Shop Talk with Brooklyn Makers: Tina, the fearless lady behind TATTLY


If you think temporary tattoos are just for kids, then you haven’t discovered Tattly yet, the Brooklyn-grown company that specializes in creating temporary tattoos even adults want to wear – everyone from Brooklyn hipsters to hip grandmas. And in addition to being a Brooklyn company, Tattly also supports artists! They employ artists from all over the globe to design tattoos which ranging from vegetables to comic book characters. Today we catch up with Tina, the fearless lady behind Tattly who took a design challenge and made it into over 100 amazing temporary solutions.

What’s the story behind how you developed your product?    

In the spring of 2011 my daughter came home from a birthday party with hideous, badly produced temporary tattoos. They were a complete insult to my Swiss aesthetics. I decided to do something about it and reached out to my illustrator friends to see if they’d like to come up with some designs. Two months later I launched and we were in business.

Tell us a little about yourself…          

My name is Tina Roth Eisenberg. I am a Swiss born and trained graphic designer. I moved to NYC in 1999 for a three-month internship and fell in love with the city. I have since started several side projects that have turned into businesses, one of them being Tattly, my temporary tattoo company.  All of my projects, such as Tattly, have originated out of my personal rule that when I find myself complaining about something repeatedly, I have to either do something about or let it go. I believe that the best way to complain is to make things.

What do you make?

At Tattly we produce and distribute temporary tattoos designed by well-known illustrators and artists. The tattoos are printed in the US and we ship everything out of DUMBO Brooklyn. For every sale, the artist gets a generous cut.

How long have you been at it?

We’ve just celebrated our third birthday!

Walk us through a typical day…                                                                                    

After my husband and I drop our kids off at school, I come to the office. I run a co-working space in DUMBO called Studiomates, right on the East River. I love coming to work and seeing the boats go by. Then I check in with Tattly, and after that, with CreativeMornings, a breakfast lecture series that I started 6 years ago here in DUMBO. (We are now in 87 cities around the world.) After meeting with my teams, I usually tend to my overflowing inbox. And my favorite part of my day is lunch with my studiomates. I usually walk home around 6pm and am welcomed by my smiling, hugging children.

What art or design currently inspires you?                                                                    

Life inspires me. I am a curious person, and living in NYC is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever done. There is so much to see and experience.

How has the city inspired what you make, and how you make it?                  

The people of the city are what make this such a wonderful place to live. It’s this collective   hustler energy, the doer mentality, that makes NYC so special.

What is your favorite NYC museum? Why?                                                                    

I would say it’s the NYC Transit Museum on Boerum Place. I have spent many rainy Sunday afternoons in there with my kids. It feels like time travel when you walk through the old subway cars in the station.

What is your favorite part of Brooklyn and why?                                                    

Our rooftop. We live in a new construction on Schermerhorn and I often have a glass of wine on the rooftop. We can see all around Brooklyn.

If not creating what would you be doing?                                                                        

I would never not create. Never.

 For more information on Tattly products,  you can visit our gift shop open daily from 12pm to 5pm or check out their website,


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Photo of the Week: Bathing in Brooklyn


Free Floating Baths, ca. 1910, v1973.4.490; Postcard collection, v1973.4; Brooklyn Historical Society

Free public pools for summer swimming and splashing are one of the pleasures of life in Brooklyn today, but perhaps not for Brooklynites living a century ago. I was at first confused, and then horrified when I realized that the building shown in this postcard from circa 1910 is a city bath in the river, near the mouth of the Gowanus Canal.  These “floating baths” were built on pontoons in the Hudson and East rivers in the late 1800s. The NYC Department of Parks writes that the city began closing floating baths beginning in the 1920s after noticing “environmental degradation,” but there were still floating baths in use through the late 1930s.[i] A report in 1906 from the Citizens Union of New York City describes the degradation more bluntly as “contamination of the water with sewage,” but also notes that even with these conditions, there were still 20 floating baths in the city in 1906 – five in Brooklyn – servicing an estimated one million bathers in Brooklyn and two million in Manhattan.[ii]  A more hygienic version of the floating bath was resurrected in 2007 with the Floating Pool Lady – a pool built on a floating barge and not actually in the river.[iii] While I wouldn’t go near a public pool filled with Gowanus Canal water, the public pools of today are a different story. If you haven’t been swimming yet this summer, there are 15 outdoor, comfortably clean city pools in Brooklyn for you to visit while the weather is still nice.


Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our new website here.  To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. To leave a comment, email:


Author: Halley Choiniere


[ii] The Bureau of City Betterment of the Citizens Union of the City of New York, How Manhattan is Governed: Illustrated with 58 Photographs and Drawings, Citizens Union: New York, 1906, p116.

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Brooklyn Bounty 2014: Delaware and Hudson

Excitement is in the air for Brooklyn Bounty, Brooklyn Historical Society’s premier tasting benefit this fall! On October 22, at the impressive 26 Bridge Street in DUMBO, guests will treat their palates to tastings from Brooklyn’s finest chefs and restaurants. With this year’s theme, “Kings County Agricultural Fair,” we celebrate Brooklyn’s vibrant sustainability movement with delicious and exciting samples from all across the borough. In the next few months leading up to the event, to whet our appetites for what’s to come we will profile several of the participating restaurants, as well as feature the prolific careers of our awardees. For tickets to Brooklyn Bounty or to participate, please visit our site.

Delaware and Hudson: A Delicious, Feel Good Choice

D&H Patti original

Chef Patti Jackson in front of her restaurant.

Delaware and Hudson, a new hit restaurant in Williamsburg, is an essential choice for an event like Brooklyn Bounty, celebrating Brooklyn’s burgeoning sustainability movement. Open since May 1, 2014, chef and restaurateur Patti Jackson brings over 30 years of culinary expertise to the table. Being a chef is ingrained in Patti, and visiting her in her element at the restaurant shows her passion and dedication to food. She is still a small town, Pennsylvania cook at heart, who has never lost her roots in simple, homegrown food. Her 38-seat restaurant is a warm and inviting place. Photographs taken by her husband of farms and fields hang on the walls and set the stage for the locally-sourced, creative, and inspired meal you will enjoy there.

Patti often starts her day with a visit to the farmer’s market, usually at Union Square or Borough Hall. A true food lover, she refers to perusing ingredients as “therapy time,” a time she can focus on concocting dishes and letting her creativity begin to flow. Based on what she finds and the inspirations that follow, she begins to craft a menu for the coming days. When I visited, she had picked up some green coriander seed, a unique flavor that was new to me. She began describing the many ideas she had for using this flavor, and I was fortunate enough to have a little taste.

D&H green coriander seed

Green Coriander Seed, fresh from the farmers market.

D&H Plated food

Green coriander seed as a dressing and garnish on a roasted and pickled beet salad.

Patti is creatively passionate about her cooking, but she is also a pragmatic environmental food steward. Sustainability is a popular movement these days, and consumers are bombarded with a whole host of terms meant to validate their food choices as environmentally friendly. But like many food-conscious people, Patti cringes at terms that have become generic, such as “farm to table,” “organic,” and “sustainable.” She points out that often


these terms are used with little value. “A farm can be in Iowa and the table can be in Brooklyn, and you could call it ‘farm to table.’”

Patti also points out that it costs farmers a hefty price to certify their farms as organic, a cost that can often be prohibitive for small-scale farmers, and yet their produce is a better choice than a corporate organic enterprise. So Patti primarily obtains her ingredients from small family-run farms with whom she builds relationships over time; she knows they are making responsible choices, despite the fact that they cannot be certified “organic.” She limits her ingredients to what can be found from Buffalo to Baltimore, while staying as close to home as possible. Her creativity produces endless results, making her food not only guilt-free, but exciting and delicious.

D&H seating

Delaware and Hudson, 135 N. 5th in Williamsburg

Luckily for all Brooklyn Bounty attendees, Patti’s fall creations will be on display for all to enjoy. Expect to see fresh, seasonal ingredients from Delaware and Hudson with unique but simple flavors, with a variety of local purveyors represented.

Purchase your Brooklyn Bounty 2014 tickets today!

Author: Avi Scher, Development Intern

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On Vaccinations and the Small Pox epidemic of 1894

small pox illustration

Brooklyn Life, March 1894.

This is the latest in a series of posts on the records of Brooklyn’s Corporation Counsel, which are currently being processed with funding provided by a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) “Hidden Collections” grant.

