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|Brooklyn Navy Yard|
|Brooklyn, New York|
|Controlled by||United States Navy|
|Brooklyn Navy Yard|
|Brooklyn, New York|
|Controlled by||United States Navy|
The United States Navy Yard, New York, also known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the New York Naval Shipyard (NYNSY), is a shipyard located in Brooklyn, New York, 1.7 miles (2.7 km) northeast of the Battery on the East River in Wallabout Basin, a semicircular bend of the river across from Corlear's Hook in Manhattan. It was bounded by Navy Street, Flushing and Kent Avenues, and at the height of its production of warships for the United States Navy, it covered over 200 acres (0.81 km2).
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 forty thousand dollars in 1801, and the property became an active U.S. Navy shipyard five years later, in 1806. The offices, store-houses 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, D.C.. 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 follows: 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 Naval Hospital constructed 1830-1838, rebuilt 1841-1843, was decommissioned in the mid-1970s.
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 ten thousand men, of whom one-third were Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers. The battleship Iowa was completed in 1942 followed by the Missouri which became the site of the Surrender of Japan 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.
When the US Navy took possession of the motor torpedo boat PT 109 from the vessel's manufacturer Elco on 10 July 1942, the boat was delivered to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for fitting. This boat was sunk in the Pacific in August 1943 and became famous years later when its young commanding officer, LTJG John F. Kennedy, entered politics.
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 in order to prevent espionage.
About two years before the shipyard closed, word spread the yard was going to be closed. Professor Seymour Melmen, an Engineering Economist of Columbia Graduate School Of Engineering, looked into the plight of the shipyard workers at the N.Y.N.S. and came up with a detailed plan for converting the then New York Naval Ship Yard into a commercial shipyard which would 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. 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 of the yard to the City was signed.
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 non-profit 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 (VLCC's) 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 the Bay Ridge was converted from a VLCC to a FPSOV [Floating Production Storage Offtake Vessel]. The 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. 1976 would bring peak employment inside the yard with nearly 6,000 workers with Seatrain Shipbuilding and Coastal Dry Dock & 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 & 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 but closed in 1987. CLICK had been replaced by the non-profit Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation in 1981. In 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.
The Yard has become an area of private manufacturing and commercial activity. Today, more than 200 businesses operate at the Yard and employ approximately 5,000 people. Brooklyn Grange Farms operates a 45,000 square feet (4,200 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. In November 2011, Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, a museum dedicated to the yard's history and future, opened its doors.
The Yard 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 meters) of depth alongside. The drydocks are now operated by GMD Shipyard Corp. A federal project maintains a channel depth of 35 feet (10 m) from Throggs Neck to the yard, about two miles (3 km) from the western entrance, and thence 40 feet (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).
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 of Historic Places. Admiral's Row has fallen into disrepair and has sparked a landmarks debate.
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