Along the Shore

Speakers and Guides

Richard E. Hanley

Richard E. Hanley, the project director, is the founding director of the Brooklyn Waterfront Research Center and a professor of English at New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York. He directed the first Along the Shore program at City Tech in 2010, and in 2008, directed an NEH faculty development project called Water and Work, a program that had 20 City Tech faculty study the history and ecology of the Brooklyn waterfront. Professor Hanley is the founding editor of the Journal of Urban Technology and the board chair of the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems. He received his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn’s St. Francis College, his master’s from New York University, and his Ph.D. from Binghamton University. All his degrees were in English literature.

Shelley E. Smith

Shelley E. Smith, the assistant project director, is an associate professor and chair of the Architectural Technology Department at New York City College of Technology. Professor Smith has participated on a number of NEH, NSF, and Department of Education grant projects that focus on place-based and project-base learning, and the theme of Brooklyn as our laboratory. Professor Smith is a registered architect with expertise in preservation practice and theory. Recent research activities include the colonial and vernacular architecture of southern New York, and the technology of historic masonry construction, and a forthcoming book, The Plantations of Colonial South Carolina: Transmission and Transformation in Provincial Culture. She holds the Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in architectural history from Columbia University.

Patty Barba Gorkhover

Patty Barba Gorkhover is currently the Associate Director of Sponsored Programs at New York City College of Technology. She has been active in assisting in organizing the Along the Shore program. Patty previously worked in development and grant program administration.  Born and raised in Sheepshead Bay/ Gravesend, Patty has an affinity for all things Brooklyn and its rich history. She has a B.A in Art History from Hunter College and a M.A in History from Brooklyn College.

Robin Michals

Robin Michals is a photographer whose most recent project, Castles Made of Sand,  is a look at the places in the New York/New Jersey harbor that are threatened by sea level rise. In 2009, her series "Toxi City: Brooklyn’s Brownfields" was presented at the Brooklyn Lyceum with support from The Brooklyn Arts Council, the Puffin Foundation, and the PSC-CUNY Research Award program. Before joining the Advertising Design and Graphic Arts Department in 2003, she worked for 14 years as an art director and designer for numerous print and online communications firms, including CondeNet, Fox Sports Online, and AmericaLawyer Media. She holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from Columbia University. She lives and works in Brooklyn. Her website is

Caroline Hellman

Caroline Hellman is an assistant professor of English at City Tech. Her book, Domesticity and Design in American Women’s Literature: Stowe, Alcott, Cather, and Wharton Writing Home, was published by Routledge in 2011. Dr. Hellman was a 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholar in American Literature at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Her teaching and research interests concern the connotations of space and place in nineteenth through twenty-first-century American literature, as well as patterns of literary inheritance.

Mark Noonan

Mark Noonan, is an associate professor of English at New York City College of Technology. He is the author of Reading the Century: American Literature and Culture 1870-1893 and co-editor of The Place Where We Dwell: Reading and Writing About New York City. He is currently at work on a cultural history of the Brooklyn Waterfront.

James Reid

Professor Reid earned his B.A. in Media Communication Arts from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii and his Masters of Science in Service Management from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Professor Reid was awarded his Doctoral Equivalency through the City University of New York in 2007 and has worked in a variety of managerial capacities in hospitality operations throughout New York City for many years.He was previously the Senior Assistant Manager at The Helmsley Palace Hotel, Night Manager at The Plaza Athenee, Director of Training and Management Development at The Waldorf Astoria and General Manager of Food and Beverage Operations at The Sheraton Manhattan. Professor Reid currently teaches the program's senior-level courses, "Services Marketing and Management" and "Organizational Behavior in a Global Marketplace" - as well as - overseeing a group of the students performing the required Internships at the baccalaureate level.

