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INTERPRETING THE HERITAGE OF THE BROOKLYN/QUEENS WATERFRONT

Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Historic Preservation Spring Studio 2012 | Professor: Ward Dennis Nicole Ambrose, Jason Crowley, Kate Gilmore, Julia Lewis, Richard Lowery, Mayank Patel, Angela Serratore, Lisa Swyers, Jonathan Taylor, Max Yeston, and Brooke Young1


Acknowledgements We would like to thank the following people for helping our understanding of the study area’s historic and current character, current events, and available preservation and interpretation tools become a reality. Jenny Dixon and Amy Smith-Stewart | The Noguchi Museum Andrew Dolkart | Columbia University Emilie Evans and Daniella Romano | Building 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Janet Foster | Columbia University Paul Goodman and Paul Samulski | East River Ferry Alison LaFever | HP Studio II Teaching Assistant Jennifer Most | Columbia University Christopher Neville | The Tenement Museum Milton Puryear | Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Cindy VandenBosch | Urban Oyster Andy Stone | The Trust for Public Land Colin Carpenter | Kirkman Lofts The New York City Department of City Planning The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission The Greater Astoria Historical Society The Brooklyn Historical Society

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We would like to give special thanks to our faculty advisor, Ward Dennis, for guiding and supporting us throughout this project.


TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary Overall History Neighborhood Histories Columbia Street Waterfront

Brooklyn Heights Waterfront/Fulton Ferry

DUMBO/Vinegar Hill

Wallabout Bay/Navy Yard

Willamsburg

Greenpoint

Newtown Creek

Hunters Point

Ravenswood

Astoria

Current Interpretation Proposed Tools Next Steps Bibliography Appendix

Stakeholders

Brochures

Playing Cards

Letter to East River Ferry

Website Links

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The purpose of the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront studio group is to undertake extensive research into the industrial and social history of the Long Island side of the East River from the Columbia Street Waterfront District of Brooklyn to Astoria in Queens. With this information we hope to devise strategies for how to interpret extant historic infrastructure along the river in a holistic manner for a wider audience. To accomplish this, each member of the group was assigned a different neighborhood. We investigated our areas using multiple approaches: utilizing the resources of our libraries, historical societies, designation reports and zoning documents; looking to past preservation studio projects to compare different methodologies; and conducting field research through walking tours to examine what architectural or industrial fabric remains in each neighborhood. We then made a comprehensive list of how the waterfront is currently interpreted and the various stakeholders that have an interest in the East River waterfront’s history and revitalization. What we ultimately discovered is while there is a plethora of local organizations devoted to a specific locality, there is not an East River advocacy group that takes comprehensive approach to the entire area. In the following report, we intend to illustrate the Brooklyn Queens Waterfront as one unified historic corridor. Building on existing methods of interpretation, we have developed new interpretative strategies, which present the waterfront as a significant industrial landscape that was crucial to the development of the City of New York and the United States. Our proposed interpretations are aimed at a wide audience and are meant to systematically interconnect with each other to ensure consistency. With the rising tide of new high-rise apartment buildings and freshly sculpted parks along the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront, we hope to inform advocacy groups and the general public about the existing historic infrastructure and the history behind it, so that it may be ideally incorporated into general development plans.

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OVERALL HISTORY

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Queensboro Bridge, 1912 (NYC Municipal Archives)

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OVERALL HISTORY The individual neighborhoods lining the East River in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens are integral parts of New York as a whole—the riverfront villages have, since Europeans first settled there, produced goods, housed workers from across the economic spectrum, and fueled industry that supported the city’s rapid escalation from Dutch outpost to world power. Seen primarily as a collection of towns, villages, and neighborhoods, the East River waterfront of Brooklyn and Queens is difficult to see as a unified entity, yet the histories of those smaller neighborhoods are inextricably linked through geography, transportation, industry, and population shifts. This project aims to look at the Columbia waterfront, the Brooklyn Heights waterfront, Vinegar Hill, DUMBO, the Navy Yard, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Newtown Creek, Hunters Point, Ravenswood, and Astoria through the lenses of transportation, residential development, and industrial rise and decline in an attempt to identify a shared history. The aboriginal population of the 16th century New York Harbor, the Lenape, used its natural waterways for fishing and transportation. In 1524, Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, sailing in the service of the French crown, anchored in what is now called The Narrows, the strait that separates Brooklyn from Staten Island. In 1609 British navigator Henry Hudson entered the Harbor and explored a stretch of the river that now bears his name. His journey prompted others to explore the region and engage in trade with the local population.

