The Civil War and Prospect Park | Episode 234

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

Did you know that Prospect Park has a piece of Gettysburg’s famed Little Round Top? And one of the oldest statues of Abraham Lincoln in America? While memorials to the Civil War are prominent features of the park, the war itself also shaped its design. ​Co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted spent the war directing the US Sanitary Commission, which provided medical care to the Union Army, and that experience influenced his ideas on public space and public health. On this virtual tour, we will explore the park’s many Civil War connections, from Grand Army Plaza to the Parade Ground.

>> Continue reading

Titanic Homecoming: A Quiet Sea Project with Charlie Deroko | Episode 228

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

In 1998, a 15-ton, 26-foot-by-12-foot section of Titanic’s hull was salvaged from the wreck. Since its raising, this powerful remnant of that ship of near-mythic status has been on exhibit at the MGM Luxor Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. Charlie Deroko, marine surveyor and retired waterfront director for the South Street Seaport Museum, joins us to discuss his project “A Quiet Sea,” which seeks to bring this artifact to New York City to symbolically complete Titanic’s maiden voyage.

>> Continue reading

Race, Riots, and the Right to Learn: Black Education in Antebellum New York | Episode 227

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

The formal education of Black New Yorkers began with the Manumission Society’s African Free Schools, which first opened in 1787. Though the city was at the forefront of Black education, it would take decades to break down barriers to higher education, and schools, students, teachers, and benefactors were under threat of racial violence. This virtual program will examine the early history of Black schools in the city and neighboring Brooklyn, and the impact the evolving political discourse – and violence – around slavery had on them. This discussion will be hosted not in New York, but near the small town of Canaan, New Hampshire, which was the site of a horrific act of racial violence in 1835: the destruction of the Noyes Academy, the first racially-integrated college preparatory school in the country.

>> Continue reading

Housing for All: A History of Social Housing in NYC | Episode 224

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

As we approach New York City’s primary elections on June 22, housing, as always, is a key issue on the ballot. So we are looking back at the history of social housing in New York – not just the city’s vast NYCHA public housing system, but also other forms of government and philanthropic intervention that have tried to tame the beast of unsafe, unsanitary, and unaffordable housing over the past 100+ years. This program will look at examples of model housing designed by social reformers, landmark cooperatives built by labor unions and community groups, the rise of public housing beginning in the 1930s, and public subsidies for private developments. This wide-ranging examination will take us from the Home and Tower Buildings to the First Houses, from Stuy-Town to the housing lottery.

>> Continue reading

Trivia Ahoy! National Maritime Day Celebration | Episode 222

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

On May 22, 1819, Savannah departed its namesake harbor bound for Liverpool on the first transoceanic voyage by a steamship. The mark this historic event, each year we celebrate National Maritime Day to recognize the contributions of the maritime industry and country’s working waterfront. Join us for a an evening of nautical trivia, about New York Harbor and beyond, from the 18th century to the present day. Presented by our maritime mavens Stefan D-W and Andrew Gustafson, we will also be joined by some special waterfront guests.

>> Continue reading

Barnet or Bust: Canals on the Connecticut River | Episode 221

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River cuts through the heart of New England. And for a period of about 40 years, a concerted effort was made to turn the rather wild and narrow river into a transportation superhighway to rival the Hudson. Between 1792 and 1835, seven canals were built to circumvent rapids, with the dream of making the river navigable as far as Barnet, Vermont, 280 miles from the Sound. In this virtual program, Andrew Gustafson, who has paddled most of the river by canoe, will trace the history of engineering and navigation, why the effort ultimately failed, and where this disused infrastructure can still be seen today.

>> Continue reading

Heartlands, Chokepoints, and Conflict Zones: How Geopolitics Maps the World | Episode 212

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

Maps hold the power to organize and explain the world beyond what we can observe with our own eyes, making them extremely powerful political tools. Maps that express a geopolitical vision of how the world works (or should work) have been hugely influential in shaping military strategy, international relations, and public opinion. In this virtual program, our resident political geographer and cartographer Andrew Gustafson will give a crash course on the history of geopolitics as a discipline, using examples of these influential geopolitical imaginings from the past 150 years, from Halford Mackinder’s Heartland to Ronald Reagan’s Chokepoints; Karl Haushofer’s Pan-Regions to George W. Bush’s Axis of Evil.

>> Continue reading

The World in a Box: The 65th Anniversary of Containerized Shipping with Marc Levinson | Episode 211

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

On April 26, 1956 an oil tanker customized to carry standardized metal crates left Port Newark, NJ for Houston, TX, marking the first commercially successful containerized shipment. Over the next 30 years, containerized cargo would come to dominate the shipping industry and create a new global economy. Marc Levinson, author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, joins us to share the story of the shipping container and how it changed the world.

>> Continue reading

The Beatles in NYC with Judy Vannais | Episode 209

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

When the Beatles began their “invasion” of America, New York City was their landing point, and the city would remain the site of many significant milestones in the band members’ careers. Join Beatles expert and museum professional Judy Vannais as she shares stories about the Beatles in New York City and their impact on American music, culture, and society. We virtually visit some of the Beatles’ most significant landmarks, from their arrival and first appearance on American TV, to venues for some of their biggest concerts, to sites of significant events that would impact American business and jurisprudence. So take a break from the “Taxman” and join our discussion!

>> Continue reading

Submarine History of the Brooklyn Navy Yard | Episode 208

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

On National Submarine Day, dive into the undersea history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard! Although no submarines were ever built at the Yard, from the Civil War to the Cold War, it was a critical facility for the development, testing, and outfitting of the US Navy’s submarine fleet, from primitive hand-cranked submersibles to nuclear-powered ballistic missile subs. This program will explore the evolution of submarine technology and critical breakthroughs that were made at the Yard, including the development of diesel engines from captured German U-boats, experimental torpedoes and underwater munitions, and the world’s first satellite-based navigation system.

>> Continue reading