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Brooklyn Navy Yard
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Navy Yard, Brooklyn. New York. 1918 - NH 117794.jpg
Aerial photo taken in 1918
Type Shipyard
Site information
Controlled by United States Navy
Site history
Built 1801
In use 1806–1966
Brooklyn Navy Yard Historic District
Brooklyn Navy Yard is located in New York City
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Location in New York City
Brooklyn Navy Yard is located in New York
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Location in New York
Brooklyn Navy Yard is located in the United States
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Location in the United States
Location Navy Street and Flushing and Kent Avenues
Brooklyn, New York
Area 225.15 acres (91.11 ha)
Built 1801
Architectural style Early Republic, Mid-19th Century, Late Victorian, Modern Movement
NRHP reference No. 14000261
Added to NRHP May 22, 2014

The Brooklyn Navy Yard (originally known as the New York Navy Yard) is a shipyard and industrial complex located in northwest Brooklyn in New York City, New York. The Navy Yard is located on the East River in Wallabout Bay, a semicircular bend of the river across from Corlears Hook in Manhattan. It is bounded by Navy Street to the west, Flushing Avenue to the south, Kent Avenue to the east, and the East River on the north. The site, which covers 225.15 acres (91.11 ha), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was established in 1801. From the early 1810s through the 1960s, it was an active shipyard for the United States Navy, and was also known as the United States Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn and New York Naval Shipyard at various points in its history. The Brooklyn Navy Yard produced wooden ships for the U.S. Navy through the 1870s, and steel ships after the American Civil War in the 1860s.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard has been expanded several times, and at its peak, it covered over 356 acres (1.44 km2). The efforts of its 75,000 workers during World War II earned the yard the nickname "The Can-Do Shipyard". The Navy Yard was deactivated as a military installation in 1966, but continued to be used by private industries. The facility now houses an industrial and commercial complex run by the New York City government, both related to shipping repairs and maintenance and as office and manufacturing space for non-maritime industries.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard includes dozens of structures, some of which date to the 19th century. The Brooklyn Naval Hospital, a medical complex on the east side of the Brooklyn Navy Yard site, served as the yard's hospital from 1838 until 1948. Dry Dock 1, one of six dry docks at the yard, was completed in 1851 and is listed as a New York City designated landmark. Former structures include Admiral's Row, a grouping of officers' residences at the west end of the yard, which was torn down in 2016 to accommodate new construction. Several new buildings were built in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as part of the city-run commercial and industrial complex. A commandant's residence, also a National Historic Landmark, is located away from the main navy yard's site. The FDNY's Marine Operations Division and their fireboats are located at Building 292.



USS Enterprise (1874) at the New York Navy Yard
The screw sloop-of-war USS Enterprise docked at the shipyard, circa 1890
USS Oregon in dry dock, 1898
USS Oregon in the Yard in 1898
USS Texas LOC det.4a15442u
USS Texas in the Yard circa 1903
USS Connecticut and Nebraska in the yard in 1909

Following the American Revolution, the waterfront site was used to build merchant vessels. Federal authorities purchased the old docks and 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land for $40,000 in 1801, and the property became an active U.S. Navy shipyard five years later, in 1806. The offices, storehouses and barracks were constructed of handmade bricks, and the yard's oldest structure (located in Vinegar Hill), the 1807 federal style commandant's house, was designed by Charles Bulfinch, architect of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. Many officers were housed in Admiral's Row.

Military chain of command was strictly observed. During the yard's construction of Robert Fulton's steam frigate, Fulton, launched in 1815, the year of Fulton's death, the Navy Yard's chief officers were listed as: Captain Commandant, Master Commandant, Lieutenant of the Yard, Master of the Yard, Surgeon of the Yard & Marine Barracks, Purser of the Navy Yard, Naval Storekeeper, Naval Constructor, and a major commanding the Marine Corps detachment.

The nation's first ironclad ship, Monitor, was fitted with its revolutionary iron cladding at the Continental Iron Works in nearby Greenpoint. By the American Civil War, the yard had expanded to employ about 6000 men. In 1890, the ill-fated Maine was launched from the yard's ways.

