Calyo’s New York: Vistas and Vendors of the mid-1800s | Episode 251

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In 1835, Naples-born painter Nicolino Calyo arrived in New York, and over the next 20 years, he produced a body of work that captured both the grandeur and minutia of city life. An experienced landscape painter, one of his first works was also one of the grandest—a series of paintings of the great fire of December 16–17, 1835, which would build his fame in America and lead to a number of touring exhibitions, including large-scale panoramas, a popular entertainment of the era. He also produced over 100 paintings of street vendors, and invaluable catalogue of the sidewalk economy of 1840s New York. In this virtual program, we will discuss Calyo’s life and career, and examine some of his most notable works, large and small.

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

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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.

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Ship Spotting at the Brooklyn Navy Yard | BCAP at Home

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New York Harbor is bustling with boats every day, making it perfect for ship spotting, a hobby that involves seeing, learning about, and tracking ships as they come and go. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a great place to see all kinds of ships, including ferries, fireboats, tugboats, and even oyster tenders! During this program, our expert ship spotting guide will share some tips and tools to help us learn more about the boats we see in the harbor. We’ll also visit with a NYC Ferry captain who will show us around the wheelhouse and the controls they use to operate the boat each day.

This free family virtual program is part of Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program.

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Virtual Walk of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Perimeter | Episode 204

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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.

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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

Adams, Jefferson, and the Unlikely Founding of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Two hundred and thirteen years ago today, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was founded, the last of the six original shipyards established by the US Navy. Today we celebrate the yard’s history of shipbuilding and innovation, and its continued importance to the economy of Brooklyn as an industrial park, but it almost never existed. Its founding in 1801 was rife with controversy, and around it swirled one of the central political battles of the early American republic. Today the Navy is one of the cornerstones of American power – possessing 10 of the world’s 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and more than one-third of all the naval tonnage in the world, the US Navy is 3.5 times the size of its nearest competitors, China and Russia. But at the end of the 18th century, the American navy was small and, at times, a non-existent force. While it achieved some notable victories in the Revolutionary War over a far superior British adversary, by 1785, economic constraints forced the nascent republic to sell off the last of its warships.>> Continue reading