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MAS Tours Brooklyn Navy Yard, Continues Focus on Manufacturing

brooklyn navy yard bus tour

MAS arranged two tours related to the theme of its April 28 panel discussion, Manufacturing a Greener New York. The first of these took place this past weekend. The second, Look for the Union Label takes place on Friday, May 22, 2:00 p.m.

President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), Andrew Kimball, led a MAS bus and walking tour of the extraordinary industrial park that is the Brooklyn Navy Yard last Friday afternoon, briefing tour-takers about the site that contains 40 buildings, 4 million square feet of leasable space and 5,000 employees. On our first stop, we saw the Perry Avenue Building, the nation’s first multi-tenant, multi-story green building — in fact a LEED Gold Building. (All future buildings at BNY will at least meet LEED Silver standards). To our right was the red brick 1889 Paymaster’s Building where burial shrouds for Hasidic Jews were made (niche market, indeed). Striking juxtapositions were everywhere.

We spent the rainy afternoon viewing deep dry-docks, splintery piers, old buildings with wonderful brick detailing, metal buildings with 60-foot ceilings and enormous clear spans. We learned one fellow tour-taker had worked at the navy yard as a young woman during World War II, drafting construction drawings for good pay. (BNY archivist Daniella Romano immediately began talking with her about an oral history).

Yet another surprise was the non-industrial upland section of the site. Picture a Neo-classical Naval Hospital and a Surgeon’s House, both active from the Civil War until 1948, surrounded by overgrown plantings of dogwood and lilacs in bloom. Kimball hopes to see this section develop into an expanded entertainment/ media campus. What’s most needed to further expand New York’s industrial base is what the Brooklyn Navy Yard has in abundance — imagination and innovation.