On the eve of World War II, the yard contained more than five miles (8 km) of paved streets, four drydocks ranging in length from 326 to 700 feet (99 to 213 meters), two steel shipways, and six pontoons and cylindrical floats for salvage work, barracks for marines, a power plant, a large radio station, and a railroad spur, as well as the expected foundries, machine shops, and warehouses. In 1937, the battleship North Carolina was laid down. In 1938, the yard employed about 10,000 men, of whom one-third were Works Progress Administration workers. The battleship Iowa was completed in 1942 followed by the Missouri, which became the site of the Surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945. On 12 January 1953, test operations began on Antietam, which emerged in December 1952 from the yard as America's first angled-deck aircraft carrier.

At its peak, during World War II, the yard employed 70,000 people, 24 hours a day.

During World War II, the pedestrian walkways on the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges spanning the East River offered a good overhead view of the navy yard, and were therefore encased to prevent espionage.

Brooklyn Naval Hospital

The Brooklyn Naval Hospital, constructed 1830–38 and rebuilt 1841–43, was decommissioned in the mid-1970s. It was one of the oldest naval hospitals in the United States. The 60,000-square-foot complex was designed by Martin E. Thompson. The hospital had its beginning in 1825 when the Secretary of the Navy purchased 25 acres adjacent to the Brooklyn Naval Yard. The hospital was active from the Civil War through World War II with the Navy Surgeon General reporting in 1864 an average of 229 patients, with 2,135 treated during the year. The hospital also counted on its staff some of first female nurses and medical students in the United States Navy.

Closure and commercial usage

Brooklyn Navy Yard main gate
Clinton Avenue gate

A study initiated by the Department of Defense under Robert S. McNamara in late 1963 sought to accomplish savings through the closure of unneeded or excess military installations, especially naval ship yards. On November 19, 1964, based on the study, the closure of the navy yard was announced, along with the Army's Fort Jay on Governors Island and its Brooklyn Army Terminal, all to take effect by 1966. At the time, the yard employed 10,600 civilian employees and 100 military personnel with an annual payroll of about US$90 million. The closure was anticipated to save about 18.1 million dollars annually.

Seymour Melmen, an engineering economist at the Columbia University Graduate School of Engineering, looked into the plight of the shipyard workers at the NYNS and came up with a detailed plan for converting the then naval shipyard into a commercial shipyard which could have saved most of the skilled shipyard jobs. The plan was never put in place. The Wagner Administration looked to the auto industry to build a car plant inside the yard. No U.S. car manufacturer was interested, and foreign car manufacturers claimed that with the conversion of the dollar, it was too expensive. The Navy decommissioned the yard in 1966, after the completion of the Austin-class amphibious transport dock USS Duluth. The Johnson administration refused to sell the yard to the City of New York for 18 months. When the new Nixon administration came into power, they signed the papers to sell the yard to the city. Leases were signed inside the yard even before the sale to the city was signed.

Ryerson Avenue gate of Brooklyn Navy Yard
Base housing at Ryerson Avenue gate

In 1967, Seatrain Shipbuilding, which was wholly owned by Seatrain Lines, signed a lease with the Commerce Labor Industry Corporation of Kings (CLICK) which was established as a nonprofit body to run the yard for the city. CLICK's lease with the newly formed Seatrain Shipbuilding was not very business friendly. Seatrain planned to build five very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and seven container ships for Seatrain Lines. It eventually built four VLCCs (the largest ships ever to be built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard), eight barges, and one ice-breaker barge. The last ship to be built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard was the VLCC Bay Ridge, built by Seatrain Shipbuilding. In 1977, Bay Ridge was converted from a VLCC to a floating production storage offtake vessel. Bay Ridge was renamed Kuito and is operating for Chevron off of the coast of Angola in 400 meters of water in the Kuito oil field. Employment inside the yard peaked in 1976, with nearly 6,000 workers with Seatrain Shipbuilding and Coastal Dry Dock and Repair accounting for 80% of the employment.

In 1979, Seatrain Lines closed its gates, ending the history of Brooklyn shipbuilding. In 1972, Coastal Dry Dock and Repair Corp leased the three small dry docks and several buildings inside the yard from CLICK. Coastal Drydock only repaired and converted US Navy vessels, and closed in 1987. CLICK had been replaced by the nonprofit Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation in 1981. By 1987, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation failed in all attempts to lease any of the six dry docks and buildings to any shipbuilding or ship-repair company.

Current usage


The NYNS has become an area of private manufacturing and commercial activity. Today, more than 200 businesses operate at the yard and employ about 5,000 people. Brooklyn Grange Farms operates a 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) commercial farm on top of Building 3. Steiner Studios is one of the yard's more prominent tenants with one of the largest production studios outside of Los Angeles. Many artists also lease space and have established an association called Brooklyn Navy Yard Arts.

