Two Scenes of Brooklyn: 19th Century Life on the Waterfront | Episode 16

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Inside the Brooklyn Historical Society’s DUMBO exhibition space are two iconic images of the borough: Francis Guy’s 1820 painting of the small hamlet, and Currier & Ives’ 1879 lithograph of the City of Brooklyn. Led by two of our expert guides, Andrew Gustafson and Stefan Dreisbach-Williams, they will unpack the history of the people and places in these dense images and what they tell us about Brooklyn’s waterfront communities in the nineteenth century.

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USS Edson: From Bath to Brooklyn to Bay City

File to: Shipspotting 

On a quiet stretch of the Saginaw River just outside Bay City, Michigan, the USS Edson sits as a tribute to America’s Cold War destroyer fleet. Built at Maine’s Bath Iron Works in 1958, the Forrest Sherman-class ship was an all-gun destroyer (hull numbers DD), soon to be replaced by guided missile-armed ships (DDG). By the time Edson was retired after 30 years of service, it was the last of the old guard, sporting three 5-inch guns instead of Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles like its modern counterparts.

Today, a 5-inch gun is the largest you will find on any US Navy ship – the battleships and their 16-inchers are long gone – and you will not find a ship with more than one. That is why Edson’s battery earned it an unofficial motto: “Three guns, no waiting.”>> Continue reading

BLDG 92 Visitor and Exhibition Center

A museum exhibit that includes a series of photographs and videos to the right and an exhibit case with commercial products to the left

BLDG 92 is home to the visitor center, museum, and employment center of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and it is the starting point for all of our Brooklyn Navy Yard Tours. Housed inside the 1857 Marine Commandant’s Residence, the “Past, Present, and Future” exhibit spans three floors that explore the history and contemporary development of the Yard. Be sure to also visit the Yard Work gallery, located inside the Brooklyn Roasting Company’s café on the ground floor, which highlights the work of many of the Yard’s current manufacturers, designers, and artists. Admission to the museum is always free, and BLDG 92 offers a host of public programs, and is available for rentals. Please ask us about including a tour of the museum galleries or a room rental for a private group experience.

Corner of Flushing Ave & Carlton Ave // Museum Open Wed–Sun, 12–6pm // More Info

The Perrys of Newport and the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Last week, Cindy and I spent our brief honeymoon in Newport, Rhode Island. Even though we were told to relax, how could we resist not doing a little bit of work while in the hometown of perhaps the most celebrated family in American naval history, the Perrys! We started our trip at the Naval War College Museum, which has many artifacts and exhibits about the famous Perry brothers, Oliver Hazard and Matthew Calbraith.>> Continue reading

USS Iowa: Brooklyn-Built Battleship Lives on in LA

Earlier this year, Cindy and I had the privilege of visiting one of the largest and most decorated ships ever built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the battleship USS Iowa. Launched from the Yard in 1942, for more than a year she has resided in Los Angeles as a fantastic museum ship. Thanks to the wonderful hospitality of the Iowa‘s staff, we got an up-close view of this historic piece of Brooklyn handiwork.

When we arrived at the Iowa last spring, we were greeted by Dave Way, the museum’s curator. Over the course of two days, Dave spent several hours with us showing off the ship’s exhibits and archives, and even taking us around some of the areas of the ship that most visitors don’t get to see. Transforming the Iowa into a museum was a monumental task, and Dave has been part of this project for several years. Along with a core group of volunteers, he spent nine months living ins spartan conditions on board the ship up in the Bay Area, working tens of thousands to fix and clean the mothballed vessel. Once the work was done, the Iowa was then towed down to her berth in San Pedro, where she finally opened to the public on July 4, 2012.>> Continue reading