Food manufacturing has been a cornerstone of Brooklyn’s manufacturing economy for 150 years. Not only was the borough was home to some of the largest chocolate and confectionary makers in the country, but its port brought the tropical ingredients from around the globe. We will discuss some of the large and small chocolate makers that dotted Brooklyn’s landscape, the men and women who worked in them, and the transformations brought to the industry by mechanization, unionization, and war. We will also look at some of the artisanal chocolate makers that are keeping the confectionary traditions alive today.
February 23 marks 220 years since the founding of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but 2021 also marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the non-profit organization that manages the city-owned industrial park. In this birthday celebration, we will look back at the decades-long transformation of the Yard from a military shipbuilding installation into a dynamic and diverse hub of manufacturing, technology, design, and opportunity that hosts more than 500 businesses and 11,000 good-paying jobs. We will be joined by staff from BNYDC, who will share new projects and initiatives, insights on the growth of the Yard in recent years, and how the businesses have navigated the pandemic.
We are teaming up with our friend and renowned pizza expert Scott Wiener from Scott’s Pizza Tours to explore the world of mobile pizza and discuss the history and culture of pizza on the street with some special guests. We will be joined by Ernie Wong of Shanghai Mobile Kitchen Solutions, one of the city’s leading fabricators of food carts and trucks, who will teach us about what goes into building and operating a pizza oven on wheels in New York City.
Since 2003, IceStone has been manufacturing countertops in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Made from 100% recycled glass, cement, and pigment, their unique designs and innovative production process have made IceStone a leading company in sustainable manufacturing. On this virtual tour, we will explore their products and process with Marketing Director Ashon McCollin, who will walk us through their factory, discuss commercial and residential projects they have worked on, and highlight the company’s initiatives to support the environment and their workers, which have made them a Certified B Corporation and a leader in the social enterprise movement.
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.
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.
In this special Made in NYC Week program, learn how New York City’s makers and manufacturers are advancing inclusion of people with disabilities through adaptive design and employment practices. In this panel discussion, we will speak with the Adaptive Design Association, which creates adaptations of expensive and non-custom commercial products for people with disabilities; learn about Adapt Ability, a new nonprofit that specializes in affordable solutions for adaptive bicycling; and take a behind-the-scenes look at Undercare’s adaptive clothing for people with mobility challenges with CEO and Founder Susanne Leary Shoemaker. In celebration of Disability Employment Awareness Month, we will also be joined by Karen Waltuck, JobPath’s Director of the Consortium of Customized Employment, to learn how a network of 13 agencies are working together to create more integrated and competitive work environments for manufacturers and other sectors through customized employment programs for people with developmental disabilities. This program will be hosted by Turnstile Tours’ President Cindy VandenBosch, who is an accessibility professional in the museum and tourism fields.
Celebrate National Manufacturing Day by visiting one of the centers of industry in New York City, the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Located in Sunset Park, the Brooklyn Army Terminal is home to over 100 companies, ranging from food to precision machining, fashion to biotechnology. On this virtual tour, we visit with Makerspace NYC, Lee Spring, and Norwegian Baked to learn about their businesses and production process, why they manufacture in New York City, and how they have weathered the pandemic and supported the city’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical medical supplies. This program is hosted in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
As New Yorkers are riding their bicycles more than ever, new Brooklyn-based nonprofit Adapt Ability 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 (check out his blog On Foot, On Wheels) in Prospect Park to see the trike he uses from AdaptAbility in action and to hear about his experience transitioning to adaptive cycling.
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.