will be setting up shop at Building 77 all weekend. Then we’re going into the studio with artist Charlotta Westergren, and we’ll finish off the day with a tour of whiskey production at the Kings County Distillery.
Watch on the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Instagram IGTV.
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.
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)
The Waterfront Museum presents The Tideshift Project, an oral history collecting event presented live aboard the 1914 Lehigh Valley Railroad No. 79 wooden lighterage barge moored in Red Hook, Brooklyn. This three-part series will record stories from waterfront workers who have handled freight in and near Red Hook, and from their descendants. This first event featured interviews with waterfront workers who lived and worked through the transition to containerization, including James McNamara, Robert Hansen, and Gregory “Buddy” Cox in conversation with Stefan D-W.
These are free events and donations to the Waterfront Museum are welcome. The Tideshift Project was funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.