Join us on a virtual exploration of the Bowne House (ca. 1661), the oldest building in Queens and second-oldest in New York State. Built by John Bowne, a Quaker who emigrated from England and eventually settled in Flushing, his fight for religious freedom was an important moment in American history that laid down principles later codified in the Bill of Rights. Now a museum, we will explore the house with a docent and its live-in caretaker, who will share stories of the house and its occupants from 1661 to 1945, when ownership of the private home transitioned from John Bowne’s descendants to the Bowne House Historical Society.>> Continue reading
Join us on a virtual exploration of the Bowne House (ca. 1661), the oldest building in Queens and second-oldest in New York State. Built by John Bowne, a Quaker who emigrated from England and eventually settled in Flushing, his fight for religious freedom was an important moment in American history that laid down principles later codified in the Bill of Rights. Now a museum, we will explore the house with a docent and its live-in caretaker, who will share stories of the house and its occupants from 1661 to 1945, when ownership of the private home transitioned from John Bowne’s descendants to the Bowne House Historical Society.
Prospect Park is not just 585 acres for people, but animals, too. We’ll share stories of the furry, feathery, scaly, and slimy inhabitants of the park throughout history, including the livestock that used to work in the park, the inhabitants of the various zoos over time, the dogs that roam the meadows during off-leash hours, and the many wild fauna that thrive in the park today.
In this virtual program, Turnstile Tours founder Cindy VandenBosch examines how children’s books, novels, paintings, and postcards have depicted New York City’s street vendors, and the foods and merchandise they sell over time. From hot corn and baked pears to knishes and sweet potatoes, she will dive into vendor stories depicted in works including the 1808 book “Cries of New York,” documentation from the Works Progress Administration, and images by William Chappel (pictured), Lou Barlow, and Raymond Ewer, among others.
Explore one of the most beautiful and historic churches in Brooklyn, Williamsburg’s Most Holy Trinity-St. Mary. Established in 1843 as the first German Catholic parish on Long Island, the stunning cathedral-like structure was completed in 1885 and was a key location in Betty Smith’s 1943 classic “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” Cindy and Andrew were married in this church (and April 26 is their wedding anniversary!), and they will be joined by their friend and priest Father Timothy Dore, who will share the rich history of the parish he served for many years.
Interested in learning more about your family history, or the history of your neighborhood, block, or building? Join us for this introduction to genealogy, where we will share resources and tips, and we will be answering questions if you need help with your own research. This program will be especially useful to people with family connections to New York City, but even if you don’t have any, we will share lots of free and paid resources that will help you uncover your family story wherever you live.
Did you miss this virtual program? Check out some of the resources below:
Explore the history of Graham Avenue, Brooklyn’s “Avenue of Puerto Rico” and take an in-depth look at the businesses and people of this community, including the historic Moore Street Market, and the department stores, butcher shops, and pushcarts of the past and present. Turnstile Tours has worked in the neighborhood for more than 10 years, and this program is based on more than 20 oral history interviews with neighborhood residents and local business owners and on original archival research that we will share during this session.
Best known today for its pollution and gentrification, the Gowanus Canal is an historic waterway that has seen war, industry, innovation, and reinvention play out along its banks. We will speak with poet, preservationist, and paddler Brad Vogel, captain of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and executive director of the New York Preservation Archive, about the history of the Gowanus Canal over the past 300 years, as well as initiatives today to help the Gowanus small business community weather the current crisis.
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.
Take a deep dive into the history of New York City’s public markets, which have their origins in a vast food distribution system set up by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1930’s. Once encompassing 10 retail markets and nearly as many wholesale facilities, today many of the historic buildings of this era remain, and these markets continue to offer affordable space for food entrepreneurs and fresh, high-quality food for shoppers throughout New York City.