Daniel Campo

Daniel Campo is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he teaches courses in urban planning and design and history of the built environment. A National Endowment for the Humanities scholar, his research explores the “unplanned ecologies” of the city, or how countercultural activities reshape urban space. He is the author of The Accidental Playground: Brooklyn Waterfront Narratives of the Undesigned and Unplanned (Fordham University Press, forthcoming). He is also the author of “Brooklyn’s Vernacular Waterfront” (Journal of Urban Design 7-2, 2002) and co-author of “The Entertainment Zone: Unplanned Nightlife and the Revitalization of the American Downtown” (Journal of Urban Design 13-3, 2008). His research interests also include American industrial architecture and urbanism. His article, “In the Footsteps of the Federal Writers’ Project: Revisiting the Workshop of the World” (Landscape Journal 29-2, 2010) explores the post-industrial landscape of contemporary Philadelphia through the eyes of the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s. He is presently engaged in a study that documents and assesses grassroots historic preservation practices of industrial complexes in Detroit and Buffalo. In the 1990s, he was a city planner at the NYC Department of City Planning and before that, a high school English teacher in Brooklyn. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s of Urban Planning from Hunter College, and a Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University.

Peter Catapano

Peter Catapano is an associate professor of history at New York City College of Technology. He has taught courses in U.S. cultural history and the history of immigration. He has also taught American film history at the University of California, Irvine. His current research is on ethnicity and the construction of whiteness on the New York waterfront after World War II.

Richard Haw

Richard Haw, is a professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he teaches in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. A native of Leeds, in the U.K., he has lived in Brooklyn for the past decade. He is the author of The Brooklyn Bridge: A Cultural History (Rutgers University Press, 2005) and Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History (Routledge, 2008). At present he is working on a biography of John and Washington Roebling, the father and son team that designed and built the Brooklyn Bridge.

Michael Heimbinder

Michael Heimbinder—Founder & Executive Director of HabitatMap—is a community organizer, educator, and information designer. HabitatMap's community mapping and social networking platform is a direct testament to Michael’s dedication to creating online platforms that engage the public and facilitate the sharing of news and information using geographic information systems. Since launching HabitatMap in 2006 he has worked with dozens of community based organizations and schools to create planning and advocacy maps that publicize the issues they care about most. In addition to running HabitatMap, Michael serves as Chairman of the Newtown Creek Alliance, where he has made community knowledge sharing the keystone of the organization’s successful efforts to clean up the Creek and improve quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods. He is also a member of the New York State Environmental Justice Interagency Task Force Mapping Work Group and an advisor to the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods where he consults on solid waste management issues in New York City.

Prithi Kanakamedala

Prithi Kanakamedala serves as project historian for In Pursuit of Freedom which examines the history of abolitionism and anti-slavery activism in nineteenth century Brooklyn. The multi-faceted public history project is a collaboration of Brooklyn Historical Society, Weeksville Heritage Center and Irondale Ensemble Project. The project's research will inform a website, exhibitions, educational curricula, walking tours, and an original theater piece. Prithi is also currently adjunct faculty at New York City College of Technology. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex, England.

Paul C. King

Paul C. King, an assistant professor in the Department of Architectural Technology at New York City College of Technology is a licensed Architect with degrees in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. A pioneer in the use of technology in his profession, he was instrumental in the development of new techniques that utilized Computer Aided Design Software and led the move to transition the profession of Architecture from traditional hand drawing to computer based methodologies. Professor King provides leadership as an educator and as a professional, traveling to run faculty development workshops on the "Reflective Teaching Portfolio" and, since 2011, serving as President of the New York Chapter of the Society of American Registered Architects. Professor King is a native of Coney Island who grew up in the shadow of the parachute jump.  He remembers the crowds on the beach and the boardwalk, the smell of corn on the cob and watching fireworks every Tuesday evening in the summer as the entire community came out to promenade on the boardwalk.  During the 1960’s and 1970’s he watched first hand as his neighborhood was transformed by the forces of urban renewal.  He revisits his childhood with the trained eyes of an Architect and Urban Planner and analyzes the social and economic forces that transformed his neighborhood.

Cecilia Kushner

Cecilia Kushner served as the New York City Department of City Planning’s Planner for the Comprehensive Coney Island Plan from 2006 to 2009, and she currently serves as the Department’s Director of Special Initiatives. Ms. Kushner holds a Bachelor’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from La Sorbonne University, Paris; a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London; and a Master of Science in Urban Planning from Hunter College, City University of New York.

