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Brooklyn's Barren Island; A Forgotten History

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Barren Island was a remote place in Jamaica Bay where the city's garbage and dead animals were processed for many decades.

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Barren Island was a remote place in Jamaica Bay where the city's garbage and dead animals were processed for many decades. A motley group of immigrant and African American workers did this work, and with their families, built a thriving community on the island. Their lives were transformed when New York City's first municipal airport, Floyd Bennett Field, was built on the island, and when Robert Moses evicted them to build the Marine Parkway Bridge.

About the speaker: Miriam Sicherman is the author of "Brooklyn’s Barren Island: A Forgotten History." She is an elementary school teacher in Manhattan and studied at Bank Street College of Education, and has a master's in history from Brooklyn College.

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Organizer NYC H2O

Organizer of Brooklyn's Barren Island; A Forgotten History

NYC H2O’s mission is to inspire and educate New Yorkers of all ages to learn about, enjoy and protect their city’s local water ecology. Through providing public and school programs at historic reservoirs, parklands, watersheds, bays, rivers, and wetlands, we encourage diverse citizens to advocate for responsible public policy. Our activities promote science-based knowledge of New York’s local ecosystems and of what is needed for urban water resilience in a time when climate change impact continues to escalate.

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