During the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders held a debate at the Navy Yard. Clinton later held her victory party at the Navy Yard once she clinched the party's nomination.

The NYNS has undertaken a number of construction and renovation projects to expand. The 250,000-square-foot Green Manufacturing Center will be completed in spring of 2016. A renovation of the 1,000,000-square-foot BLDG 77 should be complete in 2016. Construction of Dock 72, a 675,000-square-foot office building, is scheduled to begin in 2015 and to be available in 2017.

The NYNS has three piers and a total of 10 berths ranging from 350 to 890 feet (270 m) long, with ten-foot deck height and 25 to 40 feet (7 to 12 m) of depth alongside. The drydocks are now operated by GMD Shipyard Corp. A federal project maintains a channel depth of 35 ft (10 m) from Throggs Neck to the yard, about two mi (3 km) from the western entrance, and thence 40 ft (12 m) of depth to the deep water in the Upper Bay. Currents in the East River can be strong, and congestion heavy. Access to the piers requires passage under the Manhattan Bridge (a suspension span with a clearance of 134 feet (41 m) and the Brooklyn Bridge (a suspension span with a clearance of 127 feet (39 m).

Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92

BLDG 92 BNY jeh
Building 92 museum

In November 2011, Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, a museum dedicated to the yard's history and future, opened. A program of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the center offers exhibits, public tours, educational programs, archival resources, and workforce development services.

The museum's main exhibit focuses on the history of the NYNS and its impact on American industry, technology, innovation, and manufacturing, as well as national and New York City's labor, politics, education, and urban and environmental planning. Also, displays and videos about the new businesses in the facility are seen.

Historic buildings

In 2014, the entire yard was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, and certain buildings have also been given landmark status. Quarters A, the commander's quarters building, is a National Historic Landmark. The Navy Yard Hospital Building (R95) and Surgeon's Residence (R1) are both designated as NYC Landmark buildings. A report commissioned by the National Guard suggests that the entirety of the Admiral's Row property meets the eligibility criteria for inclusion on the National Register. Admiral's Row has fallen into disrepair and has sparked a landmarks debate.

A bronze marker on the nearby Brooklyn Bridge contains a section commemorating the history of the shipyard, mentioning several of the notable ships that were built there, including Maine, Missouri, and the last ship constructed there, Duluth.

Commandants (1806–1945)

