The New Coney Island: Who gains, who loses? Breakfast Talk on Nov. 13th

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?

DeMause is a contributing editor for City Limits magazine, a frequent contributor to the Village Voice, and a former op-ed columnist for Metro New York. He is co-author of “Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit” (University of Nebraska, 2008) and is currently at work on “The Brooklyn Wars,” scheduled for publication in early 2016. You can find him on Twitter @neildemause.

The event is Free and Open to the Public. However, Reservation strongly encouraged.


November 13th, 2015 – 8:30am

New York City College of Technology
Namm Building, Room 119
300 Jay St, Brooklyn NY


Historian David Herlihy Speaks on Bikes and Coney Island

The historian, David Herlihy, came to the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center on October 8. 2015 to present his recent research on the biking craze that hit Coney Island in the 1880s and lasted into the 1930s.  His presentation touched upon the first organized bike ride to Coney Island and the building of America’s first bicycle path which was built along Ocean Parkway and led to Coney Island.  He also recounted the exploits of racers in Coney Island’s velodromes and the Boardwalk act of “Bikers in a Basket.”

For his presentation, Mr. Herlihy was presented with a framed photograph of the Coney Island Boardwalk at dawn, shot by the BWRC staff photographer, Professor Robin Michals.

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Riding and Racing: Bikes at Coney Island (1880-1930)

Courtesy of the Pryor Dodge Collection

Cycling along the Boardwalk at Coney Island is not new. In the 1880s, Coney Island was a frequent destination for club-oriented, high-wheel riders from New York City. During the great bicycle boom of the 1890s, Coney Island hosted numerous amateur and professional races. A velodrome (a type of bicycle race track) continued to flourish there into the 1930s. At about that time, adult recreational cycling enjoyed a major comeback, and Coney Island once again became a haven for recreational cyclists. Come learn about this fantastic period in Brooklyn history!
Come learn about this fantastic period in Brooklyn history!

RSVP here. Free!

Friday, October 9, 2015. 8:30am
New York City College of Technology
300 Jay St – Namm 119


BWRC Breakfast Talk on Stormwater Infrastructure on the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway is May 8

The next BWRC Breakfast Talk will be on Friday, May 8th from 8:30am to 10:00am with Milton Puryear speaking about:

Capturing Stormwater Runoff Along the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway

  • Can resiliency and recreation mix?
  • Can the new Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway help protect Brooklyn from the next Sandy?
  • Can the new greenway contribute to a cleaner harbor?

The answer to each is yes! Come learn about the recently released The Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Stormwater Management Plan that details how the building of stormwater infrastructure during the construction of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway can contribute to protecting the waterfront from coastal flooding as occured during Superstorm Sandy.

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Speaking will be Milton Puryear co-founder of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.



Eymund Diegel Discusses CSI on the Gowanus Canal

On February 27, 2015 urban planner and citizen scientist Eymund Diegel of the Public Lab gave an insightful breakfast talk on the various CSI techniques and tools he’s used to map and record the environmental history of his neighborhood including the Gowanus Canal. Diegel showed the various rudimentary tools he uses in his research from inexpensive cameras mounted on kites and balloons to using microphones to listen to the sounds of New York City sewer’s and sense where former steams once ran. The data he’s collected has been used to map a range of features from underground and still bubbling springs in and near the canal to finding the sources of various creeks who’s headwaters are in the canal and finding their sources in Prospect Park. Overall Eymund showcased the important work the Public Lab is doing to help the efforts to understand the ecological history of the Gowanus Canal.

If you missed his talk, download his Presentation with insightful notes on what he discussed. (Warning: Large PowerPoint File).

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Breakfast Talk (2/27) CSI on the Waterfront

The first BWRC Breakfast Talk of 2015 is with Eymund Diegel on Friday, February 27 at Citytech in A632 from 8:30am to 10:00am:

on the Waterfront

Urban planner and citizen-scientist Eymund Diegel has used kites, helium-filled balloons, and inexpensive cameras for the aerial photography that has helped him chart the environmental history of the land and the people of his neighborhood along the Brooklyn waterfront.

Diegel is a board member of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab), a loosely organized community that practices “civic science.” He will speak about some of his discoveries, the tools that were employed to make them, and the way these discoveries can be used to improve the environmental conditions of his Gowanus neighborhood.

Support provided by Title V: A Living Laboratory


Walking New York City’s Waterfront Neighborhoods

Prof. William Helmreich gave the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center a colorful breakfast talk on his experience walking all 6,000 miles of New York City streets that he recorded in his book, The New York Nobody Knows. After he described his travels throughout the city, Prof. Helmreich told stories about his walks along the Brooklyn waterfront. His next book will have him revisiting the streets of Brooklyn for a book tentatively titled The Brooklyn Nobody Knows.

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Tarry Hum Discusses Global Immigration and Development in Sunset Park

On October 24, 2014, Professor Tarry Hum gave a BWRC Breakfast Talk discussing Power Plants, Sex Shops, Industrial Zones, and Open Space: The Politics of a Sustainable Working Waterfront. This talk discussed how globalization has affected the jobs, buildings and people in the neighborhood. This has included the infusion of capital from China to the increasing number of residents from China and Mexico. Also, she detailed how the re-development of Times Square by global corporations resulted in the relocation of the ‘seedier’ Times Square enterprises to industrial sections of Sunset Park. Professor Hum explained how Sunset Park remains one of the contested neighborhoods along the fast developing Brooklyn Waterfront.

Here are some photos:

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Walking New York City’s Waterfront Neighborhoods Breakfast Talk is 11/14

The next BWRC breakfast talk with William Helmreich is on Friday, November 14th at CityTech in Namm 119:

Walking New York City’s Waterfront Neighborhoods


Sociologist William B. Helmreich walked virtually every block of all five boroughs – an astonishing 6,000 miles. His epic journey is the focus of his latest book The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City. This journey lasted four years and took him to every corner of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. The walk included the waterfront communities of all five boroughs. We asked Prof. Helmreich, as a pedestrian, did he find something distinctly “Brooklyn” about Brooklyn’s waterfront communities – and what was it? Come hear his answer.

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Photo: Neville Elder

William B. Helmreich is professor of sociology at the City University Graduate Center (CUNY) and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York. His many books include What Was I Thinking? The Dumb Things We Do and How to Avoid Them. He is a native New Yorker.