Dutch map of New York City from 1639, called the Manatvs gelegen op de Noot Riui. Interesting to note how green Brooklyn and Queens were.

In 1624 the first permanent European settlers in the area, the Dutch founders of the New Netherland colony, landed on Governors Island, before selecting the tip of Manhattan as the site for the settlement of New Amsterdam. Eight years later, Dutch farmers were carving out a place on the western end of Long Island, in what they called Breuckelen. While the Dutch were nominally in charge of what later became known as Queens County, the area in the mid-17th century was inhabited mostly by British farmers. The eastern shore of the river was soon connected to Manhattan by private ferry service. The first, connecting Broad Street in Manhattan with what would later become Joralemon Street in Brooklyn was started in 1642 by lone ferryman Cornelis Dircksen. The colonial Dutch Director-General of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, ordered the construction of the first wharf on the Manhattan bank of the lower East River, sheltered from the winter winds and ice that afflicted the southern part of the harbor. The wharf was completed late in 1648 and called Schreyers Hook Dock (near what is now Pearl and Broad Streets). This was the beginning of New York as a port for the Dutch and then British colonies and, eventually, the dominant port of the United States. The area left Dutch hands after the English conquest of New Netherland in 1664. The settlement was taken in a naval action without resistance from the residents. The British renamed their prize in honor of the English naval commander, James, Duke of York, and Brooklyn and Queens became a part of the Province of New York. 9


This map from 1776 outlines the positions of the British and American troops during the Revolutionary War.

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A British map from 1778 shows the development of farms and town in Brooklyn and Queen during the Revolutionary War.


OVERALL HISTORY The English organized the six old Dutch towns of southwestern Long Island as Kings County in 1683, one of twelve counties then established in New York. Simultaneously, Queens became a county containing five named towns and villages: Flushing, Hempstead, Jamaica, Newtown, and Oyster Bay. The development of Queens was comparatively slower than that of Brooklyn. The towns and villages within these counties remained politically distinct entities independent of the city of New York and of each other, and in the 18th century remained primarily rural.

On August 27, 1776, the Battle of Long Island (also known as the Battle of Brooklyn) was one of the first major engagements fought in the American Revolutionary War, and the largest of the entire conflict. British troops forced Continental Army troops, under General George Washington, off the heights near the modern sites of Prospect Park and Grand Army Plaza. The fortified American positions at Brooklyn Heights consequently became indefensible and were evacuated a few days later, leaving the British in control of New York Harbor. British-occupied New York City became their military and political base of operations in North America for the remainder of the conflict. The British housed captured American soldiers aboard prison ships in Wallabout Bay, which became the site for the founding of the fledgling U.S. military’s Navy Yard in 1801. The Navy Yard was to become one of the first industrial hubs of the Brooklyn/Queens side of the East River, and while its growth in the first half of the 19th century was slow, its gradual expansion contributed to the development of Vinegar Hill and other adjacent neighborhoods that became appealing sites for its workers residences. Queens, on the other hand, saw large portions of its British settlers flee in the face of anti-loyalist sentiment, and the postRevolutionary years saw it remain the home of small farms, and its population remained below 7,000 until the early 1830s. The commercial life of the young American city of New York remained closely connected to the rural areas of Long Island: products made and shipped to Brooklyn and Queens were transported across the East River on and stored in warehouses in present-day TriBeCa. On January 24, 1814, the Fulton Ferry Company, founded by steamboat innovator Robert Fulton and his partner William Cutting, obtained a lease on the long-established route between Maiden Lane in New York and Old Ferry Road (later Fulton Street) in Brooklyn from the City of New York. The company introduced steamboat service to the route with the Nassau on May 8, 1814—the first steam ferry service on the East River became known as the Fulton Ferry, and the streets that led to it in both Brooklyn and Manhattan were later renamed in turn, tying the identities of the both shorelines to the methods of transit that connected them. Following the inauguration of the Fulton Ferry, regular steam ferry services across the East River multiplied in the first half of the 19th century. By 1882 (the year before the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge), more than 30 ferries were crossing the East River daily. The first service to a point in Brooklyn south of Fulton Ferry began in 1836, after a decade of political wrangling. Making more of the Brooklyn shoreline easily accessible represented a competitive threat to Manhattan real estate interests. The South Ferry, which landed at the foot of today’s Atlantic Avenue, was not only a water connection, but a link to a new mode of transportation to feed into the East River system: the Long Island Rail

A ticket from the 1814 Fulton Ferry steamboat.

