Made in NYC: Manufacturer Site Visits
During my first year of Pratt's planning program I was lucky to be a fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development. I worked primarily with their Made in NYC initiative, which supports the city's urban manufacturers through outreach and advocacy. One of my tasks was to set up visits to manufacturers and tell their stories on the Made in NYC blog, which was an amazing opportunity to explore parts of the city that people don't always get to see. Links to several of these pieces are presented below.
Photos by Azure McBride.
Indian Larry Motorcycles
Dreaming of owning a motorcycle that will make you the envy of everyone on the road? Look no further than Indian Larry Motorcycles, located on Union Street in Williamsburg. The shop is the brainchild of one man, Indian Larry, who had a passion for impeccable craftsmanship. Indian Larry’s legacy lives on in his shop, which is now run by two Brooklyn natives, Bobby Seeger and his wife Elisa. They’re keeping Larry’s art form alive, and are also passionate about New York City and American manufacturing.
Williamsburg Metal Spinning and Stamping Corp.
When Williamsburg Metal Spinning and Stamping Corp. moved into South Williamsburg thirty-seven years ago the "whole block was metal guys... we had the HVAC guy on the corner, on the other block we had a guy that did metal stamping," explains Thomas DeSanti, President of the metal fabrication company. Many of the “metal guys” have moved away from New York City due to rising rents and transportation costs. Williamsburg Metal, however, remains in their building at the corner of Kent Avenue and South 1st Street and continues to deliver quality metal products.
Kirschner Brush Manufacturing
"When you drive by and see workers painting bridges and tunnels in New York, they are probably using Kirschner Brushes," says Israel Kirschner, current owner of Kirschner Brush Manufacturing Company. Out of a five story warehouse in the Bronx, Kirschner is able to make various types of paint brushes for any need-from stainless steel brushes for hockey rinks, to leather-bound brushes for bridge painting.
The Entrepreneur Space
For New Yorkers who have always dreamed of sharing their grandmother’s cookie recipe with the masses or who have fantasized about seeing their own line of tomato sauce on the shelves of Whole Foods, The Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City provides the kitchen, tools, and guidance to make starting a food business possible. Inside a two-story building with a long history of entrepreneurship, food manufacturers are given access to a full-scale commercial kitchen as well as classrooms, offices, and computer labs to help them grow.
In a time when almost everything is turning digital, Publicide Inc. is keeping the age-old art of letterpress printing alive. Dusty Hollensteiner, who founded the company in 2006, has created a niche in the printing industry by offering custom letterpress, foil stamping, and offset printing projects as well as in-house designers to help create the best product.
Walking down Pacific Street in Cobble Hill, you are likely to encounter a picture window with a glimpse into New York City’s manufacturing sector. Flavor Paper, originally founded in New Orleans, now screen prints their wallpaper by hand in Brooklyn where passersby can watch the process At The Street Level.
Flickinger Glass Works
Following Superstorm Sandy, Flickinger Glassworks in Red Hook was filled with four feet of storm surge, washing out custom motors and soaking files of detailed client records. Thanks to numerous volunteers and countless hours of restoration work, the business quickly got back on its feet and resumed production of fine hand-crafted glass products just three months after the storm.
M&S Schmalberg Fabric Flowers
When Broadway costumers or New York fashion designers need flowers for their garments, and they need them fast, they come to M&S Schmalberg. For over ninety years the fabric flower manufacturer has delivered impeccably made fabric flowers quickly, sometimes overnight. The best part? The workshop is located in the garment center.