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Brooklyn’s Industrial Waterfront Buildings Listed Among Most Endangered Places

save industrial brooklyn

Responding to the destruction of some of Brooklyn’s most important historic industrial buildings and sites, and the threats others face, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named the industrial heritage of the Brooklyn waterfront to its annual list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The announcement was made at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and in DUMBO, Brooklyn, in mid-June. Since 1988, the National Trust has identified nearly 200 threatened historic sites and buildings in this way to promote action to save America’s most important treasures.

Brooklyn is experiencing an unprecedented development boom with developers keen to site residential towers in historically industrial neighborhoods. This threatens not only architecturally significant former manufacturing, warehouse and factory buildings in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, but also active sites like the Red Hook Graving Dock that is being paved over by furniture retailer Ikea to create a parking lot.

Inclusion on the 11 Most Endangered list does not guarantee these buildings will be saved, though only six of the 189 places listed since 1988 have been lost. MAS and the National Trust are now urging the city’s elected officials to enforce the city’s strong preservation laws and pursue more designations to protect these significant industrial buildings and sites, while comprehensively planning for appropriate growth and development.

The MAS has created a website, www.saveindustrialbrooklyn.org, which reveals the history of more than 100 important buildings and structures on the waterfront. On the interactive map, visitors can see photographs of the building from which Elvis and many other GIs departed for foreign duty, learn where Kosher food and sugar was made in Williamsburg, and watch historic videos of ship repair in the Navy Yard.

For some of the press coverage of the inclusion of Brooklyn’s industrial heritage on the 11 Most Endangered list, click here to read a New York Times article from June 14, and here to listen to it being discussed on the Brian Lehrer Show on June 18.