Tag Archives: Maritime History

Matton Shipyard Receives Historic Preservation Grant


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Matton Shipyard main buildingErie Canalway National Heritage Corridor was awarded a $5,000 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the John E. Streb Fund for New York. These grant funds will be used to conduct a feasibility and master planning study of Matton Shipyard, a threatened early 20th century facility important to the story of New York’s Erie Canal. The project will result in plans for re-purposed structures, interpretation, and community space open to the public. Continue reading

Knickerbocker Commodore: Life and Times of John Drake Sloat


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knickerbocker commodoreBruce Castleman’s new book, Knickerbocker Commodore: The Life and Times of John Drake Sloat 1781-1867 (SUNY Press, 2016) chronicles the life of Rear Admiral John Drake Sloat, an important but understudied naval figure in US history.

Born and raised by a slave-owning gentry family in New York’s Hudson Valley, Sloat moved to New York City at age nineteen.

Castleman explores Sloat’s forty-five-year career in the Navy, from his initial appointment as midshipman in the conflicts with revolutionary France to his service as commodore during the country’s war with Mexico. Continue reading

New Exhibit of Maritime Art Open at Museum Ship Lilac


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Raincoat, metal, ink, thread, paper, strappingNow on view at the museum ship Lilac at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 in New York City is “Adam Payne: Full Steam Ahead,” an exhibit of maritime art in mixed media.  The exhibit continues through the end of September.

The works are inspired by Adam Payne’s love of history combined with an appreciation for everyday materials. The exhibit includes a series of life jackets begun in 2014 and sewn from old rain slickers, creating a symmetry between materials and form. These grew out of Payne’s longtime interest in nautical explorations and how places are changed by such maritime interventions. Each life jacket incorporates the name of a different “failed” explorer in a nod to this history. Continue reading

New Biography of Playboy, Yachtsman Gordon Bennett


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gordon bennett book coverAfter a drunken evening in New York’s lavish Union Club, three of the richest men in America made a bet that would change the course of yachting history. Six men died in the brutal first race across the Atlantic, turning the perception of yachting from gentleman’s pursuit to rugged adventure. The $90,000 prize (about $15 million today) helped to herald the “gilded age” of America.

Sam Jefferson’s new book Gordon Bennett and the First Yacht Race Across the Atlantic (Bloomsbury, 2016) tells the tale of James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the playboy son of the New York Herald multi-millionaire. Continue reading

The Heroic Age of Diving: America’s Underwater Pioneers


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the heroic age of diving book coverIn The Heroic Age of Diving: America’s Underwater Pioneers and the Great Wrecks of Lake Erie (SUNY Press Excelsior Editions, 2016),  Jerry Kuntz shares the fascinating stories of the pioneers of underwater invention and the brave divers who employed the new technologies as they raced with – and against – marine engineers to salvage the tragic wrecks of Lake Erie.

Beginning in 1837, some of the most brilliant engineers of America’s Industrial Revolution turned their attention to undersea technology. Inventors developed practical hard-helmet diving suits, as well as new designs of submarines, diving bells, floating cranes, and undersea explosives. These innovations were used to clear shipping lanes, harvest pearls, mine gold, and wage war. Continue reading

Red Hook’s Waterfront Museum Barge Hosts Port Cities Performance


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jabari brisport at port cities workshop at dixon place in 2015The Port/Cities Project will present the World Premiere of Port Cities NYC, written, directed and choreographed by Talya Chalef. This theatrical journey begins at Pier 11 in the Financial District, where audiences ferry across the harbor accompanied by an original soundscape. After docking in Red Hook’s working port, the performance continues on board The Waterfront Museum Barge. This limited engagement runs May 5 – 19. Continue reading

Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldWhat did it mean to be a citizen during the late-18th and early-19th centuries?

Why and how did early American sailors seem intent on proving their citizenship to the United States?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore citizenship and maritime life during the Age of Revolutions with Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, author of Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution (Belknap Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/076

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