Dive deep into Kings County lore with the Historical Society’s audio series

gage and tollner
The interior of the original Gage & Tollner in Downtown Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Historical Society

With the onslaught of event cancellations brought on by fears of the novel coronavirus, we’ve compiled a list Brooklyn Historical Society talks that you can listen to online for free — letting you keep your mind buzzing with borough-centric information during the lonely future days of social distancing.

Resurrection of Gage & Tollner

The historic Downtown Brooklyn restaurant, which had served up world-class grub and fond memories on Fulton Street from 1879 to 2004, had been set to return on March 15 — but that triumphant return was postponed by the infection. 

So while you’ll have to wait a little longer to visit their newly remade digs, you can still learn a lot about the century-old staple in the historical society’s “Restaurant Resurrection: Putting Gage & Tollner Back on the Map.” 

New York Times cocktail columnist Robert Simonson pours into the archival material in the society’s G&T Collection — leading a fascinating conversation with the restaurant’s co-owner St. John Frizell, head chef Sosui Kim, and 40-year part-owner Janet Pawlukiewicz as they discuss their experience reimagining the famous eatery. 

Listen to Restaurant Resurrection: Putting Gage & Tollner Back on the Map” here.

Whose waterfront?

Being cooped up indoors might have sparked a deeper appreciation for the borough’s beautiful outdoor spaces and the stake-holders, as well as community groups, that helped cultivate them. “Whose Waterfront? North Brooklyn’s Environmental Justice Saga” is a discussion about the fight to preserve the waterfront in Williamsburg and Greenpoint from a proposal to build the largest trash-transfer site on the East Coast — and the continued work of community groups to foster public health and public space in the area.

Listen to “Whose Waterfront? North Brooklyn’s Environmental Justice Saga” here.

Built and Never-Built Brooklyn

While Brooklynites are grappling with new lifestyle changes by the day, it might bring some peace to mind to see just how much intense change the borough’s landscape has withstood throughout history. 

Cornell University professor and urbanist Thomas Campanella brings listeners on an audio journey from colonial Brooklyn to the future of the borough with a focus on the infrastructure needed to support a rapidly developing society in “Built and Never-Built Brooklyn: An Exploration.”

Listen to “Built and Never-Built Brooklyn: An Exploration” here.

Mural Movement

If you need some color in your life, get a glimpse into the meaning behind many of Brooklyn’s celebrated murals. 

“Brooklyn’s Mural Movement” features a captivating discussion about how activist-artists collaborated with their neighbors to capture their sense of place at a time when the borough was experiencing accelerated gentrification.

Listen to “Brooklyn’s Mural Movement” here.