The U. S. Supreme Court recently upheld New York City’s policy of preventing unvaccinated students from attending public schools while another student has a vaccine-preventable disease. This is just the latest in long line of judicial decisions which addresses the limits of government control over the health of the individual. Over one hundred years ago, during a smallpox epidemic which ravaged the city, the very same situation was addressed in the courts of Brooklyn. The city’s Department of Health was determined to actively control the spread of the disease, often coming into conflict with those citizens whom they were trying to protect.

Prior to the development of a vaccine, smallpox was one of the most feared diseases on the planet – it was extremely contagious, and had killed and disfigured millions since ancient times. The first traditional vaccine was developed in England in the late 18th century, and by 1800 it was introduced to the United States. While the vaccine was highly effective at reducing the spread of the disease, from the beginning there was resistance to state imposed vaccination programs. Laws varied from region to region.  In Europe, Germany and England had made vaccination compulsory. Massachusetts introduced the first mandatory vaccination policy in the U.S. In New York, there were no compulsory vaccination laws, excepting children who attended public schools.[i]

Small Pox NYT

New York Times, 24 March 1894.

In 1892, about 20 years since the last epidemic, small pox returned to Brooklyn. At first the cases remained isolated. Then, from December 1893 to February 1894, there were about 70 newly diagnosed cases a month. By March of 1894 the number of infections had increased to 150. Brooklyn’s Department of Health, led by Dr. Z. Taylor Emery, decided it was time to take action. The department operated under the premise that the masses (i.e. the poor, but also business owners and landlords), “needed the guidance of enlightened and scientifically trained professionals to ensure the public good.”[ii] To that end, they began a policy of vaccination and quarantine that sometimes overstepped the bounds of New York law.

The department’s strategy of vaccination and quarantine was something akin to the military tactic of “shock and awe.” The 1894 annual report of the Department of Health describes the typical response to a reported case of smallpox: “As occupants of infected houses were sometimes known to escape therefrom to other parts of the city, before the removal of the patient, it was found necessary to put a police quarantine on the house pending arrival of the ambulance, the disinfection of the premises, and vaccination of the inmates. As soon as precautions were complied with, quarantine was raised, so as to inconvenience the occupant as little as possible.” As you can imagine, many residents found the process to be somewhat more severe than a mere inconvenience, as they were essentially placed under house arrest while their clothes, beddings, and other household goods which might be harboring the disease were destroyed.[iii]

Kingston Ave. Hospital disinfecting station.

Kingston Ave. Hospital disinfecting station. Annual Report of the Department of Health of the City of Brooklyn, 1894.

Sometimes the afflicted were allowed to convalesce at home, but more often than not they were sent to the Kingston Avenue Hospital, also known as the Contagious Disease Hospital, in Flatbush (the hospital was located at Kingston Ave. and Fenimore St., today the site of the High School for Public Service). The hospital was soon filled to capacity, and tents were erected to house even more patients. Naturally, local residents were alarmed by the influx of disease carriers. The hospital was threatened with arson, and soon guards were stationed on the premises to protect both the patients and staff.[iv]

The city was pro-active in its vaccination efforts. Over two dozen free vaccination clinics were set up across the city. A team of vaccinators was sent to the 27th Ward (Bushwick), where a large German population (which was largely resistant to vaccinations) resided. The city focused on areas where large groups of people congregated, specifically schools, factories, and lodging houses. In one day, 2,000 workers were vaccinated at the Havenmeyer & Elder sugar refinery alone. [v]

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 26 March 1894.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 26 March 1894.

When a new case of smallpox was reported, not only was the entire household vaccinated on the spot, but teams would canvass all surrounding residences to prevent the spread of the disease.  While the health department was not empowered to coerce the vaccination of citizens, they used quarantines (which were allowed by New York state law to prevent the spread of disease) to strong arm anyone who resisted. Quarantined homes were marked with a yellow flag, and policemen were stationed outside to prevent anyone was entering or leaving the home. Sometimes even food deliveries were prevented from entering the quarantined homes.[vi]

The policies of Brooklyn’s Department of Health led to a number of legal problems for the city, and there are several cases related to the epidemic in the records of Brooklyn’s Corporation Counsel.

