Checking In On The Purchase Building Demolition

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We’ll always be a little surprised that the LPC left the Purchase Building, built in 1936 underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, out to dry, but it did, and the demolition is now in full swing. The cleared space will become part of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
LPC Puts Another Nail in Purchase Bldg’s Coffin [Brownstoner]

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  • I guess we all have our little pet buildings. I’ve never cared much if they knocked down Admiral’s Row and I couldn’t care less that Between The Bridges is gone. But I always liked this building. I still don’t understand why it wasn’t landmarked.

  • Yes, it is shocking that they arent trying to protect an essentially cookie cutter art-deco warehouse building, that isnt very old, has similar versions all over and blocks a FAR more historic view from under the FAR more significant landmark. (oh and is completely out of context to its 19th century surroundings)

    Absolutely shocking!!!!!

  • I’ve always hated this building. it will be lovely to be able to walk under the bridge instead of around everything.

  • Interesting comment Rookie. I’ve always been surprised that anyone was fighting for this building. The only interesting thing about it to me is the cool art-deco lintel (which I believe they are actually saving). The whole Admirals Row situation is heartbreaking that the feds let the buildings deteriorate so much that it’s even gotten to this point. But I REALLY miss Between the Bridges. I loved that bar, and the Boymelgreen monstrosity that went up in its place just adds insult to injury.

  • @Make My Heights the P Heights

    Don’t get be wrong – the Beacon is terrible (although people who live there seem to like it), and I spent many a pleasant evening at the bar. But holding on to a longshoreman bar after the longshoreman are gone is, to me at least, the worst of nostalgia and the height of anti-progress. It’s time had passed. At best, it would have become another “theme dive-bar,” with lawyers drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon. Better it become a nice memory for original DUMBO homesteaders.

    But there you go – different strokes. I probably shouldn’t have been so cavailer about Admiral’s Row, though. I think it would be nice to save it. But for some reason, it doesn;t get my blood boiling.

  • I’m casting my vote with the people who actually liked this building–but its location was problematic–at least since the DUMBO waterfront became desirable. The building kept you from being able to travel directly between the park and Fulton Landing without walking along or in the street. At least this demolition represents progress toward finally building the park.


    The Parks Department doesn’t actually have plans for what is going to be placed there. There will be a building of some kind there though, it actually isn’t safe to walk there without a solid roof cover (debris from the bridge falls off).

  • Although this is hardly the finest Art Moderne building in New York City, here’s some other ways to look at the demolition:

    1. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation plans on constructing new buildings in the park. Will those buildings be more attractive than what it is tearing down? Personnaly, I doubt it. And, adaptively reusing an existing building is “greener” and less costly.

    2. Contrary to what Boxermonkey wrote at 2:30, the current (admittedly tentative) plans for this area is an open plaza, possibly for use as farmer’s market in warmer months and a skating rink in the winter. The roof of the Purchase Building is littered with debris that fell from the Brooklyn Bridge. Under the current scenario, anything falling from the bridge will potentially hit park visitors.

    3. The designers of the park have noted that the Brooklyn Bridge Park will be windy. The Purchase Building provides a wind break mid-park.

    When I consider all of these factors, I believe that it would have been wiser to keep at least the front portion of the Purchase Building. I also understand that it is hard to resist the tabla rasa approach to planning and design.

  • mediocre building.
    terrible location.
    kudos to the grown-ups at the landmarks commission
    who bucked the “never change anything” crowd.
    the historic open space will be restored here and it will be
    amazing, transformative.

  • Since the Purchase building is so out of what is notmally my taste range I still have to say I liked the building and thought its location was a very classic NYC juxtaposition. I always got the feeling of the Bridge looming over the buildings at its foot like a mother hen protecting her brood (ok ok- I know) but somehow the industrial, blocky look of the Purchase building always worked for me with the massive stonework of the bridge. I guess I always loved the messy, hurly-burly, uncoordinated look of the waterfront- but more and more people seem to prefer the plasticized disney-theme park look and that’s happening all over NYC. In a few years NYC will be theme park parody of itself. Looks the same, but wait- the faux graffiti is painted on a removable canvas wall so we can “change the look” for our guests. Just my opinion.