Virtual Harbor Tour with Classic Harbor Line | Episode 191

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Join us for another virtual boat tour, this time aboard a beautiful motor yacht with our friends at Classic Harbor Line. Starting at Chelsea Piers, we will head down the Hudson, past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and around the northern Upper Bay. Along the way, we will discuss the evolution of the skylines on both sides of the river, highlight the maritime history still visible in the landscape, and share insights on the working of the harbor today.

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Pizza On the Go: Pizza Trucks with Scott Wiener | Episode 190

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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.

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A History of Presidential Visits to the Brooklyn Navy Yard | Episode 189

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As the country transitions from one presidential administration to another, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is an instructive historical example, as it was founded amidst the rancorous transition from President John Adams to Thomas Jefferson. Over the next 150 years, more than a dozen sitting US presidents would visit the Yard, and on this Presidents Day virtual program, we will examine many of these presidential visits and their historical and political context. From ship launches to campaign speeches to memorial services, presidents have used the Yard as a backdrop for a variety of official duties. And since the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798, the Navy Yards were some of the largest employers of civilians in the federal government, making them important symbols of federal power, and centers of political patronage.

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Documenting the Gowanus Canal Cleanup with Nathan Kensinger | Episode 188

In late 2020, as part of the long-overdue cleanup of the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, dredging of the toxic sediment began, and photographer, filmmaker, and writer Nathan Kensinger has been there to document it. For more than a decade, Nathan has been recording images and stories of New York City’s waterfront, with a special focus on the industrial landscapes, hidden ecosystems, and environmental challenges of coastal communities. In this conversation, Nathan will show some of his photography and film about the Gowanus and discuss the canal’s environmental history, the cleanup process, and the changing neighborhood around it.

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Downhill Skiing in America: Schussing Through History | Episode 187

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Hit the slopes with us as we explore the history of downhill skiing in the United States. We will look at the introduction of modern skiing by Norwegian immigrants, the evolution of Alpine skiing disciplines and equipment, and the explosion of the sport’s popularity after World War II, thanks to veterans of the famed 10th Mountain Division. We will also look at local connections – though New Yorkers routinely flock to northern resorts, multiple New York City parks once hosted ski hills (including Prospect Park), and today you can ski indoors at the nearby Meadowlands. We will even have guests joining live from slopes at Vermont’s Smugglers Notch and Quechee Ski Area, near where the country’s first ski lift started spinning in 1934.

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Virtual Walking Tour of the Monuments of Manhattan’s Battery | Episode 184

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Over the past four centuries, the Battery at the tip of Manhattan has evolved, from a fortification to immigration station to park to National Monument. On this virtual walking tour, we will take advantage of the sweeping views of the harbor, share the history of Castle Clinton and the park, and explore some of its many monuments. The Battery is in many ways New York City’s World War II memorial, housing the Eastern Sea Frontier Memorial, the Norwegian Veterans Memorial, the haunting American Merchant Mariners’ Memorial, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust.

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Arch Puppets: When Grand Army Plaza Had a Puppet Lending Library | Episode 183

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Join us as we explore one of the most curious chapters in the history of Prospect Park, the four years (2005–2009) during which the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Grand Army Plaza housed a free lending library of puppets! Our guests will be master puppeteers Sara Peattie of the Puppeteers Cooperative and Theresa Linnihan, who operated that puppet library and performance space. The library was forced to move due to the arch’s leaky roof, but now the Prospect Park Alliance is preparing for a major renovation, so we thought this would be the perfect time to talk to the last tenant of the arch! Theresa and Sara will share stories, images, and puppets from this important community resource, which lives on in its current home at Brooklyn College.

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Safe Harbor? New York’s Coastal Defense Forts from the Revolution to Today | Episode 180

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At each of the water passages that lead to New York Harbor – from the Narrows to Hell Gate, Ambrose Channel to the Race – disused forts stand on either shore, once guarding these entrances. In this virtual program, we will explore the history of coastal fortifications in New York from the Revolutionary War to World War II, examining the different eras of fort construction and the technological advancements that drove the changes in these forts’ shape, armament, and role over time. We will also look at how these forts have been repurposed today – as parks, schools, museums, and the last active military base in New York City.

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Hockey History of New York City | Episode 179

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With the National Hockey League scheduled to resume play soon (pandemic permitting), we are looking at the history of hockey in the New York metro area with our resident hockey historian Andrew Gustafson. We will look at high, low, and curious moments in the histories of the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils, but also look the forgotten clubs like the Raiders, Wanderers, and Americans (and how the latter almost moved to Brooklyn), and the many amateur, minor-league, and college clubs that have competed in the region over the past 125 years.

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