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Photographers Capture Brooklyn Navy Yard Industry in Grips of Winter

For some people, a visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard is like visiting a zoo — a place showing off something rare and worth preserving.  Last Saturday a group of dedicated photographers climbed aboard our bus and set about documenting the cold, damp surroundings here.  The resulting batch of photos epitomizes this industrial space and its legacy of usefulness. They not only document a physical environment, but they show a desire to learn and share a unique place.  If anything at all, the consistent interest in this — and all Brooklyn Navy Yard tours we offer in partnership with BLDG 92 — underscores the public’s growing interest in industry in urban spaces, particularly here along the New York City waterfront, where industrial spaces have become increasingly rare.

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Considering the recent “polar vortex” and the current sustained freezing that us city dwellers have endured, the weather for Saturday’s tour was balmy.  The jovial atmosphere surrounding the tour was bolstered by the energy of Randy Duchaine — the first of the five Yard-based photographers featured so far by to actually accompany the tour. And he wasn’t a passive presence on our tour – Randy clicked pictures between friendly chatter, as we all scrambled around historic Tuckahoe marble Naval Hospital, under towering cranes, and along sleek black and red fireboats to frame the right shot.  Randy’s warm personal introduction and demeanor throughout the two hours helped set a tone of curious exploration.

Rich and Cindy enjoy the scenes of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Credit: Randy Duchaine
Rich and Cindy enjoy the scenes of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Credit: Randy Duchaine

In fact, as the tour ended, he stayed with us in the lobby of BLDG 92, entertaining the Turnstile team with stories of clients and subjects all over Brooklyn. And, when it came time to round up folks for our Past, Present, & Future tour that afternoon, Randy was first in line!  For a photographer on a roll, what’s another two hours?

In addition to judging this winter’s photo contest, Randy Duchaine was recently selected by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 to participate this year in the Visiting Artist Program; he and several other artists will be working on-site at the Brooklyn Navy Yard this year in a variety of media including, but not limited to, photography, painting, performance art, and sculpture.

As we look forward to longer days with warmer sunbeams, please keep in mind the Brooklyn Navy Yard and all those special sanctuaries of industrial might.  Even though industrial areas are seemingly scarce, creative and industrious folks are all over the five boroughs creating the goods and services that make this city tick.  As these photos, and the thousands of past tour photos attest, there is something special here in the Navy Yard.  We have a place where industrial America grew up; a place where change is greeted, welcomed, and shown direction; a picturesque place where industrial promise reaches far into the future; and a place that is definitely worth preserving.

We hope you like these photos, that you share them, and that you stay tuned to see which three Randy Duchaine selects for this curiously cold winter of 2014.  And join us for our next photo tour on Saturday, April 19!

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The post was authored by Rich Garr.

Turnstile Tours offers the Seasonal Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard four times throughout the year in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92.  The next tour of the 2014 season will be Saturday, April 19 at 11am.  Get more information here, and advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.  We also offer our Past, Present & Future Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard every Saturday and Sunday 2-4pm, and other special themed tours of the Yard. 

All tours are offered in partnership with and begin at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, which offers free admission to three floors of exhibitions on the yard’s past, present, and future,  the Ted & Honey rooftop cafe, and a host of great special events and programs.