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The Red Hook Graving Dock, A Place that Matters

red hook graving dock waterfront brooklyn new york

Measuring 710 feet long and about 40 feet deep, the Graving Dock in Red Hook, Brooklyn rivals New York’s skyscrapers and monuments as one of the City’s most breath-taking feats of engineering. The dock was in use as recently as February 2005 when Ikea evicted the ship repair company so they could build a parking lot. The Graving Dock is a place that matters both for its historic significance to New York and for its current contribution to New York’s maritime industry.

Few New Yorkers are aware of the importance of a working waterfront to New York City’s economy and security. Each year over 5,000 ships, 700 barges and numerous tugs, ferries, and workboats berth in the harbor. They all require regular maintenance and repair. Experts agree that even with the Red Hook Graving Dock operating, New York’s capacity for ship repair is barely adequate.

Sad news for historians but alarming news for New York City’s infrastructure – the Graving Dock is currently in its 11th hour. Ikea has purchased the site and is in the process of filling in the Graving Dock so that they can pave over it and put in a parking lot.

Convinced that new buildings and big boats can coexist, the Municipal Art Society has produced alternative plans which would allow Ikea to construct its store and build a parking lot with the same capacity as the one currently slated to be built on top of the Graving Dock.