Normally visitors can’t roam around the Navy Yard and take pictures of interesting industrial history, but this weekend, you’ll get a chance to explore and photograph a few of its fascinating closed sites. Participants in the winter photography tour will get to see the 19th-century Navy Hospital campus, the World War II-era pier that offers views of Wallabout Bay and a functioning dry dock used for ship repairs.
Sadly, the tour won’t allow access inside these buildings, and don’t expect to get anywhere near the dilapidated houses in Admiral’s Row. Turnstile Tours is leading the tour, which costs $30 per person. And anyone on the tour can score free tickets to another Navy Yard tour by entering the Yard’s Instagram photo contest. You can buy tickets here, and it begins at 11 am tomorrow morning.
More than a year after Blumenfeld Development Group was chosen to build the $100 million Admiral’s Row supermarket and shopping center in the Navy Yard, nonprofit manager Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. has jettisoned the developer, Crain’s reported.
Blumenfeld failed to hold up its end of the contract, according to a statement released by the Navy Yard Development Corp. Blumenfeld said increased insurance and construction costs resulting from FEMA’s revised flood zones made the project untenable. The retail center, pictured above, was supposed to break ground this year.
Blumenfeld is the second developer to be axed from the project. In 2011, PA Associates was dropped because its head was accused of bribery concerning another project.
The Navy Yard Development Corp. said it is still committed to the project, which will have 125,000 square feet of industrial space and 86,000 square feet of retail space, as well as the 74,000 square-foot supermarket. The supermarket has not yet been picked either. Blumenfeld was slated to break ground on the development this year.
The Navy Yard has started reinforcing two of the 12 decaying historic buildings on Admiral’s Row as part of the project, said the story. The Navy Yard currently has 300 tenants and employs about 6,400 people there, “double the number employed there in 2001,” said Crain’s.
Name: Marine Commandant’s House, Brooklyn Navy Yard, now BLDG 92 Address: 63 Flushing Avenue Cross Streets: Carlton Avenue Neighborhood: Fort Greene Year Built: Original building, 1857, new addition and BLDG 92 complex, 2012 Architectural Style: Original building, Italianate Architect: Original Marine Commandant’s house — Thomas U. Walter. BLDG 92 rehab and addition — Beyer Blinder Belle Other works by architect: Walter — fourth architect of US Capitol. BBB — recent projects: Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, Lincoln Center Promenade, Morgan Library, all Manhattan, as well as many, many more. Landmarked: No
The story: The Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of those places that not only defines Brooklyn, but helps define American history. That’s why it’s always been such a shame that for the longest time, since its decommission in 1966, the historic legacy of the Yard has remained shut away behind guarded iron gates and tall fencing. Passersby could see bits and pieces of the historic buildings that make up the Yard, but with the exception of an occasional tour, it was off-limits to the general public. Of course, if you worked at one of the many businesses in the Yard, you got to see more of it, but that still left most of us on the other side of the fence, literally.
There were always two Navy Yards, the first being the 19th century Naval Yard that served a fledgling US Navy since 1801. It saw the building and manning of the ships that protected the US during the War of 1812, and launched the Union vessels, including the iron-clad Monitor, during the Civil War. The 19th century produced some of the Yard’s most beautiful buildings, including hospital buildings, barracks, shipyard buildings, and housing for those who commanded the Yard, including the Naval Commandant, the Admiral’s Row officer’s houses and this, the Marine Commandant’s house. (more…)
We happened to catch this art installation, “Silent Lights,” under the BQE at Park Avenue and Navy Street just outside the Navy Yard when we passed by recently. Readers of this blog will remember the concept: Sound energy from traffic is converted into glowing light. Valeria Bianco and Shagun Singh of Artist Build Collaborative originally designed the walk-through piece for an intersection under the Gowanus Expressway in Red Hook.
Carnegie Mellon yesterday announced it will open a 16,000-square-foot science campus in Steiner Studios in the Navy Yard, The New York Times reported. The program will focus on technology and the arts, and include master’s degree programs in game design and emerging media, computational data science, and production technology and management for urban design.
The address of the program will be 25 Washington Avenue, “a historic seven-story building that will also house the Brooklyn College Graduate School of Cinema,” said the Times.
The program is slated to open in August 2015 and will cost $20 million, including $3.5 promised by New York City. David Steiner, the father of Steiner Studios’ chairman, is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon and helped with the project.
