Concrete is the world’s most ubiquitous building material, and many important milestones of its development took place in Brooklyn. In this virtual program, we will examine concrete’s history, production, and chemistry, then discuss some of the landmark structures that drove the development of steel-reinforced concrete in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From Gowanus to DUMBO, Prospect Park to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we will look at monumental buildings and small details designed by some renowned architects, including Cass Gilbert, Albert Kahn, and Calvert Vaux.
As we approach New York City’s primary elections on June 22, housing, as always, is a key issue on the ballot. So we are looking back at the history of social housing in New York – not just the city’s vast NYCHA public housing system, but also other forms of government and philanthropic intervention that have tried to tame the beast of unsafe, unsanitary, and unaffordable housing over the past 100+ years. This program will look at examples of model housing designed by social reformers, landmark cooperatives built by labor unions and community groups, the rise of public housing beginning in the 1930s, and public subsidies for private developments. This wide-ranging examination will take us from the Home and Tower Buildings to the First Houses, from Stuy-Town to the housing lottery.
The celebrate Black History Month and the 220th birthday at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we are looking at the obstacles and opportunities that Black people encountered at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the end of the Civil War through the Yard’s closure a century later. The program will examine the long history of African-Americans in the maritime trades, their systematic exclusion from the uniformed ranks of the US Navy in the Jim Crow era, and the new opportunities that emerged during World War II. We will look at profiles of trailblazers, innovators, and activists who worked and served there, and how the Yard became an important to Black economic and cultural life in Brooklyn. This virtual program follows up where we left off with last year’s “An Unfree Fleet,” which looked at the Yard’s connections to the institution of slavery.
For Easter, we shared the story of the military’s war on the Easter Bunny and good-tasting candy, and the role played by Brooklyn’s Rockwood & Company in World War II. In the course of researching that story, we came across another from 1919: The Great Rockwood Chocolate Flood, which occurred 100 years ago today.>> Continue reading
The Brooklyn Navy Yard covers 300 acres of the waterfront, touching neighborhoods from Dumbo to Fort Greene to Williamsburg. Both inside and outside the Yard’s gates are a growing number of places to eat and drink. If you’re traveling to the Yard via Dumbo, this neighborhood is packed with eateries for fine dining, a quick bite, or a drink. Nearby BLDG 92, there are great places for sandwiches, coffee, pizza, Mexican food, and more. The Yard is also a short walk from Downtown Brooklyn, where you can find the many offerings of the DeKalb Market Hall and the iconic Junior’s Restaurant.
Within the Yard, you can have coffee and bite at the Brooklyn Roasting Company Café in BLDG 92, grab a drink at the Gatehouse of Kings County Distillery, and stop by the Food Manufacturing Hub at Building 77, home to the newest location of Russ & Daughters. Click the map below for more information. >> Continue reading
Some of the subjects we frequently have to address on our tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard are: where is it? and what is the official name?
So let’s start with the first question. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is located on the banks of the Wallabout Bay, a bend in the East River located opposite Manhattan’s Corlears Hook. The Yard has grown considerably since it was established in 1801 with the purchase of 23 acres of land on the bay’s western shore. Today, it encompasses 300 acres that encircle the bay from west to east, bounded by Little Street and Navy Street to the west, Flushing Avenue to the south, and Williamsburg Street, Kent Avenue, and Division Avenue to the east. >> Continue reading