BWRC joins the Red Hook and Brooklyn communities in mourning the passing of Sunny Balzano, patron of the arts and owner of the beloved Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook. The subject of a recent book, Sunny’s Bar had been long been in the Balzano family, serving food and drink to longshoremen and other waterfront workers for decades before reinventing itself in the 1990s as a speakeasy and haven for artists, musicians, and anyone who happened to stumble across the isolated Red Hook outpost and its endearing, affable owner.
Back in 2013, BWRC was fortunate to have Sunny attend a screening of the film “Sunny’s Renaissance,” directed by Prof. James Reed. The original post from that event follows below.
The warmth of Sunny and his eclectic bar shown through quite palpably in the documentary, which made it all the better when Sunny and his family made an unscheduled appearance at the end to say hello and answer questions.
Thanks to James, Sunny, Tone and many others for such an enjoyable evening with the BWRC!
November 13th, 8:30am at the New York City College of Technology, come hear Neil DeMause speak about how Coney Island has been changing.
Coney Island is in the midst of one of the biggest overhauls in its century-plus history: a redevelopment plan that’s involved over a decade of battles between city officials, amusement operators, developers, local residents, and, at times, protesters wielding amputated mermaid tails. This has been a transformation where much has been gained and lost. What is the future of America’s Playground? And whose vision of that future shapes public policy?
“Once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget.” Brooklyn, however did forget- for a while. After an explosion of interest in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Brooklynites forgot about bikes until later in the twentieth century and now, in the twenty-first century, bikes are ubiquitous in Brooklyn, especially in its rapidly changing waterfront neighborhoods. There are bike lanes and bike paths; bikes are seen as an answer to transportation problems and as a solution for environmental troubles. In a half-day conference sponsored by the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center (BWRC) and the University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) speakers will examine the issues raised by the history and ubiquity of bikes in Brooklyn.
Biking is booming in Brooklyn and we want to know why. On March 22 we will be hosting a half-day conference on the history, culture, and future of biking in our namesake borough. We will talk with local authors, business people, planners and advocates about what is happening on our streets and why it matters to Brooklyn and New York City.
More details to follow – so keep checking back here!
Update (2/19): Location and key speakers announced (see below). Registration to open up soon.
Did you know that any donation given to the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center will go twice as far? Thanks to a generous grant, donations given to the BWRC will be matched, allowing their full value to fund our endowment, while sending another half to our operations. In short, a donation now helps us keep our day-to-day programs like our free Breakfast Talks, Hangout Sessions and Conferences up and running while securing our future as an entity for research and public engagement. Your help is important – the only way to unlock the matching grant is to receive your donations!
Now more than ever the BWRC could use your help. The catastrophe caused by Hurricane Sandy has revealed the vulnerabilities New York faces as it confronts it’s ever changing development. The BWRC operates at the confluence of environment, history, culture and infrastructure along New York’s waterfront – exactly the same issues that Sandy revealed. Rebuilding and recovery will be short shrift without the non-partisan, independent research that the BWRC produces.
Please Donate to the BWRC. Your donations are tax deductible, and eligible for your 2012 tax return if given by December 31, 2012.
Please note that at this time we are utilizing the City Tech Foundation to collect donations. When directed to their web page please select “Brooklyn Waterfront Research” from the Program Designation box to ensure your donation is directed to the BWRC.
Our Breakfast Talk series will continue on December 7! Join us to learn about the fascinating history of coffee on the industrial Brooklyn Waterfront with independent Historian and Curator Steven H. Jaffe.
Coffee in New York is big business. From its processing to its consumption, the Brooklyn waterfront has always played a significant role. At this “Coffee Talk” we will learn about the unique history of Brooklyn and New York in the coffee trade, as well as coffee’s own rise, fall, and resurgence as a drink of choice.
Update: Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the November 9th Breakfast talk has been postponed. A new date has not yet been assigned.
It’s been a while since we’ve updated this page, so it’s time to let you know what we’ve been up to.
First off a hearty thanks to Brendan O’Malley who worked as Project Coordinator and maintained this site through last semester. Brendan helped get the BWRC off the ground in its first year and has set the bar for a lot of the excellent programming we have planned.
In September BWRC has helped sponsor the exhibit “Brooklyn Underwater” at Kingsborough Community College. The exhibit is an artistic documentation of Brooklyn sites that will be effected by sea level rise. Many of these places are heavily developed. See for example this stunning photo by Robin Michals:
Looking to the future, keep an eye out for more information on our upcoming Breakfast Talk, or should I say Coffee Talk. On November 9th we will be continuing our popular Breakfast Talk series with a discussion on Coffee and the Brooklyn Waterfront: Its History, Decline, Return. If you want more details or would like to reserve your space early keep an eye on our RSVP page.