120 Years of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Medieval-Style Sands Street Entrance [Photos]

A photo of the entrance circa World War II. Photo from the Brooklyn Navy Yard via amNY


    The Brooklyn Navy Yard may be undergoing massive changes, with plans to double its employment, complete its in-the-works food hall, and launch a free two-loop shuttle service, yet the more things change the more they stay the same — at least in the case of the Yard’s Sands Street entrance.

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    The Sands Street entrance in 1904. Photo via Library of Congress

    Composed of two gatehouses resembling small castles, the Sands Street entrance opened in 1896. There is no architect listed for the brick structures, although evidence points to the rectangular buildings having been designed in-house, according to the New York Times.

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    A 1906 postcard of the entrance from the Office for Metropolitan History via the New York Times

    Pictures of the medieval-style entry over the following century show largely the same design with few visible alterations until a wooden exterior was added over the two gatehouses about a half century ago. For many years, the gate served as the entrance for the tow pound which long occupied the area behind it.

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    The entrance seen in a clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1942 film Saboteur

    The entryway underwent a stunning restoration beginning in 2009, with workers taking down the entire wood skeleton, and restoring the brick and stone gatehouses to their original splendor.

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    A photo of the entrance circa World War II. Photo via Brooklyn Navy Yard via amNewYork

    A look at the pictures shows, however, that it is Navy Yard personnel who have changed the most over the years, far more than the Sands Street gate.

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    The entrance mid-renovation in 2009. Photo by Brownstoner

    brooklyn navy yard

    The Sands Street entrance mid-renovation in 2010. Photo by Brownstoner

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    The Sands Street entrance after renovation, in 2015. Photo via Brooklyn Relics

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