Preservation Groups Sound Admirals Row Alarm

Although the Timber Shed and Building B are set to be preserved and restored by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the transfer of Admirals Row from the U.S. Army National Guard Bureau could take a year or more. Given the Federal Government’s track record of inaction in recent decades, two New York City preservation groups are calling for special measures to be taken to ensure that the buildings don’t decay beyond the point of no return in the meantime. The Municipal Art Society is deeply concerned that a heavy snow this winter could cause irreparable damage to the Timber Shed, said Vin Cipolla, president of MAS. The Timber Shed, which once housed wooden ship masts, is the only remaining building of its type in the nation, and it is of exceptional national significance. Once stabilized, the building is imminently reusable and would contribute tremendously to the sense of place and urban design of this development project. The New York Landmarks Conservancy couldn’t agree more. “The National Guard has been woefully negligent of its duty and promises to stabilize and preserve the Timber Shed,” said Peg Breen, the Conservancy’s president. “Now that preservation engineer Robert Silman has determined that the building can be stabilized and eventually reused,” she added,” the National Guard must protect the Shed from potential damage this winter.”

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  • I have no idea how they are going to “preserve” the timber shed without tearing it down and rebuilding a replica.

    The thing looks like it passed the point of no return a decade ago

  • A replica is a no-no under the creaky and overly pedantic federal historic preservation standards written in the 1960’s -so it’s restoration or nothing.
    I hope the National Guard is more competent than the impression they are giving here -but somehow I doubt it.

  • The National Guard has no money for this. Better it get turned over to the Navy yard and have them do it. In general they have been a good neighbor…

  • Seems to me, to protect it from the elements they could build a simple shelter to cover the roof, basically a really big car port, with a corregated tin roof. The materials are as common as to be found at Home Depot, and a competent building crew could build it in a few days. It’s not rocket science, or the Sistine Chapel. Just remember to pitch the roof for snow and rain run-off.

    This would enable a more nuanced shoring up without the threat of winter tumbling the whole thing down, which certainly is a possibility. But no, that’s too easy, better to debate the issue until the day it collapses, and then do the “I told you it was too far gones”. We’re supposed to have a cold and wintery winter this year.

  • I agree with smeyer. The National Guard should complete what it needs to (appraisal, preservation MOU) with haste, like yesterday, and immediately turn over the responsibility of preserving the Timber Shed to BNYDC and its designated developer. I direct Navy Yard cynics to the recent renderings for the Sands Street Gate as evidence of their commitment to preservation.

  • I’m all for preserving pieces of historical significance, I really am.

    But… is a timber shed really of “exceptional national significance”?? This is a building that stored ship masts. I honestly don’t get it.

  • Agree w Montrose.

    Also, our exterior parlor floor threshold seems to be in the same dire situation. Too late to paint though.

  • It is the only 19th century naval timber storage shed left in the country.
    It is a reminder of the days when US Naval ships were made of wood and relied on sails to get them where they were going. It is a fascinating piece of history and it is beautifully designed as well. If it can be saved, it will be a great coup for Brooklyn.