Mary A. Ferrer sued the city for false imprisonment.  She claimed to be misdiagnosed with small pox (while actually suffering from malaria), and was held at the Kingston Avenue Hospital for a week, all the while being exposed to the deadly disease.[vii]

small pox testimony

Testimony of John Salmon. Salmon, John – Vaccination injury, 1894. Brooklyn, N.Y., Department of Law, Corporation Counsel records, 2013.015; Brooklyn Historical Society

John Salmon sued for injuries received as a result of his vaccination. According to the plaintiff, a health department official came to his home and asked if he was vaccinated. When Salmon indicated that he was not, the health official falsely declared that the vaccination was mandatory, and Salmon reluctantly submitted. Three days later his skin began to blister all over his body and he was confined to a hospital for three months.[viii]

Robert W. Goggin filed suit against city for the deaths of both his wife and daughter.  He claimed that city failed to remove a small pox carrier from his apartment building, and as a result his wife and two children contracted the disease and were quarantined at the hospital. His wife soon died, and his daughter, who was later sent to the Home for Destitute Children, died of measles and pneumonia.[ix]

N.Y. state law regarding vaccination and public schools.

N.Y. state law regarding vaccination and public schools. Scrimshaw, Frederick and Charles A. Walters – Public school admittance and vaccination disputes, 1894-1895. Brooklyn, N.Y., Department of Law, Corporation Counsel records, 2013.015; Brooklyn Historical Society

The most significant legal case found in the collection involves the vaccination of school children. In 1893, the New York state legislature passed an act to provide for the compulsory education of children, which also allowed school boards to appoint physicians to vaccinate students. Children were inspected for vaccination scars by the physicians, and any student who was suspected of being unvaccinated was prevented from attending public school.

This practice was challenged by the Kings County Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League, which was led by Dr. Charles A. Walters. He argued that the city had no right to exclude unvaccinated children from public schools. The case was heard by Judge Bartlett, who ultimately sided with the city. In his decision, he indicated that public school education was a privilege, not a right. Since the public school system was a creation of the state it was subject to reasonable regulation, especially regarding the health and welfare of the community. He still did not go so far as to endorse compulsory vaccination for all citizens, noting, “To vaccinate a person against his will, without legal authority to do so, would be an assault.”[x]

While this case ended in the city’s favor, their aggressive quarantine policy would not hold up in the courts. That same year a judge ruled that the health department had no right to quarantine the homes of citizens who had not contracted small pox. Legal challenges to compulsory vaccination continued into the 20th century, culminating in 1905 when the U.S. Supreme Court, “affirmed the right of the majority to override individual liberties when the health of the community required it.”[xi] Of course, as the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding school vaccinations indicates, the debate over the government’s role in public health remains unsettled to this day.

[i] “Between persuasion and compulsion: Smallpox control in Brooklyn and New York.” Colgrove, J. Bull. Hist. Med. 2004 Summer;78(2):349-78.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Annual Report of the Department of Health of the City of Brooklyn, 1894.

[iv] “Brooklyn’s Smallpox Outbreak,” N.Y. Sun, 29 March 1894.

[v] “Between persuasion and compulsion: Smallpox control in Brooklyn and New York. Colgrove, J. Bull. Hist. Med. 2004 Summer;78(2):349-78.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Brooklyn, N.Y., Department of Law, Corporation Counsel records, 2013.015; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] “Between persuasion and compulsion: Smallpox control in Brooklyn and New York.” Colgrove, J. Bull. Hist. Med. 2004 Summer;78(2):349-78.

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Photo of the Week: A Day at Coney Island


Dreamland, 1904, v1972.1.771; Early Brooklyn and Long Island photograph collection, ARC.201; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Whether you are going for the beach, or the hot dogs, or the rides, spending at least one summer day at Coney Island has a long tradition. I visited Coney Island about a month ago to enjoy the amusements, much like the people in the image above, photographed at the Dreamland amusement park in Coney Island in 1904. Dreamland isn’t around anymore, and what people are wearing has clearly changed, but all the reasons that people go to Coney Island are still there. If you haven’t been yet this summer, you should go.

I love the rich tones and the soft focus in the image above because they give a romantic, “dreamy” quality to this photograph of Dreamland, but for more images of Dreamland and Coney Island, you might be interested in the Guide to the History of Coney Island: Lists and Photographs of Main Attractions viewbook (V1986.022), Guide to the Views of Coney Island viewbooks (ARC.231), Guide to the Staley’s Views of Coney Island (Mardi Gras Edition, 1908) viewbook (V1986.027), Guide to the Glimpses of the New Coney Island viewbook (V1986.026)

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our new website here.  To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. To leave a comment, email:

Author: Halley Choiniere

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