Join us for a virtual visit to Bien Hecho, a woodworking business at the Brooklyn Navy Yard that specializes in making furniture, millwork, cabinetry, public street seats, and other custom woodwork from reclaimed and sustainably-sourced wood. We’ll hear the story behind John Randall’s decade-old business, and how he has salvaged and transformed scrap wood, from a Brooklyn water tower to the Coney Island boardwalk, into beautifully-designed pieces of furniture and functional sculptures. This program will also explore Bien Hecho Academy, where classes and workshops take place. We’ll show some of the machinery and tools in the woodworking shop with the Academy’s Director Angie Yang, and we’ll get some insider tips on woodworking you can do at home or that you can also put into practice by joining Bien Hecho Academy’s exciting classes.
As New Yorkers are riding their bicycles more than ever, new Brooklyn-based nonprofit AdaptAbility is on a mission to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy cycling in the city’s parks and streets. During this virtual program, we will interview Sunset Park entrepreneur Sandra Alfonzo about her journey from being a bicycle shop owner to running a nonprofit that makes and rents adaptive bicycles to children and adults with disabilities. We’ll also go live to Michael Cairl in Prospect Park to see the trike he uses from AdaptAbility in action and to hear about his experience transitioning to adaptive cycling.
Coffee has long been the lifeblood of the Brooklyn economy, once as a leading commodity coming into the port, and today supporting hundreds of small coffee shops and roasters. This virtual program will look at how one Brooklyn company came to dominate the importing and roasting of coffee in the 19th century, share stories of the small roasters that have survived in Brooklyn for generations, and look at the city’s every-changing coffee landscape.
On June 25, 1966, the Brooklyn Navy Yard closed its doors after 165 years of “Service to the Fleet.” This virtual program with Navy Yard historian Andrew Gustafson will look at the rationale for the Yard’s closure, its sale to the City of New York and reopening as a private shipyard building crude oil supertankers, and the ups and downs of redevelopment over the past 50 years. Today the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a thriving city-owned industrial park that is home to over 500 companies at 12,000 jobs.
By the mid-20th century, New York City was among the preeminent manufacturing centers in the United States, with nearly 1 million city residents employed in factories. Today, nearly all of those jobs are gone – so, what happened? Join our discussion with historian Andy Battle, who will explore the deindustrialization of New York City, with a special focus on the city’s best-known industry, clothing manufacture. Andy Battle is an historian, editor, and instructor in the Bard Sequence Program.
The Brooklyn Army Terminal has served many functions over the years, including as a liquor storehouse in the 1920’s, a coffee roastery in the 1930’s postal sorting center in the 1960’s, and a massive art exhibition space in the 1980’s. In celebration of the 102nd anniversary of the Terminal’s groundbreaking, we will be delving into our archives to share a selection of our favorite stories from a century of labor, logistics, and innovation at this waterfront landmark.
Inspired by travel and her Kentucky roots, Brooklyn Navy Yard-based jewelry maker Carrie Bilbo creates collections combine inspiration from the natural world with carefully-crafted porcelains and precious metals. On this virtual program, Carrie will showcase her work and creative process, discuss building her business, and share some of her newest work, including custom-made pieces and her sister brand Sweet Caroline Wedding Adornment. A graduate of nearby Pratt Institute, Carrie launched her company in 2010, and her work has since appeared in magazines, fashion runways, movies and TV shows, and on celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg and Isabelle Fuhrman.
Before the celebrated images of “Rosie the Riveter” and “Winnie the Welder,” women served in a variety of roles at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in uniform and as civilian workers. We will celebrate Mother’s Day by looking back at the flag makers, telephone operators, nurses, and more that made the Navy Yard run, and paved the way for the thousands of welders, shipfitters, and machinists that worked in the Yard in World War II, and the women serving in all ranks and branches of the armed forces today.
Go inside industry at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Scott Jordan Furniture, a manufacturer of beautiful solid-wood furniture that has been in business for more than 35 years. Founder Scott Jordan will take us on a virtual tour of his shop and his production process, which blends traditional and advanced manufacturing techniques. He will walk us through the computer-aided design system, show us his CNC (computer numerical control) router that cuts and shapes parts, walk us through his beautiful Navy Yard showroom, and share how the business has grown and evolved over time.
The COVID-19 crisis has thrust manufacturing into the national spotlight, as the city, state, and nation struggle to procure necessary medical equipment, and companies big and small pivot to produce these critical supplies. How did we get here? What do we still make in NYC? How will manufacturing businesses survive this crisis? We will tackle these and other questions with Adam Friedman, director of the Pratt Center for Community Development. Adam is a renowned expert on urban manufacturing, a board member of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, and the founder of Made in NYC, a support network for local manufacturers created in the wake of another crisis facing New York City, the September 11 attacks.