  1. Lieutenant Jonathan Thorn, 1 June 1806 – 13 July 1807
  2. Captain Isaac Chauncey, 13 July 1807 – 16 May 1813
  3. Captain Samuel Evans, 16 May 1813 – 2 June 1824
  4. Commander George W. Rodgers, 2 June 1824 – 21 December 1824
  5. Captain Isaac Chauncey, 21 December 1824 – 10 June 1833
  6. Captain Charles G. Ridgeley, 10 June 1833 – 19 November 1839
  7. Captain James Renshaw, 19 November 1839 – 12 June 1841
  8. Captain Matthew C. Perry, 12 June 1841 – 15 July 1843
  9. Captain Silas H. Stringham, 15 July 1843 – 1 October 1846
  10. Captain Isaac McKeever, 1 October 1846 – 1 October 1849
  11. Captain William D. Salter, 1 October 1849 – 14 October 1852
  12. Captain Charles Boardman, 14 October 1852 – 1 October 1855
  13. Captain Abraham Bigelow, 1 October 1855 – 8 June 1857
  14. Captain Lawrence Kearny, 8 June 1857 – 1 November 1858
  15. Captain Samuel L. Breese, 1 November 1858 – 25 October 1861
  16. Captain Hiram Paulding, 25 October 1861 – 1 May 1865
  17. Commodore Charles H. Bell, 1 May 1865 – 1 May 1868
  18. Rear Admiral Sylvanus W. Godon, 1 May 1868 – 15 October 1870
  19. Rear Admiral Melancton Smith, 15 October 1870 – 1 June 1872
  20. Vice Admiral Stephen Clegg Rowan, 1 June 1872 – 1 September 1876
  21. Commodore James W. Nicholson, 1 September 1876 – 1 May 1880
  22. Commodore George H. Cooper, 1 May 1880 – 1 April 1882
  23. Commodore John H. Upshur, 1 April 1882 – 31 March 1884
  24. Commodore Thomas S. Fillebrown, 31 March 1884 – 31 December 1884
  25. Commodore Ralph Chandler, 31 December 1884 – 15 October 1886
  26. Commodore Bancroft Gherardi, 15 October 1886 – 15 February 1889
  27. Captain Francis M. Ramsay, 15 February 1889 – 14 November 1889
  28. Rear Admiral Daniel L. Braine, 14 November 1889 – 20 May 1891
  29. Commodore Henry Erben, 20 May 1891 – 1 June 1893
  30. Rear Admiral Bancroft Gherardi, 1 June 1893 – 22 November 1894
  31. Commodore Montgomery Sicard, 22 November 1894 – 1 May 1897
  32. Commodore Francis M. Bunce, 1 May 1897 – 14 January 1899
  33. Commodore John Woodward Philip, 14 January 1899 – 17 July 1900
  34. Rear Admiral Albert S. Barker, 17 July 1900 – 1 April 1903
  35. Rear Admiral Frederick Rodgers, 1 April 1903 – 3 October 1904
  36. Rear Admiral Joseph B. Coghlan, 3 October 1904 – 1 June 1907
  37. Rear Admiral Caspar F. Goodrich, 1 June 1907 – 15 May 1909
  38. Captain Joseph B. Murdock, 15 May 1909 – 21 March 1910
  39. Captain Lewis Sayre Van Duzer, April 1910 - July 1913
  40. Rear Admiral Eugene H. C. Leutze, 21 March 1910 – 6 June 1912
  41. Captain Albert Gleaves, 6 June 1912 – 28 September 1914
  42. Rear Admiral Nathaniel R. Usher, 28 September 1914 – 25 February 1918
  43. Rear Admiral John D. McDonald, 28 September 1914 – 1 July 1921
  44. Rear Admiral Carl T. Vogelgesang, 1 July 1921 – 27 November 1922
  45. Rear Admiral Charles P. Plunkett, 27 November 1922 – 16 February 1928
  46. Captain Frank Lyon, 16 February 1928 – 2 July 1928
  47. Rear Admiral Louis R. de Steiguer, 2 July 1928 – 18 March 1931
  48. Rear Admiral William W. Phelps, 18 March 1931 – 30 June 1933
  49. Rear Admiral Yates Stirling, Jr., 30 June 1933 – 9 March 1936
  50. Captain Frederick L. Oliver, 9 March 1936 – 20 April 1936
  51. Rear Admiral Harris L. Laning, 20 April 1936 – 24 September 1937
  52. Rear Admiral Clark H. Woodward, 1 October 1937 – 1 March 1941
  53. Rear Admiral Edward J. Marquart, 2 June 1941 – 2 June 1943
  54. Rear Admiral Monroe R. Kelly, 2 June 1943 – 5 December 1944
  55. Rear Admiral Freeland A. Daubin, 5 December 1944 – 25 November 1945

In popular culture

  • The New York Naval Shipyard is featured in the 2008 video game Tom Clancy's EndWar, as a playable battlefield. In the game, the NYNS is constructing a new aircraft carrier called the USS Reagan.
  • The shipyard is featured in 2000 video game Deus Ex, as a playable level in which the protagonist must scuttle a freighter docked at the base.
  • The NYNS is parodied in the 2008 video game, Grand Theft Auto IV, where the game's version of the shipyards is known as the Broker Navy Yard.
  • A Harry Houdini-themed task was performed at the NYNS in the final leg of The Amazing Race 21.
  • Portions of the 1986 movie Robot Holocaust were filmed at the NYNS.

Notable structures

Brooklyn Naval Hospital

The Brooklyn Naval Hospital was established in 1825 on a site that was not initially contiguous with the main Navy Yard. A main building was completed in 1838, and was subsequently expanded with several wings, including two permanent wings built in 1840 that still exist. A two-story Surgeon's House was built in 1863. More structures were added in the early 20th century, including a medical supply depot, a lumber shed, and quarters buildings. The hospital also operated a cemetery from 1831 to 1910, when the cemetery reached its burial capacity. In 1948, the hospital was decommissioned and most of its functions were relocated to other facilities.

