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Summer Photography Tour Shows Navy Yard in Full Bloom

The next installment of our year-long series of Seasonal Photography Tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is coming up next week (Saturday, July 20, 11am-1pm), with a new perspective on the yard and a new yard-based photographer who will judge our photo contest.

If you’re unfamiliar with these tours, here’s how it works: we meet at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center, board a (mercifully air-conditioned!) bus, and visit eye-popping spots around the sprawling 300-acre site.  Throughout the tour, we sprinkle in stories about the yard’s history and present tenants (there are 300+ businesses in the yard), but the real focus is giving participants the opportunity to take great shots of the unique landscape.  For two hours, they get  a behind-the-scenes look at the yard itself, while learning something about the yard’s transformation today.

A sneak peak at recent work by this season's judge, photographer Amy Fronczkiewicz.
A sneak peak at recent work by this season’s judge, photographer Amy Fronczkiewicz.

One way that we highlight the present-day Brooklyn Navy Yard community is through our Instagram photo contest, which all tour participants are welcome to take part in, and is judged by a photographer or artist based in the yard.  For the summer season we have teamed up with one talented photographer, Amy Fronczkiewicz.

Originally hailing from a small farming community outside Scranton, PA, Amy has lived in Brooklyn for more than 17 years.  She moved her studio into the Navy Yard about three years ago and works in Building 3, a white, eleven-story concrete and brick behemoth that sits on Flushing Avenue.  While much of her work is in fashion and still-life photography for commercial clients, lately Amy has turned her camera onto the yard itself, and she is in the process of compiling a project about the site (stay tuned to Amy’s site and this blog for updates on the project).

From Amy Fronczkiewicz' Mannequins Project.
From Amy Fronczkiewicz’ Mannequins Project.

Even in the relatively short time she has been in the yard, she has seen enormous changes, as buildings have been built and renovated, yet at the same time others deteriorate and decay.  “There seems to be a time frame for everything,” she says.  This fascination with historic sites and deterioration comes through in her Ellis Island Project, where she photographed interiors of many of the historic immigration station’s unrestored buildings.  It’s not just decay that interests her, but reinvention as well.  Her Mannequin Project is of note for this reason – her friend refurbishes mannequins in New Jersey, and she asked if she could photograph them in his factory.  The images are striking, bodies and heads piled up, all covered with a thick film of dust – yet slated to be fixed up and returned to a shop window somewhere.  The diverse experience that she brings will offer a unique perspective to the summer photo contest (read about the photographer judges for our winter and spring tours as well).

One of the interesting aspects of doing a year-long series is that we give photographers the opportunity to shoot the yard in every season.  You wouldn’t imagine that an industrial landscape would change much throughout the year – perhaps patches of snow in winter, bluer skies in summer, but all set against an unchanging concrete backdrop.  In reality, the yard is full of life, especially when we venture up to the unrestored Naval Hospital Campus.  The stunning summer greenery makes the site almost unrecognizable to anyone who has only experienced it in grayer months.

Brooklyn Naval Hospital in Full Bloom (Andrew Gustafson).
Brooklyn Naval Hospital in Full Bloom (Andrew Gustafson).

To see what the shutterbugs on previous tours have captured, check out the submissions from the winter and spring photo tours.  If you would like to join us for the July 20th tour, make sure you purchase tickets in advance, as it is expected to sell out as the previous installments have.  And after the tour, don’t forget to share your photos and enter the contest – prizes include free tickets on another yard tour, and the chance to win the year-end prizes of a private tour for yourself and 30 of your friends (guides will give you instructions for how to enter on the tour).

Turnstile Tours offers the Seasonal Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard four times throughout the year – please check the tour page for exact dates. The tours will be offered Saturdays on July 20 and October 19 at 11am. Advance ticket purchases are highly recommended. We also offer our Overview Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm during the winter months, and other special themed tours of The Yard. All tours begin at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, which offers free admission to three floors of exhibitions on the yard’s history, the Ted & Honey rooftop cafe, and a host of great special events and programs.

The post was authored by Rich Garr.