When the Brooklyn Navy Yard was founded in 1801, more than a quarter of the inhabitants of Kings County were enslaved, and 60% of households included an enslaved person. This program will look at how the institution of slavery was intricately linked to the operations of the Yard, even after New York enacted emancipation in 1827. From timber, rope, and nails produced by enslaved labor in the South, to the enslaved people living and working at the Yard itself, the institution of slavery was embedded in the life of the Navy. This program will be hosted by our Brooklyn Navy Yard historian Andrew Gustafson.
On June 25, 1966, the Brooklyn Navy Yard closed its doors after 165 years of “Service to the Fleet.” This virtual program with Navy Yard historian Andrew Gustafson will look at the rationale for the Yard’s closure, its sale to the City of New York and reopening as a private shipyard building crude oil supertankers, and the ups and downs of redevelopment over the past 50 years. Today the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a thriving city-owned industrial park that is home to over 500 companies at 12,000 jobs.
The day that news of the Titanic’s sinking reached New York, dignitaries assembled at 25 South Street on the tip of Lower Manhattan to lay the cornerstone. That building would stand tall among the icons of the Port of New York and vastly improved the lives of the seafarers who helped build this port city’s commerce. In this program, the Seamen’s Church Institute’s Senior Archivist and Queens College Assistant Professor Johnathan Thayer discusses SCI, its iconic building at 25 South Street, and its ongoing commitment to the unseen workforce on our oceans and inland waterways.
The Lehigh Valley No. 79 covered barge shuttled cargo around New York Harbor from 1914 until sometime around the mid-1970s. David Sharps rescued this wooden barge in 1985, digging it out the mud, floating it, and renovating into a museum, performance space, and the home where he and his wife raised their daughters. We take an inside look inside this remarkable vessel and the remarkable institution that is The Waterfront Museum.
The Whitehall skiff, a style of boat developed in New York 200 years ago, has been changing the lives of teens in the Bronx for the last 20 years at a program called Rocking the Boat. Founder and Executive Director Adam Green joins us to discuss the Whitehall and the impact of youth development based on teaching with small boats that combines engineering, craft, rowing and sailing, and marine ecology.
Artist, rigger, and ship modeler Frank Hanavan follows up on his recent popular presentation on knots, drawing from his experience on tall ships to share knots for nautical and everyday use. No need to worry if you missed part 1 of this series, as Frank will continue with some basic knots, and he will also share some of his incredible ship models that he has constructed (and rigged) over the years.
The waterfront has long been the epicenter of Brooklyn’s economic and cultural life, yet the stories of ordinary workers in the once-bustling piers and factories can be difficult to locate. In this program, historian Julie Golia will share how one small newspaper item – a 1873 notice of the untimely death of dockworker Michael Harkins – allowed her team of researchers at Brooklyn Historical Society to uncover generations of history along the waterfront. Julie is formerly the Vice President of Curatorial Affairs and Collections at Brooklyn Historical Society and oversaw the creation of the exhibit “Waterfront” and BHS DUMBO, and she is currently Curator of History, Social Sciences, and Government Information at The New York Public Library.
Enjoy this hands-on virtual program with the whole family! Ships are giant structures that can weigh hundreds or even thousands of tons. So how do they get them out of the water? Join us at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s history Dry Dock No. 1 for an exploration of the science behind dry docks and learn how this amazing machine is still used today to repair ships in New York Harbor. After we visit the dry dock, we will then show you how to make your own model of one to “fix” your own toy boats, using items you can find around your house. This video was created with support from the Brooklyn Public Library.
Unlock the mystery of maritime navigation with Mary Habstritt of the Lilac Preservation Project. At night many of our waterways become constellations of flashing lights. These Aids to Navigation (or AtoNs) keep our marine traffic moving safely, but most of us have only the vaguest idea what they mean or what it takes to establish and maintain them. The Lilac, a steam powered United States Lighthouse Service (later US Coast Guard) tender introduces the public to the world of AtoNs and helps us see our waterways with new insight.