In 2012, Steiner Studios proposed to build a media campus at the former hospital site as an annex to its existing campus at the Navy Yard. A park on the hospital cemetery's site, the Naval Cemetery Landscape, was opened in May 2016. At the time, Steiner Studios was planning to restore the hospital buildings starting in 2017, and restoration was expected to take nearly a decade.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Center (Building 92)

The original Building 92, built in 1857 and designed by Thomas Ustick Walter, is the former U.S. Marine Commandant's quarters. The house has a floor area of 9,500-square-foot (880 m2) and is three stories high with a brick facade, a hip roof, and three window bays on each side. Building 92 is the only remnant of the 3.5-acre (1.4 ha) U.S. Marine Barrack Grounds along Flushing Avenue. The grounds was built on land acquired in 1848 and included marine officers' quarters, a barracks (former Building 91), a gate house, and a central parade ground. All of these buildings were constructed in the Greek Revival style. Building 92 used to have a nearly identical counterpart, Building 93, which was demolished in 1941 to make way for a warehouse.

Brooklyn Navy Yard October 23, 2018 (44797855804)
Building 92 museum. The original 1857 structure is the red brick building located at right, and the 2011 annex is the metal annex located behind it and at left.

The former U.S. Marine Commandant's residence is now part of a museum dedicated to the shipyard, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at Building 92. Building 92 was renovated and expanded by Beyer Blinder Belle in 2011 at a cost of $25 million. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Center opened in November 2011 as a program of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. The center offers exhibits, public tours, educational programs, archival resources, and workforce development services. The museum's main exhibit focuses on the history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and its impact on American industry, technology, innovation, and manufacturing, as well as on national and New York City's labor, politics, education, and urban and environmental planning. The building also hosts displays and videos about the new businesses in the facility. Plans for a museum dedicated to the Brooklyn Navy Yard date to 1975, though the museum was originally proposed to be located in a different building.

The center contains a 24,500-square-foot (2,280 m2) annex with a laser-cut metal facade. The annex is connected to the original house via a 3-story lobby. The lobby includes a 22,500-pound (10,200 kg) steel anchor from the amphibious assault ship Austin (1964).

Dry docks

The Brooklyn Navy Yard consists of six dry docks located along the Brooklyn Navy Yard's northern edge, along the East River. Dry Dock 1 was the first one to be completed. This was followed by Dry Dock 2 in 1887, Dry Dock 3 in 1897, Dry Dock 4 in 1913, and Dry Docks 5 and 6 in 1941. Dry Docks 1, 5, and 6 are the only dry docks that remain in service.

Dock No. Material of which dock is constructed Length Width Depth Date Completed Source
1 Granite 318 feet 1 inch (96.95 m) 98 feet 1 inch (29.90 m) 25 feet 6 inches (7.77 m) 1851
2 Concrete 459 feet 1 inch (139.93 m) 112 feet (34 m) 24 feet 1 inch (7.34 m) 1901
3 Wood and Concrete 612 feet 11 inches (186.82 m) 150 feet 10 inches (45.97 m) 29 feet 8 inches (9.04 m) 1897
4 Conrete & brick, granite skills & coping 723 feet 3 inches (220.45 m) 139 feet 6 inches (42.52 m) 35 feet 5 inches (10.80 m) 1913
5 Reinforced concrete 1,092 feet (333 m) 150 feet (46 m) 41 feet (12 m) 1943
6 Reinforced concrete 1,092 feet (333 m) 150 feet (46 m) 41 feet (12 m) 1943

Dry Dock 1

"Flooded" position
"Dry" position

Dry Dock 1 is located at Wallabout Bay, on the northeast side of Brooklyn Navy Yard. Completed in 1851, it is the third-oldest dry dock in the United States, behind the dry docks at the Boston and Norfolk Navy Yards. Dry Dock 1 is the smallest of the Navy Yard's dry docks. The first permanent dry dock in New York City, it cost $2 million (equivalent to $52,535,000 in 2021) to construct. Over the years, Dry Dock 1 has serviced boats such as Monitor, which fought in the Battle of Hampton Roads during the Civil War, and Niagara, which laid the first transatlantic cable.

Dry Dock 1's masonry superstructure uses 23,000 cubic yards (18,000 m3) of granite from Maine and Connecticut, as well as supplementary material from New York. The stone floor of the dry dock is 30 feet (9.1 m) wide, and the floor curves in an inverted arch shape toward the edges of the sides and the landward (southwest) end. The center of the floor is mostly flat, with a 1-foot (0.30 m) groove. Steps lead down the sides of the dry dock. At the seaward end of the dock is a gate that floats open without the use of hinges. A Harper's Magazine article from 1871 stated that Dry Dock 1 had a capacity of 610,000 US gallons (2,300,000 L) and could be emptied within two hours and ten minutes. The dry dock was 66 feet (20 m) wide and 36 feet (11 m) deep, and when the dock was filled at high tide, the depth of the water was 26 feet (7.9 m). The Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1918 described the main chamber of the dry dock as being 286 feet (87 m) long by 35 feet (11 m) wide on the bottom, and the top part as being 370 feet (110 m) long by 98 feet (30 m) wide. The pumping engine built for this drydock was the largest in the U.S. at one time.

