Project Showcase: Flatbush + Main
16 May 2016 – editors
In April 2016, Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) launched Flatbush + Main, a podcast dedicated to telling the rich stories of Brooklyn’s past. Hosted by BHS oral historian Zaheer Ali and director of public history Julie Golia, Flatbush + Main dives deep into Brooklyn’s sometimes iconic, sometimes quirky histories.
Flatbush + Main ties those histories to the most salient issues facing New Yorkers and Americans today. The podcast also provides a glimpse into how history is made and preserved every day at BHS, a 153-year-old museum, archives, and urban history center.
Each episode of Flatbush + Main includes three segments. “Histories and Ideas” digs into the people, communities, events, and issues facing Brooklynites past and present. In “Into the Archives,” Julie and Zaheer describe, discuss, and contextualize documents and artifacts from BHS’s archives. “Voices of Brooklyn” features clips from BHS’s oral history collections, which include over 1,200 interviews with narrators born as early as the 1890s. The podcast ends by highlighting exhibitions and programs at BHS’s headquarters in Brooklyn.
In Flatbush + Main’s first episode, “Histories of Waste in Brooklyn,” Zaheer and Julie explore the multilayered history of waste in Brooklyn. Guest historian Elizabeth Pillsbury describes how the building of Brooklyn’s sewer system prompted the decline of New York’s oyster industry–and highlights the symbiotic relationship between oysters and waste. Listeners also hear from artist Barry Rosenthal, who blends photography and sculpture to offer commentary on the ever-growing issue of ocean pollution.