The exhibition highlights the past 100 years of Brooklyn’s business history, from the borough’s days as a shipping and manufacturing hub to its current business landscape of mom-and-pop shops and big brand names.

All these products and brand names have Brooklyn roots.

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its centennial anniversary with a history lesson at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

On Thursday, February 22, the chamber and the Brooklyn Historical Society teamed up to host a preview of a new exhibition called “The Business of Brooklyn.” The exhibition, created in honor of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s centennial, highlights the past 100 years of business history in Brooklyn, from the borough’s days as a shipping and manufacturing hub to its current business landscape of mom-and-pop shops and big brand names. Items and images from current and bygone Brooklyn brands such as Brooklyn Brewery and Twizzlers are also on display in this exhibit.

Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz talks about promoting the Brooklyn brand during his term.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Brooklyn Historical Society held a reception that brought together Brooklyn’s past, present and future in the presence of current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and former Borough Presidents Marty Markowitz and Howard Golden.

Former BP Golden, who held the office from 1977 to 2001, had led the borough through its less attractive decades into the early days of what’s now called Brooklyn’s Renaissance.

“To make a comeback like we did, I think, is sensational and we owe it all to all the diverse groups that came here and made it wonderful,” said Golden.

The importance of Brooklyn’s diversity, and how that diversity has helped create the Brooklyn brand that is now known throughout the country, was also emphasized by former BP Markowitz. During his term, from 2002 to 2013, Markowitz said he tried to attract businesses to the borough by building on the kinds of people and organizations that were already present. His strategy was to “take advantage of everything we got, bring it together and promote Brooklyn throughout the country.”

Current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams describes his vision for the future of Brooklyn.

Borough President Adams spoke of creating a future where all Brooklynites benefit from the borough’s success.

“It is so clear how great we are doing as a borough,” he said to the reception’s attendees. “And all must be part of this popularity. It must transform into prosperity for every Brooklynite.”

For Adams, the future of Brooklyn depends on embracing its diverse groups, as well as focusing on improving health and education of Brooklynites. “This is what we’re doing: it’s not popular, it’s not sexy, but it’s what we need.”

As for the more immediate future, the general public can now visit “The Business of Brooklyn” exhibition, which will be on display at the Brooklyn Historical Society until the end of 2018.

If you want a sneak peek of the exhibition, take a look at the photo gallery below.


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Shiloh Frederick

Shiloh Frederick reports for BK Reader. She is a recent graduate of Mount Holyoke College, where she earned an undergraduate degree in history, with a minor in journalism. Shiloh is now dedicating her...

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