With the recent release of a feasibility study by the MTA on the “Interborough Express,” a little-known stretch of train tracks is suddenly in the news. The Bay Ridge Branch is a critical link in the freight rail network of New York Harbor and Long Island, carrying goods like construction materials, chemicals, and beer, and connecting with the Hell Gate Bridge and the city’s last cross-harbor rail barge terminal. This proposal would utilize the branch for both freight and commuter rail service, linking with the NYC subway and providing a direct route through southern and eastern Brooklyn and Queens without the need to travel through Manhattan. In this virtual program, we will look at the history of the Bay Ridge Branch, its current use and future potential, and its connection to the long-planned Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel.
While New York City sat at the nexus of many important canals built in the 19th century — the Erie, Morris, and Delaware & Raritan among them — the city had its own internal network of lesser-known canals, some filled in, some never built, and some still with us today. As part of our ongoing virtual program series on canals, we will examine the ambitious schemes from the 17th century onward to connect the city’s bays and streams, from the Heere Graft of New Amsterdam to the Wallabout Canal of Brooklyn.
Pete Davidson, Colin Jost, and Paul Italia made waves last month when they bought retired Staten Island Ferry John F. Kennedy. While we don’t know where this future comedy club will dock, few people know the inside of the boat as well as Angus McCamy. This native New Yorker and licensed captain and engineer reveals the ins and outs of this New York City icon, from the crowded rail at the Jersey side, to the bowels of the engine room and right under the keel. Join our virtual conversation with Staten Island native and longtime JFK admirer Stefan D-W.
To mark the 80th anniversary since the attack on Pearl Harbor, this virtual program will examine the connections between the fleet in Hawaii in 1941 and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We will look at the histories of the eight ships built at the Yard that were moored in Pearl Harbor that Sunday morning, including the battleships Arizona and Tennessee. We will also discuss the role the Yard played in salvaging the Pacific Fleet in the aftermath of the attack, as more than 1,000 skilled Brooklyn shipworkers volunteered to go to Hawaii to help rebuild.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.