Permits and Precarity: Navigating NYC’s Street Vending Regulations | Episode 155

Street vendors rally on the steps of city hall with signs that read I love immigrant NY and Support NYC smallest businesses and Help us to serve you

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Due to the precarious nature of their business, New York City street vendors’ livelihoods are dependent on knowing and exercising their rights. In this virtual program, we will look at examples that illustrate how vendors navigate the city’s legal and regulatory environment, including the complex permitting process. We also examine how street vendors have engaged, historically and today, with the political process through collective action and advocacy, and explore how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting vendors and the industry as a whole in the current moment.

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Potatoes: Digging in the Dirt with Agronomist Bob Leiby | Virtual Program | Episode 154

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Potatoes are a staple of the American diet, and a lot of them grow within commuting distance of New York City. On this program, we will connect with Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, where Bob Leiby, an agronomist for the Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers, joins us to discuss what goes into producing potatoes, the challenges of climate change, and new potato varieties and farming techniques under development to meet the challenges of today and the future. Bob Leiby spent his lifetime studying potatoes, raising his first crop as a 10-year-old 4-H member. He received his BS in Agronomy from Delaware Valley College and his Master’s from Penn State studying population dynamics of the Colorado Potato Beetle. He worked for Penn State Extension as a County Agricultural Agent for 36 years. At Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers, he continues to test new potato varieties and growing techniques, and he has also traveled to China and Kyrgyzstan to work on potato issues.

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Breuckelen: Stories of Brooklyn’s Dutch History and Heritage | Episode 148

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In 1636, the first European settler, Willem Adriaensen Benet, was granted title to land in what is today Brooklyn. Though Dutch rule over the colony would last only 30 years, Dutch culture and language would persist in Brooklyn for well over 200 years. In this conversation with journalist and amateur genealogist Sarah Crean, who worked as a researcher for the Brooklyn Historical Society (now the Center for Brooklyn History) and has written extensively about Brooklyn’s history for Bklyner, we will examine some of this landmarks and institutions where the legacy of Brooklyn’s Dutch heritage can still be seen today.

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Supercarrier Day: Naval Aviation in New York Harbor | Episode 147

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By sheer coincidence, October 8 marks the launching USS Saratoga (1955) and USS Constellation (1960), two of the largest ships ever built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is why we’ve dubbed it “Supercarrier Day.” Aircraft carriers were once a common sight in New York Harbor, as they were built, repaired, and modernized in local shipyards, or they visited for fleet reviews or R&R, but it has been more than 15 years since a carrier visited the city. In this virtual program, we’ll look at important moments in the 100-year history of naval aviation in the region, including early experiments in carrier design, significant carriers of World War II, adapting carriers to the Jet Age, and why no nuclear-powered carriers have ever visited NYC.

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How to Take a Walk in an Era of Social Distancing with Photographer Sean Carroll | Episode 144

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In the height of the pandemic, artist Sean Carroll drew inspiration from his street and neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to create How to Take a Walk in an Era of Social Distancing: A Step-by-Step Guide, a multimedia project aimed at documenting his and his family’s daily activities as a way to approach daily life in this new reality with, “clarity, empathy, and humor.” As a professional photographer and former tour guide, Sean will share stories and insights from this ongoing project and will use the guide as a leaping off point to highlight how Pittsburgh’s geography, topography, and history have affected the development of the region, and ultimately what led him, his wife, and children to live in Pittsburgh and specifically on the block where they live. Sean Carroll is an artist using photography and video raised in coastal Massachusetts, now living in Pittsburgh. He received an MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he lived for many years, and teaches within the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

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How It’s Well Made: Woodworking with Bien Hecho | Episode 139

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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.

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Exploring Chinese Medicinal Herbs in Your Backyard | Episode 132

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Ever since she was a little girl growing up in China’s Hubei Province, Gina Gao has been collecting medicinal herbs, inspired by family traditions and by growing up in the same small town as Li Shizhen, a renowned 16th-century physician and botanist. Each month, she will host a virtual program to show some of the herbs that might be growing in your backyard right here in NYC, share how to dry and prepare them, and discuss their histories and uses in traditional Chinese medicine. In this first program, Gina will tell us about the medicinal properties, preparation and use of mugwort, a valuable and cultivated plant in China that is considered a troublesome invasive plant in New York.

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From Arizona to Missouri: Bookends of World War II | Episode 130

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To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, we are looking back at the remarkable careers of the ships where the war began and ended for the United State, both built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. USS Arizona was built in 1916, and 25 years later, it was destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 1,177 aboard and drawing the US into the war. In 1944, USS Missouri slid off the ways in Brooklyn, and it would become the site of the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on Sep. 2, 1945. We will share stories of the ships’ construction and service, and our experiences visiting both, sitting side by side today, one afloat and one at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i.

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Battle of Brooklyn: Revolutionary War Sites of Prospect Park | Episode 128

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To celebrate Brooklyn’s Battle Day, we’re taking a virtual walk through Prospect Park to follow the battle lines of the largest battle of the Revolutionary War. We will see see where American forces tried unsuccessfully to stop the British advance at Battle Pass, follow the path some used to escape to join the main battle in Gowanus, and visit the many Revolutionary War monuments in the park, including Daniel Chester French’s sculpture to the Marquis de Lafayette and Stanford White’s memorial to the 1st Maryland Regiment.

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Images d’Épinal: Paper Models from the Turn of the Century | Episode 127

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Papercraft modeling and dolls are as old as paper, but the art form exploded in the 19th century with new innovations in printing technology, and tiny French city of Épinal became one of the global centers of printmaking. During the pandemic, papercraft modeling has been a welcome respite, and we have found countless Épinal prints available online and through Épinal’s Musée de L’Image. In this virtual program, we will examine (and assemble) some of our favorite models, including landmarks of French architecture, notable ships, and scenes from World War I. To provide historical context, we will be joined by Dr. Raisa Rexer, Assistant Professor of French at Vanderbilt University and an expert on 19th century French art and photography.

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