Photo of the Week: In Honor of Our Veterans

[Survivors of the Fourteenth Regiment], ca. 1890, v1991.12.7; Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Survivors of the Fourteenth Regiment], ca. 1890, v1991.12.7; Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

In honor of Veterans Day yesterday, this week’s photograph highlights Brooklyn’s veterans.  The above photograph depicts veterans of the 14th Regiment, New York State Militia (also known as the 84th New York Infantry), at the dedication of their monument on the battlefield at Gettysburg. The regiment lost a total of 217 men over the course of the three-day battle.

The regiment, also known as Brooklyn’s “Fighting Fourteenth,” was created on July 4, 1847 through an act of the New York State Legislature. At the time of the Civil War, many of its members were abolitionists.  The Fighting Fourteenth they saw an enormous amount of combat during the war, fighting in the first and second Battles of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Battle of the Wilderness, and of course, Gettysburg.  They were known for their fighting zeal as well as their red “Zouave” style trousers, prompting Confederate General Stonewall Jackson to dub them the “red-legged devils.”

In the decades after the war, pilgrimages to battle sites were common among veterans groups. Often, groups of Union and Confederate soldiers would meet and shake hands on the battlefield, signifying the symbolic reconciliation of the two regions.

Some of the members of the Fighting Fourteenth will be featured in BHS’s upcoming exhibition, Personal Correspondents: Photgoraphy and Letter-Writing in Civil War Brooklyn, which opens on April 9, 2015 – the date of the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.

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 Brooklyn Visual Heritage 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. photos@brooklynhistory.org

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Map of the Month–November 2014

November map of the month

Map showing the position of the main ground-water table on Long Island, New York, 1904. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

For the November Map of the Month, I have chosen a relative newcomer to the catalog, “Map showing the position of the main ground-water table on Long Island, New York,” published by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1904. This map landed on my desk with 2 others, “Map of Long Island, New York showing location of wells” and “Map showing the waterworks systems of Long Island, New York.” All bore plate numbers from “Professional Paper No. 44.” A quick catalog check found this paper to be Underground Water Resources of Long Island, New York, weighing in at 385 pages with both a general index and an index of well data. The report is, as one would expect, quite detailed, and with 34 plates and 71 illustrations and maps, thoroughly documented. This map, at 16 x 31”, is by far the smallest of the three extracted for individual cataloging.

The City of Brooklyn had been increasingly dependent on the water resources of western Long Island throughout the 19th century. As the population grew, the Brooklyn system for water supply extended as far east as Massapequa to pump water to the Ridgewood Reservoir. These wells can be seen in the solid blue dots on the detail below:

November map of the month detail

Map showing the position of the main ground-water table on Long Island, New York, 1904, detail. Brooklyn Historical Society Map Collection.

Other easily identified details on this map are the wells from perched water tables shown in red. (Perched water sits above the water table atop an impermeable layer.) The blue shading indicates areas of artesian flow, where water from the water table flows to the surface under its own pressure. The broad contour of Long Island’s geologic makeup can be easily seen in this contrast between the red-dotted north and the blue-shaded south. The map also shows contour lines indicating the depth of the water table over the entire island.

According to the Encyclopedia of New York, one reason Brooklyn consolidated with New York in 1895 was to gain access to the New York water supply and the Croton Reservoir system. The New York City Department of Water Supply was created in 1905, and after study, it chose the Catskill region for development of the New York City water supply. No doubt this map, and the report from which it came, helped inform that decision.

Interested in seeing more maps? You can view the BHS map collection anytime during the library’s open hours, Wed.-Sat., from 1-5 p.m. No appointment is necessary to view most maps.

This map was cataloged with funding provided by a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) “Hidden Collections” grant.

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Shop Talk with Brooklyn Makers: Brooklyn Rehab

Welcome to Shop Talk, our regular series highlighting some of the fantastic Brooklyn-made products (and their makers) available in the BHS Gift Shop, open daily from 12pm to 5pm!

Brooklyn Rehab

Alyssa Zygmunt, the creator of Brooklyn Rehab, uses her daily observations of NYC culture to create inspired and unique products that make the perfect souvenirs for out-of-towners and seasoned New Yorkers alike. From key chains and salt and pepper shakers, to glass bottles with labels of local bodies of water, such as the Gowanus Canal (because that water must be tasty!), and 100% authentic New York City pigeon feathers sealed in test tubes, Alyssa gives new life to existing objects while still managing to keep a timeless feel (and give a nod to those who know NYC best).

