The Bridge: The Brooklyn Tour Guides Who Know All the Secrets

Tower of Brooklyn Bridge graphic

The Bridge, July 12, 2017

by Emily Nonko

As Brooklyn’s tourism industry heats up, double-decker buses have crossed the river in herds, whirling visitors around Grand Army Plaza and other dramatic sights. But to paraphrase the song from Hamilton, what’d they miss? Lots, according to Brooklyn-based Turnstile Tours, which has made a name for itself with a completely different approach: depth. On a Turnstile Tour of the cavernous Brooklyn Army Terminal, for example, you’ll find out that the massive base was once used as a storage warehouse for alcohol seized during Prohibition. Millions of gallons of booze were dumped into the harbor!

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Naval Cemetery Landscape Opens to Public at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Our friends at the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) achieved a great milestone Friday when they officially opened the Naval Cemetery Landscape at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The beautifully designed 1.7-acre green space is publicly accessible along the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a landscaped bicycle and pedestrian path that, when completed, will run 27 miles from Greenpoint to Jamaica Bay. One of 130 green spaces funded by TKF Foundation’s Open Spaces Sacred Places program, the Naval Cemetery Landscape serves as a remembrance of the site’s rich and poignant history as a once-forgotten military cemetery, while creating a new and vibrant ecological sanctuary where we can all take a moment to escape urban clutter and reflect in nature.>> Continue reading

Well Made, Well Done: Inside Industry with Bien Hecho

We recently had the opportunity to visit a unique business in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that will be a featured tenant on our Inside Industry Tour series, Bien Hecho, a woodworking outfit that specializes in making furniture, millwork, cabinetry, and other custom carpentry from reclaimed and sustainably-sourced wood. Founder John Randall sat down with us to talk about their business making beautiful work, and the Bien Hecho Academy.

Bien Hecho was founded by John nine years ago. Inspired by his travels to Spanish-speaking countries, and his efforts to master the language as an adult, John strives to live up to both meanings of his company’s name – create well-made (hecho bien) projects, and do a job well done (bien hecho). Located inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 3, their workshop is filled with wood and machinery that you won’t find in most of the other shops clustered in this part of the building. With a small team of just two full-time staff and a few part-timers, the company has nevertheless taken on some big and beautiful projects.>> Continue reading

Isabelle Garbani’s “Post-War Blues” Brightens Brooklyn Army Terminal

If you walk the length of the atrium of the Brooklyn Army Terminal’s Building B during this weekend’s Open House New York, you will encounter a remarkable piece of art – Isabelle Garbani’s “Post-War Blues.”

Made up of more than 5,000 hand-crocheted and knitted flowers, the installation cascades from the train car parked on the atrium’s tracks, which once carried freight trains filled with war materiel into the Terminal’s warehouses and onto waiting ships along the Brooklyn waterfront.>> Continue reading

Noah Chesnin of NY Aquarium Joins Brooklyn Waterfront Tour August 22

We are now three weeks in to our Brooklyn Waterfront Past & Present Tour series, and our guest speakers so far have been spectacular. Nate Kensinger was able to recall how almost every inch of the Brooklyn, Greenpoint, and Newtown Creek waterfronts have changed over the 10 years that he has been photographing, filming, and researching New York City’s industrial edges. Emily Manley helped us understand why the Gowanus Canal is so troubled, and how the state, federal, and local regulatory agencies work together to clean up the site, and hopefully there are now a few more readers of the New York Environment Report.

For week three, we are again heading north up the East River and the Newtown Creek with Noah Chesnin, Policy Program Manager for the New York Seascape Program at Coney Island’s New York Aquarium, who will share with us his work in conservation, education, and policy connected to the marine wildlife and habitats of the greater New York region.>> Continue reading

New York Environment Report’s Emily Manley Joins Brooklyn Waterfront Tour August 15

For each of our Brooklyn Waterfront, Past & Present Tours, our guides will be joined by different guest speakers who have worked in some capacity along the New York City waterfront, sharing their perspectives on topics ranging from industry and manufacturing to resiliency planning to marine ecology. For our tour on Saturday, August 15, our guest will be Emily Manley, managing editor of the New York Environment Report. If you can’t make that tour, her NYER colleague Sarah Crean will be joining the tours on September 19 and October 10 (see a complete list of guest speakers).>> Continue reading

Explainer: The Brooklyn Navy Yard and the National Register of Historic Places

Last month, we were so excited to learn that the Brooklyn Navy Yard has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. But this raises an important question: what on earth does this mean, exactly?

Historic preservation often involves a complicated maze of local, state, and federal legal requirements, so we thought we would explain what the National Register is, what the benefits are, and what impact this will have on the Brooklyn Navy Yard. To get a better understanding of the National Register and its implications for the Yard, we spoke to Shani Leibowitz, Senior Vice President of Development and Planning at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, who was a tremendous help.>> Continue reading

Thompson Reuters: Benefit Corporations: Organizing for Multiple Stakeholders

Thompson Reuters Sustainability, May 30, 2014

by Shari Helaine Littan

In the last couple of years, the phrase “sustainability” seems to have touched every aspect of business. With the adoption of “benefit corporation” statutes, even traditional corporate law is evolving to respond to corporate responsibility expectations of an expanding group of stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and taxpayers.

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EcoLogic Solutions Brings Green Cleaning to the Brooklyn Navy Yard

When it comes to so-called “green” products, we usually expect to pay more for something that doesn’t do the job quite as well as its mainstream counterpart. EcoLogic Solutions proves that this kind of thinking is hogwash.

A commercial cleaning products manufacturer based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, they make a full line of commercial-grade, plant-based, wholly biodegradable cleaning products. They simply sweep the floor (and clean and disinfect the surface) with the toxic competition.

CEO Anselm Doering founded EcoLogic after reading a poster in a New York Thruway rest stop restroom stating, “Proud to be cleaned by Lysol.”>> Continue reading

Brooklyn “B-Corps” Offer New Models for Business Success

Today, many of the products we buy are slapped with a dizzying array of certification labels.  You’ve probably seen the USDA certification attached to organic food products, or the Fair Trade label on coffee.  Sustainably-harvested wood has the Forest Stewardship Council’s FSC certification system, and Cradle to Cradle certification covers everything from  raw materials and industrial products to consumer goods and personal care products.  And if you’ve been on a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, you know about the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) rating system and seen beautiful examples of LEED buildings in the Yard, including Building 92, the Perry Building, and even the NYPD Brooklyn tow pound, among others.  Many industries across the world are waking up to the need for stronger ecological and social standards, and third-party certification programs help consumers to navigate the claims of the product, building, or manufacturer in question.>> Continue reading