Surveying for the dry dock began in 1826, though funding was not provided until 1836. Construction on the dry dock started in 1841, but was halted a year later because of a lack of funding. During this time, there were debates over whether to abandon work on this dry dock and construct another in Manhattan, where the new Croton Aqueduct had just opened. When construction resumed in 1844, the project was led by two civil engineers in quick succession until William J. McAlpine was appointed to the position in 1846. At the time, the project was beset by several problems, including the presence of quicksand and underground springs, as well as a faulty cofferdam design that twice flooded the excavation site with water from Wallabout Bay. The cofferdam was fixed by installing deep foundations made of gravel at the outermost cofferdam. The springs were covered with a mixture of piles, planks and dry cement under a layer of brick and Roman mortar. The quicksand was 75 feet (23 m) deep, so workers sunk more than 6,500 wooden piles into the bay (the first use of a steam pile driver in the United States' history), and filled the spaces around the piles with concrete. In 1847 after the wooden piles were completed, the stonecutter Thorton MacNess Niven oversaw the installation of the dry dock's masonry superstructure.

McAlpine was fired for unknown reasons in 1849, and Charles B. Stuart took over for the rest of the project. Dry Dock 1 serviced its first ship, Dale, in 1850. The dry dock was completed the following year. Because of its design, Dry Dock 1 never required any extensive maintenance, though part of the masonry at the front of the dry dock was refurbished in 1887–1888. Dry Dock 1 was labeled a NYC Landmark in 1975.

Timber shed

The Brooklyn Navy Yard's timber shed (Building 16), constructed between 1833 and 1853, is one of the Brooklyn Navy Yard's oldest buildings, behind the 1806 commandant's house and the 1838 Naval Hospital building. It is a brick building with a gable roof located on the west side of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, adjoining Navy Street. The timber shed had a twin, Building 15, which was located directly to the north and is now demolished. Building 16 originally measured 60 by 300 feet (18 by 91 m) while Building 15 measured 60 by 400 feet (18 by 122 m). Both buildings were used to store wood for shipbuilding after it had been cured in the nearby mill pond. Documents from 1837 suggest that the United States Navy allocated almost $90,000 (equivalent to $2,156,000 in 2021) on the construction of up to four brick timber sheds at Brooklyn Navy Yard.

After the Civil War, the timber sheds were used for timber storage, though the number of wooden ships built at the Navy Yard steadily decreased. During the late 19th century, Admiral's Row, a grouping of residences that formerly housed Navy Yard officers, was built around the timber sheds. As part of a Works Progress Administration renovation, part of Building 15 was demolished in 1937. In the 1940s, Building 16 was used as a police station as well as a lumber storage building, and in the 1950s and 1960s, it was also used as a garage. A 1963 renovation to Building 16 demolished part of the building, and the remainder was converted into a private ice rink for police officers. The rest of Building 15 was demolished probably after 1979, and Building 16 was abandoned around this time.

By 2010, Building 16 had been proposed for redevelopment, although it had badly deteriorated. In early 2011, engineers for the National Guard Bureau recommended demolishing the structure, since refurbishing it would cost $40 million. The refurbishment of the timber shed was underway by 2018. Douglas C. Steiner, who was redeveloping the Admiral's Row site, stated in January 2018 that Building 16 would likely be developed for food-related uses, such as for a restaurant.

Sands Street gate

Brooklyn Navy Yard October 23, 2018 (45472789012)
Sands Street gate

The gate at Sands Street, on the Brooklyn Navy Yard's western border, was the main entrance to the yard in the early 20th century. It consists of a one-story medieval-style gatehouse shaped like a castle, with plinths, turrets, and posts with eagles on the tops. This entrance is located at the intersection of Sands Street and Navy Street, close to Admiral's Row, and was surrounded by the two timber sheds there. A wooden footbridge above the gate, built after World War II, formerly connected the two sheds. The gatehouse has undergone modifications throughout the years, including the addition of second and third floors (since removed), and the removal of the turrets. At one point, the Sands Street gate featured a failed hand-cranked submarine design called the Intelligent Whale, as well as Trophy Park, which contained a memorial shaft to twelve American sailors killed during the Battle of Canton in 1856.