Join us as we get to know Alyssa and some of the great ways she reworks items and creates new NYC-inspired products …

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m one part designer and one part anthropologist. I studied Industrial Design at Carnegie Mellon University and have done all kinds of design, from fashion to medical tool design. More recently I wanted to get my hands dirty, so to speak, so I left my full-time job, where my designs were mass produced, and traded it in for a studio in Greenpoint, where my designs are created and assembled by hand.

What do you make?
I create modern souvenirs with a timeless feel, like the laser cut building, as well vintage-inspired ones, such as the water bottles featuring local bodies of water. I also apply my artwork as a decal to both glass and ceramics.

How long have you been at it?
It started as a side business while I was working as an in-house professional designer, but I started doing it full-time four years ago.

What is the story behind how you develop your product?
I observe the local culture and then design objects that celebrate it. In the past I created fake bed bug specimens to acknowledge and poke fun at the paranoia that took over the city a while back. My work is like an insider’s nod or wink, like how I label water bottles after the Gowanus Canal for the store By Brooklyn. Locals know you would never want to drink that polluted water!

Walk us through a typical day…
I ride my bike to my studio in Greenpoint, picking up my favorite coffee, Blue Bottle, as I go. I work with a wonderful view of both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building and am surrounded by my collections of vintage souvenirs and endless supplies for making things.

What are you doing when you’re not working?
Exploring the city. Riding my bike.

Where do you live, and what do you love the most about your neighborhood?
I’ve lived in Williamsburg for the last 10 years, but I am now moving to Bedford-Stuyvesant. Williamsburg has lost its industrial roots and creative vibe so I am moving to a place where there is more breathing room and space for artists to create. It feels more authentic and it’s actually quite friendly in Bed-Stuy. Neighbors say hello to each other. There is a real sense of community that you lose when there are more tourists than residents, like what has happened in Williamsburg.

What type of art or design currently inspires you?
Scandinavian design. Natural materials and simple, yet bold designs.

What is your favorite NYC museum?
The City Reliquary. It’s an amazing space!

If not creating, what else would you be doing?
Traveling the world learning local handcrafts.

For more Brooklyn Rehab products, visit the BHS Gift Shop, open daily from 12pm to 5pm! You can also learn more on their website, brooklynrehabny.com.

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Photo of the Week: Food vendors at Wallabout Market

Wallabout Market, Brooklyn, ca. 1895, v1973.5.994; Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Wallabout Market, Brooklyn, ca. 1895, v1973.5.994; Brooklyn photograph and illustration collection, ARC.202; Brooklyn Historical Society.

This week Brooklyn Historical Society is hosting our annual fundraising party, Brooklyn Bounty!  Unlike last year, we will be holding this event at a new venue in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn.  There will be music, beverages, auctions, and food.  We expect it to be as bountiful as the Wallabout Market, pictured above.  Not too far from DUMBO, the Wallabout Market was the host for many of the farmers who supplied food to Brooklyn and beyond from the late 19th century until 1941.  We highlighted the market back in 2011 and thought this week’s festivities are a justifiable reason to mention it again.  See you all at Brooklyn Bounty!

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 Brooklyn Visual Heritage 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. photos@brooklynhistory.org

 

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Brooklyn Bounty 2014 Taste Spotlight – Odd Fellows Ice Cream

In anticipation of Brooklyn Bounty, BHS’s premier fundraiser at 26 Bridge on October 22nd, we are profiling our participating restaurants and honorees of the Food & Heritage Awards. Below is a profile of OddFellows Ice Cream Company, one of the sweet and chilled participants in our evening’s tasting menu. Ice Cream is year-round!

(left to right) : The OddFellows Team – Mohan Kumar, Sam Mohan, & Holiday Kumar

Right on the corner of Kent Avenue and North 3rd Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a small ice cream parlor with big flavors. OddFellows Ice Cream Co. is passionate about their innovative and contemporary ice cream flavor combinations as well as their nods to classics. Mohan Kumar and Sam Mason are the co-founders of Odd fellows, churning out flavors of ice cream that you’ve only dreamed of for your next midnight snack. With over 130 flavors offered in only 16 months of being open, OddFellows will be able to satisfy any taste bud on your tongue.

bhsblog_bkbounty14_oddfellows2Not all beige ice creams are alike: meet Chorizo Caramel, Maple Bacon Pecan, Cornbread

 “She craved fried chicken or coconut water ice cream”

___

Where did this demand for new tastes come from? It all started with Mohan’s wife, Holiday. In 2011, Holiday Kumar was well into her pregnancy and having the most peculiar cravings: fried chicken on ice cream, coconut water, grilled cheese. Their good friend and well-known WD~50 pastry chef Sam Mason helped out by whipping up a pint of his pretzel ice cream, and ta da! The spark of an idea is born.

