[EPISODE] Fort Greene
Join us this week for a journey to a great Brooklyn neighborhood, Fort Greene!
My guests will be historian Greg Trupiano, founder and director of the Walt Whitman Project, and Jill Lindsey, community activist and business owner of a business named – you guessed it – “Jill Lindsey”.
Jeff introduces his first guest Greg Trupiano, who is a Brooklyn native growing up in the Kensington neighborhood. Greg explains how he first got involved in sharing neighborhood history with people. This initially started with his passion for the famous American poet Walt Whitman. Through the Walt Whitman Project, Greg gives tours across Brooklyn. Greg then goes into the early history of Fort Greene. Under the British rule, Fort Greene and all of Brooklyn was mainly rural farmland. Fort Greene saw a lot of action during the Revolutionary War, the most famous of which was the Battle of Brooklyn. During this time, the British were using the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a place to put American prisoners on ships. In addition, there was a lot of abolitionist work going on in Fort Greene after the war. There was a large African-American population due to the ending of slavery in 1827.
Greg discusses the importance of the implementation of L trains through Fort Greene. Many historic buildings are located in Fort Greene, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the oldest hospital in Brooklyn. The Williamsburg Saving Banks Tower is another significant piece of architecture, for at least half a century was the tallest building in the borough. Jeff then brings up the decline of Fort Greene in the mid-1900s. After the Brooklyn Navy Yard was decommissioned in 1966, the neighborhood lost a lot of its population and wealth. Greg says that In the 1980s the neighborhood was revitalized and people began repopulating the area.
Jeff returns to the show by introducing Jill Lindsey and having her give a little bit about herself and how she found herself in Brooklyn with her store. Jill explains the hardships she went through and the exhaustive search for a living and business space. Jill enjoys Fort Greene’s small business focused attitude and economy. She finds it conducive to her multifront business model as it creates an environment with the freedom for it. On top of this she claims Fort Greene to be very diverse in the people that live there. She also finds it to be very community driven.
Jeff comes back to the show asking Jill a bit about her store only to move on to the current vibe of Fort Greene. Jill mentions a number of different organizations and events she has scheduled for in her cafe. On top of this, Jill has a number of workshops ranging from femininity in the workplace to manifestation of goals. Jeff asks Jill about her future business endeavours to which she mentions a plan for safe kind of communal lounge in Fort Greene.