The Sands Street gate replaced another gate on nearby York Street, and it cost $20,000 or $24,000 to build. As originally proposed in 1893, the gatehouse was supposed to be a 4-story structure containing a peaked roof, crenelations, and an ornate facade. However, the gatehouse was downsized to its current design because the other proposal was too expensive. Fearing a loss of business, saloon keepers on York Street protested against the Sands Street gate's construction, to no avail.

The gate started construction in 1895, and it opened a year later. The new Sands Street gate was not only closer to the trolley lines on Flushing Avenue, but also avoided a dirty and "malodorous" vicinity around the York Street gate. A year after the gate's opening, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle noted that the vicinity of the Sands Street gate was "much appreciated by the young women of Brooklyn who are enthusiastic Navy Yard visitors." Saloons soon opened up around this gate, and by 1924, sailors were banned from using the entrance. Starting with the Spanish–American War and continuing through both major world wars, potential Navy applicants lined up outside the Sands Street gate to enlist in the Navy. Sometime after the Navy Yard was decommissioned, the Sands Street gate became the entrance to the NYPD's Brooklyn tow pound, and by 2004, there were plans to refurbish the gate. The gatehouse was restored to its original condition in 2012, and it has housed the Kings County Distillery's tasting room since 2015.

Supply storehouse

The supply storehouse, located immediately east of Building 92, looking eastward
Close-up of the facade of the supply storehouse
Building 77, located immediately east of the supply storehouse, looking eastward

The Brooklyn Navy Yard's eleven-story supply storehouse (Building 3), located east of Building 92, was the first reinforced-concrete building constructed at the yard. Built by Turner Construction in the Neo-Classical style, it contains a one-story base and one-story attic with nine stories in between. A loading platform, covered by a flat metal canopy, encircles the building's base, and contains loading dock entries at various points. There were also formerly rail sidings on the west and north sides of the building. The nine stories above the base contain columns of wide rectangular windows, organized into "bays". Each bay is separated by concrete piers, and each window contains a concrete still below it. There are cornices at the top of the tenth and eleventh floors. On the eleventh floor, each bay contains triple-windows, and there are stair and elevator bulkhead structures, as well as skylights. The structure contained 712,000 square feet (66,100 m2) of floor space when first built.

The federal government had commissioned Turner Construction by chance, when government officials raided Turner's factory based on a report of German guns being manufactured, and found Turner manufacturing engine foundations instead. A contract for Building 3's construction was made in April 1917. Work began four days after the contract was signed. The modification to 11 stories was made partway through the construction progress. Construction progressed at a pace of one story per week, aided by the proximity of the Navy Yard's railroad system, via which materials could be delivered. The structure was finished by September at a cost of $1.2 million, and the Navy moved into the structure on October 1, 1917. The attic contained the commandant's, yard captain's, and manager's offices. Building 3 was outfitted with radio and radar laboratories during World War II, and footbridges were constructed to Buildings 5 and 77, although both footbridges have since been demolished. The roof of Building 3 now contains a rooftop farm run by Brooklyn Grange, and the rest of the building is occupied by various industrial and commercial tenants.

Building 77

Building 77 is a sixteen-story structure constructed during World War II based on a design by George T. Basset. The structure contains 952,000 square feet (88,400 m2) of floor space. The foundation of the building is supported by caissons of concrete and steel, which descend 150 feet (46 m) underground. The lowest eleven stories were constructed with 25-inch-thick (64 cm) walls and no windows, encompassing 21 acres (85,000 m2) of storage space. These floors were likely used to store ammunition. Windows were installed on these floors in a 2017 renovation of the building.

In mid-1940, Turner Construction was hired to erect the building under a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, which would expedite construction. The foundation of the building was constructed in June 1941, and construction progressed quickly, with one story completed roughly every three working days. The structure was completed by September 1941 at a cost of $4 million. The structure originally contained the yard headquarters as well as other spaces such as offices, storage spaces, laboratories, and a library. Building 77 was renovated in 2017 by Beyer Blinder Belle and now houses light manufacturing as well as commercial tenants.

