Saving the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Timber Shed

Photo showing the Timber Shed in the forground with Admirals Row to the right and the Brooklyn Navy Yard behind.

For the first time in 175 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Timber Shed has emerged from behind a wall, and it is being prepared for a new life. One of the oldest buildings at the Yard, it is one of the few few surviving structures that represents the Yard’s early history of wooden shipbuilding. 

Actually, the Timber Shed represents the whole purpose and justification for creating the Navy Yard in the first place. When Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert purchased 40 acres of land in Brooklyn 1801, he used appropriations for the purchase of timber, claiming that the Navy needed secure places to store it; otherwise, he was just wasting money moving the government-owned timber to the private shipyards that were building the ships. With this creative interpretation of the law, he created six shipyards that would be at the core of the US Navy for the next 160 years. In those other five Navy Yards (Portsmouth, Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Washington), none still have an extant timber shed.>> Continue reading

New York Times: After the Launching (and Scrapping) of Navy Ships, a New Mission

New York Times, December 26, 2017

by C.J. Hughes

Three other federally owned naval yards — in Kittery, Me.; Portsmouth, Va.; and Washington — have more traditional maritime uses.

“One of the great things about the redevelopment of the Navy yards is that there’s been so much preservation of the historic character,” said Andrew Gustafson, who has led tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard since 2010. “The history’s a selling point. It makes the place unique and attractive.”

A visit helps convey the vastness of Kearny’s shipbuilding operation, which at its peak during World War II churned out a finished ship every six days courtesy of 35,000 employees, according to Hugo Neu.

>> Read more

Archtober Podcast: Brooklyn Grange Farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Throughout AIA NY’s Archtober – New York Architecture Month – each day has a “Building of the Day,” which is highlighted with tours and other programming. This year, three of the 29 featured sites are located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, including New Lab, the Naval Cemetery Landscape, and on October 3, the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm. As part of the celebration, our own Andrew Gustafson sat down with Grange COO Gwen Schantz to talk about the farm and the history of the building it sits on, the massive Building 3.

In this 5-minute conversation, they discussed the construction of Building 3 during the height of World War I, past and current uses of the building, and how and why the Grange built their 1.5-acre farm on this 11-story structure. The podcast is featured on Culture Now’s Museum Without Walls project.>> Continue reading

Guide to Open House New York 2016

The inside of a metal fabrication shop, a fork lift drives down the center of the space

Open House New York Weekend is always one of our favorite times of year, when hundreds of sites open their doors to the public on October 15 and 16. We don’t get to see as much as we’d like, however, as we’re almost always working – many of our partner sites are also very active participants in OHNY. This year, both the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal will be open, with more to see than ever before. Here’s a quick guide to visiting during OHNY.>> Continue reading

Food Manufacturing Hub Opens at Brooklyn Army Terminal

Masaki and Yukimi Momose have been making their Japanese-style salad dressings for more than three years, but now, they are finally making it in a space they can call their own. Their company, MOMO Dressing, is the first tenant in the Brooklyn Army Terminal’s Annex, a former administration building for the military complex that is now being reinvented as a center of food manufacturing.

MOMO held their grand opening on August 10 with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which spent $15 million renovating the 55,000-square-foot building. Also in attendance was another food manufacturer who calls the Terminal home – chocolatier Jacques Torres.>> Continue reading

Naval Cemetery Landscape Opens to Public at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Our friends at the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) achieved a great milestone Friday when they officially opened the Naval Cemetery Landscape at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The beautifully designed 1.7-acre green space is publicly accessible along the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a landscaped bicycle and pedestrian path that, when completed, will run 27 miles from Greenpoint to Jamaica Bay. One of 130 green spaces funded by TKF Foundation’s Open Spaces Sacred Places program, the Naval Cemetery Landscape serves as a remembrance of the site’s rich and poignant history as a once-forgotten military cemetery, while creating a new and vibrant ecological sanctuary where we can all take a moment to escape urban clutter and reflect in nature.>> Continue reading

Well Made, Well Done: Inside Industry with Bien Hecho

We recently had the opportunity to visit a unique business in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that will be a featured tenant on our Inside Industry Tour series, Bien Hecho, a woodworking outfit that specializes in making furniture, millwork, cabinetry, and other custom carpentry from reclaimed and sustainably-sourced wood. Founder John Randall sat down with us to talk about their business making beautiful work, and the Bien Hecho Academy.

Bien Hecho was founded by John nine years ago. Inspired by his travels to Spanish-speaking countries, and his efforts to master the language as an adult, John strives to live up to both meanings of his company’s name – create well-made (hecho bien) projects, and do a job well done (bien hecho). Located inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 3, their workshop is filled with wood and machinery that you won’t find in most of the other shops clustered in this part of the building. With a small team of just two full-time staff and a few part-timers, the company has nevertheless taken on some big and beautiful projects.>> Continue reading

Longtime Yard Photographer John Bartelstone to Judge Fall Photo Tour

Each season, we offer a special opportunity for photographers to explore the Brooklyn Navy Yard with us. Our next Seasonal Photography Tour is taking place this Saturday, October 10 at 11am, departing from BLDG 92

For this special tour, we’ll be exploring the industrial and maritime features of the waterfront at the Yard, including close-up views of the many ships that are currently berthed at the Yard awaiting repairs, a pier that will soon be redeveloped for new construction, and the landmark 1851 dry dock. Unlike previous tours, we will not be visiting the Naval Hospital Campus, though you can still step inside the 1838 building until October 24 as part of a special art exhibition there following the tour.>> Continue reading

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s Naval Cemetery Landscape

With all the major development projects underway at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (the Green Manufacturing Center, Wegman’s, Building 77, Steiner Studios expansion – the list goes on …), it is easy to forget a very exciting, if comparatively modest, project in a quiet corner of the Yard.

For the last several years, the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative has been working to transform a portion of the Yard into a publicly-accessible greenspace. After years of planning, construction is now well underway of the Naval Cemetery Landscape, built on the site of the former Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery. Located at the corner of Williamsburg St West and Kent Ave, this park will be a beautiful pocket of nature and civic history along the planned Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 14-mile bicycle and pedestrian path which will run from Greenpoint all the way to Bay Ridge.>> Continue reading