Michael Marrella

Michael Marrella, AICP, is the Director of Waterfront and Open Space Planning for the New York City Department of City Planning. Michael is responsible for directing waterfront land use policy for the agency. He also advises the Chair and members of the City Planning Commission on the planning and land use issues affecting waterfront and open space areas, manages the staff of the Waterfront and Open Space Division, and acts as the primary liaison to a wide range of stakeholders including elected officials, community organizations, and private sector entities on matters of land use, zoning and economic development related to waterfront and open space. Michael previously served as Project Director for Vision 2020: the New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, the document that provides the new long range vision for a 21st Century NYC waterfront. As Project Director, Michael oversaw all aspects of the plan’s creation, including public outreach, policy analysis, and plan writing. Michael oversees City Planning’s role in implementing Vision 2020, including revisions to the City’s Coastal Zone Management program that regulates public and private projects on the waterfront and in the City’s waterways. Prior to his work on Vision 2020, Michael worked for 5 years as Manager of Environmental Planning on the Freshkills Park project. Michael also previously worked for AKRF, Inc., a planning consulting firm, and for the Town of Smithtown, NY. A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Michael served as Vice President of the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association from 2006 through 2010. Born in New York City, Michael holds a Master in City Planning from MIT and a BA from Vassar College.

Francis Morrone

Francis Morrone is the author of ten books, including An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn and, with Henry Hope Reed, The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Morrone teaches at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, where his courses include "A History of New York City," and he is the recipient of NYU's coveted Excellence in Teaching Award. Morrone is an emeritus fellow of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. He is well known as a lecturer and as a leader of architectural tours in New York City. Over the years, his walking tours and public lectures have become closely identified with the Municipal Art Society of New York. In 2011 he was named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the 13 best tour guides in the world (one of only 2 in the U.S.). He was for six and a half years an art and architecture critic for the New York Sun, and his writings on art, architecture, and urbanism have appeared in such publications as the New Criterion, the Wall Street Journal, Humanities, the New York Times, and City Journal.

Sherida E. Paulsen

Sherida E. Paulsen, is an architect based in New York City and a principal of PKSB Architects, specializing in complex, mixed-use projects with preservation concerns. She was the 2009 President of the AIA New York Chapter and has served as the Chapter’s Vice President for Public Outreach and co-chair of the Historic Buildings Committee. She also served as a founding director of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Ms Paulsen currently serves as a director of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, appointed by Governor Paterson. Ms Paulsen has served as chair of the Van Alen Institute Projects in Public Architecture from 2004-2007, commissioner on the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1995-2004, and as its chair from 2001-2003, and as president of WX Women Executives in Real Estate. In addition she serves on the board of the Landmarks Preservation Foundation and is a member of the AIA College of Fellows.

Daniella Romano

Daniella Romano is VP, BLDG 92 Exhibits and Programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.  Ms. Romano curated the exhibit, “Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future” which opened on Veterans Day 2011, and she continues to oversee development of exhibits, public and educational programs, as well as overall operations at Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92.  Ms. Romano joined the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation in 2004, at which time she established the Brooklyn Navy Yard Archive, now home to more than 40,000 archival maps and plans of the facility, as well as extensive collections of historic illustrated newspapers, postcards, stereoscope cards and oral histories.  Ms. Romano is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a MS degree in Information and Library Science.

Malka Simon

Malka Simon is a Lecturer in the Brooklyn College Art Department, where she teaches classes on architectural history and urbanism. Her areas of specialization include modern architecture, histories of urban design, and vernacular landscapes. Her most recent research has addressed the relationship between industrial architecture and urban development in Brooklyn. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and a BA from Brooklyn College.

Peter Spellane

Peter Spellane is an associate professor of chemistry at New York City College of Technology where he teaches organic chemistry and is chair of the Chemistry Department. He studied chemistry at the University of Washington and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Before joining the faculty at New York City College of Technology in 2003, he had a career in industry, working as a postdoctoral chemist at the IBM T. J. Watson Lab and later as a research chemist at Akzo Nobel in New York and in the Netherlands. His work at Akzo Nobel led to a number of patents concerning the use of conjugated polymers in coatings for metals. His research work at City Tech concerns the preparation of compounds that link photosensitive molecules to conjugated polymers. At City Tech participates in efforts to integrate education in the humanities with education in science and science-based technologies. This effort has led him to study New York City’s rich history of chemicals production and petroleum refining, particularly that centered along the Newtown Creek at Brooklyn’s north-west corner.