Other notable structures

  • The commandant's house, Quarters A (built 1807), is a federal style structure in Vinegar Hill that is a part of Admiral's Row. Charles Bulfinch, who also designed the United States Capitol's rotunda, is often named as the architect of this house, though there is no evidence that Bulfinch was actually involved in the design.
  • Building 1 (former Building 291, built c. 1941-1942) was a materials testing laboratory, used for testing electronic output during World War II. The roof contains radio towers erected during World War II, which still exist. It was used by the Navy even after the yard's decommissioning and was abandoned in 1994. It is now used by Steiner Studios.
  • Building 41 (built 1942), located on Morris Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Street, was originally a power plant, replacing another on the same site. It was converted into a cogeneration plant in 1995, using one of the world's largest cranes.
  • Building 128 (built c. 1899-1900) is located at Morris Avenue and Sixth Street, near the Cumberland Street entrance. The building is a one-story L-shaped structure made of steel, masonry, and glass, and a high gable-monitor roof. It was formerly a machine and erecting shop, with the long arm of the L pointing northeast to accommodate a long movable crane. Building 128 now houses the Green Manufacturing Center.
  • Building 132 (built 1905), located at Warrington Avenue and Fourth Street, was formerly a steam engine repair shop, and now contains light manufacturing.
  • Building 280 (built 1942) is located at Morris Avenue and Sixth Street, near the Cumberland Street entrance. It is an eight-story rectangular structure that was formerly used as an ordnance machine shop.
  • Building 293 (built c. 1970s) is located northeast of Dry Dock 6, on the northeast side of the yard. It is an 1,000-by-100-foot (305 by 30 m) gable-roofed structure that served as a supply and distribution center. Building 293 was supposed to be a paint fabrication facility for Seatrain Shipbuilding, but the permits were never granted. The building was then converted into a modular apartment manufacturing facility for Forest City Ratner (and later for FullStack Modular), which produced apartments for the nearby Pacific Park development. In 2016, Building 293 was outfitted with one of New York City's largest solar roof installations, a 3,152-panel structure that could generate 1.1 million kilowatt-hours (4,000,000 MJ) of energy.

Former structures

Admiral's Row featured ten homes in various architectural styles (namely the Greek Revival, Italianate, and French Empire styles). Built between 1864 and 1901, they served as residences to high-ranking Navy Yard officers. The property also contained a timber shed, parade ground, tennis courts, and garages attached to each house. The row was abandoned when the Navy Yard was decommissioned in 1966, and most of the houses were demolished in 2016.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard also contained an artificial island called the Cob Dock. It was originally a mud flat in Wallabout Bay and was reportedly expanded with ballast released by departing ships. Cob Dock became a convenient place for ships to moor, and was once also used by the first flocks of messenger pigeons used by the Navy. Cob Dock was separated from the mainland Navy Yard by Wallabout Channel, a 5-to-20-foot-deep (1.5 to 6.1 m) channel around the southern half of the island that connected to Wallabout Bay on the west and east ends. A structural cribwork was built around the island during the Civil War, and a ship basin was built in the center of the island, while Wallabout Channel was dredged to a lower depth to allow capacity for more boats to moor. After the Civil War, the north end of the island was used to store ordnance, while the south end became a park and training ground. A ferry initially provided service between Cob Dock and the rest of the Navy Yard, but by 1900, it was replaced by a causeway across Wallabout Channel. The southern section of Cob Dock was demolished in the early 1910s to make room for larger ships. The remainder of the island was demolished during World War II to make room for Dry Docks 5 and 6, which were built in 1942.

The Wallabout Market, a city-operated food market formerly located at the eastern end of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was developed in the late 19th century. The United States Navy Department started leasing 25 acres (10 ha) of waterfront land to the city of Brooklyn in 1877 so that the city could start operating a market, and the Navy received a permit to start operating the market in 1884. The Brooklyn city government gained ownership of Wallabout Market in 1890, and the market later came under the operation of New York City. The market was very close to New York Harbor, so it was easy to import and export goods, but the ground was muddy and the area was frequented by a violent gang that evaded police enforcement. Roads, frame buildings, and a sewage system were installed at Wallabout Market. By the late 1890s, the market contained piers, as well as floating landings for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Wallabout Market site was re-acquired by the Navy and demolished during World War II to make room for Dry Docks 5 and 6.

January 1, 1946
Shipbuilding ways Width Length Source
1 128 feet (39 m) 1,006 feet 9 inches (306.86 m)
2 128 feet (39 m) 1,006 feet 9 inches (306.86 m)

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Astillero Naval de Brooklyn para niños

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