On April 26, 1956 an oil tanker customized to carry standardized metal crates left Port Newark, NJ for Houston, TX, marking the first commercially successful containerized shipment. Over the next 30 years, containerized cargo would come to dominate the shipping industry and create a new global economy. Marc Levinson, author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, joins us to share the story of the shipping container and how it changed the world.
New York City’s working waterfront has been widely associated with crime and corruption at least since On The Waterfront hit movie screens in 1954, but the story goes back further. Nathan Ward, author of Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront and CUNY scholar Joseph Sciorra join us to reveal the story of Pete Panto, a longshoreman who took a stand against the mob bosses. Though Panto paid the ultimate price, his death initiated a long struggle toward waterfront reform.
Because New York City lacks any freight rail crossing of the Hudson River, Staten Island is the lone borough that is connected to the rest of the country’s freight rail network. Today the rail and container facilities there are vital to the port’s operations, but in the 1990’s, this link was lost. Don Lotz, retired Manager of Intermodal Development for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (and long-time Turnstile Member), will join us to share his experience with this vital project. He will dig into the design and construction required to restore rail freight service to Staten Island, including rehabilitation of the Arthur Kill Vertical-Lift Bridge, which has the longest lift-span of any vertical lift bridge in the world, and the challenges this corner of the port – and all of New York City’s waterfront – faced due to massive changes to the manufacturing and shipping industries.
Sitting at the mouth of the Hudson estuary with vast shorelines and moderate tides, New York Harbor is one of the greatest natural ports on earth, yet moving goods around the region on land has always been a challenge. This talk hosted by maritime expert Stefan Dreisbach-Williams will look at the forces that transformed New York into a dominant global port, from the mid-19th to the present, despite the fact that its geography poses huge obstacles for land-based transport by train and truck. We will look at the infrastructure and economic forces behind this paradox, and take note of places where the old technologies are still visible, and how new ones continue to develop.