Matthew Urbanski

Matthew Urbanski, is a Principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., where he has worked since 1989, serving as lead designer on many of the firm's major urban parks and planning efforts. He was a lead designer on Segment 5 of Hudson River Park, Hoboken?s Pier C Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, all of which were landscape-led multidisciplinary projects designed to engage the specific urban history, social context, and physical environment of these different waterfront sites. He has extensive experience in the development of highly constructed urban spaces, including his leadership of MVVA's work on the north end of Union Square Park, in New York, North Grant Park, in Chicago, and the Collaborative Research Garden at Rockefeller University in New York City. Current projects include planning for New York University, the design of Hudson Park and Boulevard in New York City, and the Bloomingdale Trail and Park in Chicago. He has been a Visiting Critic and Lecturer on ecology and plants in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design since 1992.

Will Van Dorp

Will Van Dorp is an assistant professor at Union College College in New Jersey, where he teaches ESL and English Composition.  He has an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and an MA in Linguistics from Indiana University.  He has also taught in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Congo. He is an avid maritime photographer and student of New York harbor commercial traffic and history, which he documents on his blog recently featured in the New York Times.   In 2010, Will participated in this same NEH Landmarks Workshop, Along the Shore, and is honored to be invited back as a speaker.

Roberta Weisbrod

Roberta Weisbrod, is the principal of Sustainable Ports, a company that offers consulting services in the field of the maritime transport of people and freight. Dr. Weisbrod is chair of the Ferry Transportation Committee of the Transportation Research Board.  In New York City she chairs the board of the Working Harbor Committee, a non-profit organization dedicated to informing the public about the value of the Port of New York and New Jersey through tours and site visits. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Harbor Operations Committee, a public-private organization coordinating harbor activities. In the past she worked with the NYC Economic Development Corporation as director of Port and Intermodal Planning and for twelve years with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as Special Assistant to the Commissioner for New York harbor environmental issues. In addition she worked as Director of Sustainable Transportation for an environmental organization, Inform.  Roberta Weisbrod has worked on numerous aspects of the Brooklyn waterfront.  She was consultant to the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation in its preparation of a conceptual plan for the waterway's future. She also consulted on a dredging project for the Brooklyn Navy Yard. She was a leader of the Save the Red Hook Graving Dock Campaign. Currently she is under contract to the City of New York examining the feasibility of a ferry to Coney Island.

Kate Zidar

Kate Zidar (Executive Director, Newtown Creek Alliance) is an Environmental Planner with a professional focus on solid waste management, open space, urban agriculture and stormwater management.  Kate teaches urban planning at Pratt Institute, and chairs the Steering Committee of the Stormwater Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.) Coalition, a citywide organization of public, private and non-profit partners dedicated to ensuring swimmable, fishable waters around New York City through sustainable stormwater management practices in upland communities. Prior to her work with S.W.I.M, Kate was Program Director of Environmental Education at the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Kate has worked previously as an Assistant Planner with the Planning Center at Municipal Art Society and as a consultant for NYC Housing Authority’s Greening and Gardening Program. She holds a BS in Biology from the University of Colorado, and an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment.

Geoff Zylstra

Geoff Zylstra is an assistant professor of history at New York City College of Technology where he teaches history of technology and urban geography. His research and writing focuses on the relationship between industrial change and the built environment in nineteenth-century cities such as New York and Philadelphia. He is currently writing a book that examines nineteenth-century social and spatial conflicts that occurred in Philadelphia as the city’s identity shifted from one based on trade with Europe to one based on industrial technology. While his recent work focuses on the built environment, Professor Zylstra has also written on the history of poverty for the Ways and Means Committee in the Federal Government. He earned his Ph.D. in History from Case Western Reserve University, his master’s degree from the University of Maryland – College Park, and his bachelor’s from Calvin College.

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