The city Department of Transportation is working with artists and architects to install a series of light-up archways at a BQE underpass at Navy Street and Park Avenue, just south of the Navy Yard. Pedestrians will be able to walk through the glowing light boxes, called Silent Lights, which will convert sound energy from traffic — picked up via microphones — to light. Valeria Bianco and Shagun Singh of Artist Build Collaborative are designing the project, which was originally created for an intersection underneath the Gowanus Expressway in Red Hook. Commodore Barry Park and the Walt Whitman and Ingersoll housing projects flank either side of the installation site, where construction will start on November 11. Singh and Bianco hope Silent Lights will be open November 22 and stay up until November 2014. GMAP
The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative has secured $882,000 in City Council capital funding, rounding out the money needed to create a 1.7-acre park in the former Brooklyn Naval Hospital cemetery. The BGI and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Corporation will landscape the site, which is on Williamsburg Street West between Kent and Flushing Avenues. The park will be “planted exclusively with native grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs and is being designed to provide the experience of being completely enveloped in nature,” according to BGI. Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects are designing it and released their renderings, pictured above, last year. BGI secured the first part of the funding in 2012 — $560,000 from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and $600,000 from TKF Foundation. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring of 2014.
Steiner Studios, NYC’s largest movie studio complex, presented plans Wednesday night at a community board meeting to expand its empire by building six more stages on a vacant lot in the Navy Yard. They plan to construct six 16,000-square-foot sound stages at the northeast end of the Navy Yard, on a lot, above, bounded by Clymer Avenue to the north, Keap Street to the south, Kent to the east and Wallabout to the west.
And they want to build a New York City street backlot to help alleviate traffic problems and inconveniences caused by production companies filming in Brooklyn neighborhoods. Steiner also plans create a noise barrier by “artistically” stacking the shipping containers already on the lot and interspersing them with landscaping. See the rendering after the jump for an idea of what this might look like on Kent Avenue.
A couple of years ago, there was talk of putting retail in this spot. The auto auctions were cleared out from here several months ago. Construction of the new sound stages will bring an estimated 500 construction jobs to the area and roughly 600 permanent jobs, according to the movie studio. In addition, they will offer opportunities to students at the Brooklyn College Graduate School of Film under construction around the corner at 25 Washington Avenue, which is slated to welcome its first class in 2015.
Just up the road in south Williamsburg is 500 Kent Avenue, the site of a former power plant the state is decontaminating. It will likely become apartment buildings, as we reported earlier this week. (more…)
If you’re going to be stuck in your un-airconditioned apartment for Labor Day weekend, try out this cool new urban ecology tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was highlighted by Gothamist. You’ll get to visit the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm, where they produce 20,000 pounds of vegetables every year, as well as honey and eggs. Tour guides will also show you around the old Naval Hospital campus, where you’ll learn to identify local birds, insects, plants and trees. Bikers will also hear about a planned park that will become part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.
The tour is Sunday, September 1 from 3 pm to 5 pm, and tickets are $29 per person. Check out BLDG 92, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center, for more information.
When we passed by the Timber Shed in the Navy Yard recently, the roof was gone. In May, the building was stripped down to the rafters, beams and posts while they reinforced the structure. But it looks like the brick sides are going back up. The frame structure peeking over the top appears to be scaffolding. The Navy Yard is rebuilding this historic building brick by brick.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the non-profit that manages the industrial park, is getting a new president. David Ehrenberg, who is currently an executive vice president at the city’s Economic Development Corporation, will take over the organization that runs the 300 acre, city-owned industrial park. According to a release put out by the organization, “Mr. Ehrenberg and his team will oversee the development of more than one million square feet of new industrial space within the Yard, upgrading the Yard’s infrastructure, in addition to leasing and promoting local economic development through the Yard’s employment programs.” Prior to his current job, Ehrenberg was a co-head of the real estate transaction services group at the EDC and had coordinated a microenterprise program at South Brooklyn Legal Services. Thanks in part to a $250 million investment from the city, the Navy Yard has 4.5 million square feet of leasable space and and employment there has grown from 3,600 in 2001 to 6,400 today. The organization expects to create another 1.8 million square feet of space that will employ an additional 2,500 people over the next two years.
The TKF Foundation, a group based in Maryland that provides funds for open spaces, just awarded $1,014,000 to the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative to convert the former Brooklyn Naval Hospital cemetery into a publicly accessible open space. The grant is one of six the Foundation has awarded across the country as part of its Open Spaces Sacred Places Program. The BGI will work with Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, which controls the site, to develop the landscape. Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects are in charge of the design; here are initial renderings the firms released last year. And here’s the goal for the space itself:
When completed, visitors will be able to enter from the greenway and experience a native wildflower meadow surrounded by trees. The wildflowers and warm-season grasses have been selected by Nelson Byrd Woltz for their benefit to wildlife including, birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators. A goal of the design is to create a contrast with the built environment by enveloping visitors in nature and focusing their minds on their immediate experience of abundant and indefatigable life activity.
BGI is also planning programming at the old cemetery. They’ll work with two community partners, The Green School and Brooklyn Housing and Community Services, to research the benefits of nature for members of a city.
Now the BGI is waiting to see what the elected officials put in the 2014 capital budget to complete the funding for the project. If it is funded, they will complete design this fall and break ground in the spring. And then it should be completed by the end of next year. Envisioning a New Park by the Navy Yard [Brownstoner] Rendering via Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects