Tide Mills: Green Energy from the Colonial Era | Episode 239

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

In colonial New York, reliable power came from muscles (human and animal), firewood, and tides. From Spuyten Duyvil to Marine Park, Wallabout Bay to Flushing Bay, settlers turned many tidal marshes across New York’s vast estuary into millponds to run machinery as the water ebbed. In this virtual program, Brad Vogel of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and the Tide Mill Institute will share examples of this green energy from the past.

>> Continue reading

Battle of Brooklyn: Revolutionary War Sites of Prospect Park | Episode 238

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

To celebrate Brooklyn Battle Week, take a virtual walk through Prospect Park and follow the battle lines of the largest engagement 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.

>> Continue reading

Virtual Walk of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Perimeter | Episode 204

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

Explore the neighborhoods surrounding the Brooklyn Navy Yard, including Vinegar Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Williamsburg, on this walk around the Yard’s long perimeter. We will explore connections between the Yard and the surrounding communities, including a peek at the landmark Commandant’s House, the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Fort Greene Park, and other buildings that provided housing for Yard workers and produced components for the shipyard. We will also explore some of the public areas of the Yard, including Building 77, the Admirals Row site, and the Naval Cemetery Landscape. Follow along with our map guide created for Open House New York Weekend 2020.

>> Continue reading

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

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

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.

>> Continue reading

Dredging the Past and Present of the Gowanus Canal | Episode 31

PAST PROGRAM | Upcoming Programs | Become a Member

Best known today for its pollution and gentrification, the Gowanus Canal is an historic waterway that has seen war, industry, innovation, and reinvention play out along its banks. We will speak with poet, preservationist, and paddler Brad Vogel, captain of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and executive director of the New York Preservation Archive, about the history of the Gowanus Canal over the past 300 years, as well as initiatives today to help the Gowanus small business community weather the current crisis.

>> Continue reading

Immigrants Who Made the Brooklyn Navy Yard Great: John Barry

This post is part of our eight-part series profiling immigrants to the United States who made significant contributions to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the eighteenth century to the present day.


John Barry (1745–1803)

Born in Ireland’s southeast County Wexford, John Barry grew up with an abiding hatred for the English. When he was 12, his Catholic family was dispossessed of their land by an English landlord, forcing them to live with family nearby and beginning a period of immense hardship for the family. Barry began apprenticing on his uncle’s fishing vessel, learning the trade of the sea, and at 15 he left Ireland for the Americas, eventually settling in Philadelphia. His career was remarkably successful, as he became master (captain) of a small merchant vessel at just 21 and was the trusted master for one of Philadelphia’s most prominent shipowners, John Nixon. When war broke out and the Continental Navy was formed, Barry became the first commissioned captain to command an American naval vessel, taking on the 14-gun USS Lexington on December 17, 1775.>> Continue reading

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