In Episode 23 of Brooklyn Historical Society’s podcast Flatbush + Main, co-hosts Zaheer Ali and Julie Golia revisit Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO to celebrate the opening of its new longterm exhibition, Waterfront.
Segment 1: Histories and Ideas
BHS’s new satellite museum is situated in a historic 19th-century building – the details of which reveal important clues about the Brooklyn waterfront’s working history. Julie and Zaheer analyze the architectural components of the building – from its arched windows and schist walls to the original warehouse machinery BHS features in the new gallery space.
We hope local listeners will visit soon! In the meantime, here are some images of the building.
The winch and original beams shown here were restored thanks to the generosity of American Express.
Segment 2: Into the Archives
Here are some of the documents that Katy Lasdow used to piece together the life of Michael Harkins and his family.
Segment 3: Voices of Brooklyn
Zaheer and Julie listen to an excerpts from the oral histories of Francisco Pratts, Pino Deserio, and Roberta Davenport.
Franciso Pratts came to New York City from Puerto Rico in 1921, and moved shortly thereafter to Brooklyn, where worked as a dockworker on Brooklyn’s ports. You can listen to his full interview on BHS’s Oral History Portal here.
Pino Deserio came to the United States from Italy in 1970, and worked as an electrician’s helper at Todd Shipyards in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, until Todd Shipyards closed and sold the land to IKEA in 2005. You can listen to his full interview on BHS’s Oral History Portal here.
Roberta Davenport grew up in the Farragut Houses, a public housing project near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. An accomplished educator, she would go on to become the principal of P.S. 307, a struggling elementary school located just across the street from Farragut Houses. Under her leadership, the school experienced a complete turn-around. Her oral history is exclusive to the Waterfront exhibition, so to hear more from her and other narrators, please visit BHS DUMBO.