Sweet and salty, fruity and smoked, dinner for dessert. OddFellows has not made a fried chicken ice cream just yet, but they are proudly offering flavors like “Purple Rice,” “Edamame,” “Cornbread,” and “Prosciutto Melon.” Have you every had a scoop of “Foie Gras” ice cream? I had the pleasure of tasting the small batches that were featured for the day of my visit, and after finishing all 12 tasting spoons, Lemon Meringue Pie was my ultimate favorite. Side note: OddFellows also serves one “Odd Flavor” a day, a very small batch of the most unique flavor of the day. On the day of my visit, I got the chance to taste Caramelized Onion with Raisin Caramel and Fried Walnuts.

bhsblog_bkbounty14_oddfellows3No matter how many crazy flavors you make, you can’t forget sprinkles. – Inside the OddFellows kitchen.

 “I wanna eat ice cream with someone with a big beard”

___

When I spoke with Sam and Mohan, I asked them who would be the perfect person to sit down and share an Odd Fellows cone with. Mohan’s first thought was Joe Biden, because he appreciates his lighthearted personality and love of food culture, especially ice cream. “I think he’d be a really fun guy to have ice cream with.” Sam suggested Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings, because wouldn’t anyone with a great beard would make for an interesting ice cream buddy?

“Every ice cream parlor is judged by their vanilla”

 ___

If you don’t have a good vanilla, people won’t be as interested. Even though OddFellows is known for their odd flavors, Mohan taught me that having a solid vanilla is key to a successful ice cream parlor. Sam and the team have perfected theirs by using a combination of Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans. All of the bases for their ice cream are waffle conepasteurized in-house. This allows OddFellows to serve high quality and fresh ice cream that is truly homemade. The additional remixing that Sam does to create depth complements the base of the ice cream so well, allowing for nuggets of surprising textures and tastes without losing the integrity of a confident scoop of ice cream. The waffle cones are also made fresh daily, and Sam Mason just added his homemade sodas to the menu, in case you want some fizz in your ice cream.

Don't worry Sorbet lovers, we didn't forget you. -Blood Orange Cinnamon Sorbet -

Don’t worry Sorbet lovers, we didn’t forget you.   -Blood Orange Cinnamon Sorbet -

OddFellows is a hybrid carnival dressing room and ice cream parlor. As you enjoy your scoops in the shop, you can look around and discover shelves with many different oddities and unique trinkets that play into the identity of OddFellows. Clyde is their unofficial mascot, a special musical monkey who has been passed down in Sam Mason’s family for many years. “Ice Cream Jesus” is a crowd favorite. The two masks on the very top shelf are ceremonial objects from the original Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization focused on giving back to the community. OddFellows ice cream is not at all affiliated with this organization, but they admired their mission of looking out for members of the community and sticking together any way that they can.

Thai Iced CreamTwo scoops of Thai Tea Ice Cream – you can wipe the drool off your computer screen now -

OddFellows Ice Cream Co. is re-shaping the culinary landscape of Brooklyn every time they open up shop at noon. It’s the attention to detail that I really admire about OddFellows. Precision, play, and passion in the recipes and overall environment that Mohan, Sam, and Holiday welcome into the parlor is what makes OddFellows such a bright and interesting place for dessert.  It balances timeless comfort food and a contemporary commentary on dessert.  It is innovative without being snobby or too trendy. Mohan, Sam, Loretta the ice cream maker, and Patsy the pasteurizer are able to create flavors that might usually be served at a high-end restaurant in an “elevated, deconstructed” way. These flavors are respected just as much as a notable chef’s signature dish, but are packed within a simple scoop of ice cream accessible to everyone.

We are feeling like a kid on their tip-toes peeking through the glass ice cream freezer in anticipation for OddFellows’ feature in this year’s Brooklyn Bounty 2014.  They will be scooping a special seasonal flavor for this event, we can’t wait to find out which one they will serve!

- – – Psst, tickets for Brooklyn Bounty are Still Available! - – -

 

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