Safe Harbor? New York’s Coastal Defense Forts from the Revolution to Today | Episode 180

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At each of the water passages that lead to New York Harbor – from the Narrows to Hell Gate, Ambrose Channel to the Race – disused forts stand on either shore, once guarding these entrances. In this virtual program, we will explore the history of coastal fortifications in New York from the Revolutionary War to World War II, examining the different eras of fort construction and the technological advancements that drove the changes in these forts’ shape, armament, and role over time. We will also look at how these forts have been repurposed today – as parks, schools, museums, and the last active military base in New York City.

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Virtual Walking Tour of DUMBO’s Historic Architecture | Episode 178

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The neighborhood today known as DUMBO was once the center for the agricultural hamlet of Brooklyn, and grew into a center of commerce, shipping, and manufacturing. On this virtual walk, we will look at several eras of the neighborhood’s history reflected in its architecture. From the storage warehouses of the 1860s, to the reinforced concrete industrial buildings of the Gairville complex, to the last remaining tenement building in the neighborhood, we will also examine how these buildings have been repurposed to create one of the most expensive residential and office districts in all of New York City.

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Guastavino’s New York | Episode 176

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In 1881, Spanish engineer Rafael Guastavino arrived in New York City and unveiled his new technology for building self-supporting vaulted tile ceilings. These ceilings are now iconic elements of many New York landmarks, and the city is home to more than 250 of them, more than any other city in the United States. On this virtual tour, we’ll look at many of the ceilings up close, in both grand public buildings and out-of-the-way places, including in Prospect Park, Grand Central Station, Ellis Island, and the Municipal Building, as we discuss this engineering marvel.

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Cass Gilbert’s New York: Skyscrapers to Supply Depots | Episode 165

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November 24 marks the 161st birthday of the famed architect Cass Gilbert, and to celebrate, we are taking a deep dive into his body of work in New York City. We will be joined by Helen Post Curry, Gilbert’s great-granddaughter, an expert on his life and work, and the founder of Woolworth Tours. Though born and raised in the Midwest, he rose to national prominence after moving to New York, where he built such landmarks as the Custom House, 90 West Street, the Woolworth Building, and of course, the Brooklyn Army Terminal. We will also discuss some of the less well-known buildings of his portfolio, including Brooklyn’s Austin, Nichols & Co. Building and a string of small railway stations in the Bronx, and his mastery of a wide diversity of styles that made him one of the most versatile architects of his era.

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Open House New York at Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Dry Dock 1 | Episode 151

United States Coast Guard Cutter in a dry dock undergoing repairs in Dry Dock 1 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

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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.

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Open House New York at Brooklyn Army Terminal | Episode 150

View of the metal frames that span the two sides of Building B, a massive concrete industrial building with an atrium at the center that opens to the sky.

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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.

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Art and Architecture of Prospect Park Zoo | Episode 123

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Take a deep dive into the art and architecture of Prospect Park Zoo on this virtual program that will include a live broadcast interview with Zoo Director Denise McClean of the Wildlife Conservation Society. We will learn about the history of architectural designs for zoos across New York City, the story of architect Aymar Embury III and his designs for the zoo, stories behind the animal-inspired bas reliefs and sculptures, (including the artist behind the beloved topiary sculptures), and the evolution of the zoo itself over time.

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Guastavino Tiles of Prospect Park | Episode 115

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In 1881, Spanish engineer Rafael Guastavino arrived in New York City and unveiled his new technology for building self-supporting vaulted tile ceilings. These ceilings are now iconic elements of many New York landmarks, and city is home to more than 250 of them, but no place has a denser concentration than Prospect Park. On this virtual tour, we’ll look at many of the ceilings up close, including in Grand Army Plaza, the Tennis House, and the Prospect Park Zoo, as we discuss this engineering marvel.

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