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Road, which connected the ferry landing to a depot in Jamaica. A similar juncture between ferry and railroad was completed in Hunters Point, Queens, in 1854.

From Queens to Brooklyn, ferry connections led to the development of residential neighborhoods enjoying commuter access to Manhattan. Developers such as the Roach brothers in Ravenswood, Queens and the Sands brothers in Vinegar Hill and DUMBO in Brooklyn purchased large areas of land from farmers, many of whom were descendants of the original Dutch settlers, hoping to develop resort homes for wealthy New Yorkers. An 1836 Currier and Ives lithograph shows Alexander Jackson Davis’s proposal for a row of mansions along the riverfront. Though there A Currier and Ives print from 1839 showing the proposed houses along the shore of is no evidence that Davis’s designs were built, such large houses did line Ravenswood. the area’s shores in the first half of the 19th century. The South Ferry enabled the development of the row houses of Cobble Hill. In the north, fur merchant Stephen Halsey began a ferry service between Manhattan and his newly chartered village of Astoria in 1839, connecting to another transportation project of Halsey’s, a turnpike road to Flushing. The resulting transportation node made Astoria a viable site for development. The commuter neighborhoods built inland around ferry landings would long flourish, but the waterfront itself was soon largely taken over by expanding trade and industry. The first half of the 19th century also saw the evolution of New York’s waterway system from a network of local connections into a node of national and international commerce. The first transatlantic “packet,” or regularly scheduled, cargo ship service to and from New York began in 1817. Crucially, New York became the node between this oceangoing traffic and the U.S.’s internal transportation network with the 1825 completion of the Erie Canal, a waterway that connected the city to the Midwest via the Hudson River. The resulting rapid increase in commercial traffic spurred the development of the Brooklyn waterfront, in particular, into a major system of docks and warehouses.

Brooklyn emerged as a logical place for such transfer and storage operations because it was conveniently close (by water) to New York’s commercial district, yet distant enough from the increasing congestion of lower Manhattan to allow room for extensive storage of “low value but high bulk goods” like “chemicals, dyes, glass, leather, metal, oils, paints, sugar, and more,” as well as “also processed goods bound for local distribution, including cocoa, coffee, liquor, salt, wool, and tobacco.” Particularly from the Fulton Ferry area south, entrepreneurs such as Jeremiah Robinson bought up waterfront land starting in the 1840s to build docks and long, low brick warehouses that led South Brooklyn to be likened to a “walled city”—with several grain elevators rising like watchtowers. Although the canal system was superseded by railways by mid-century, the waters of New York Harbor and the East River corridor remained the city’s main transportation artery, and saw increasing amounts of traffic. The continental railways had their termini at the shores of the Hudson River in New Jersey, and their freight was transferred via barges and float cars to and from the warehouses (and, increasingly, factories) in Brooklyn and Queens.

The primacy of the waterfront in the movement of goods and raw materials made a location along the river vital for industrial facilities. Industrial production on the East River’s eastern shore grew particularly to the north of the warehouse-dominated waterfront of South Brooklyn, from the Navy Yard through the adjacent villages of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, along the subsidiary waterway of Newtown Creek, and into Hunter’s 12


OVERALL HISTORY Point, Queens. Brooklyn historian Henry Stiles also credited the clearing of the treacherous rocks of the Hell Gate narrows, creating a viable route into the East River corridor accessible from Long Island Sound for the northward growth of industrial activity.

Areas near the East River were the sites of various manufacturing enterprises well before the age of large-scale industrialization. Shipbuilding and subsidiary industries were a natural sector to arise in conjunction with the growth of the port. Joshua Sands, a Revolutionary War veteran who developed the area now known as DUMBO, operated a ship rope and cable works there in the early 19th century. Greenpoint, in north Brooklyn, was developed by Neziah Bliss and Eliphalet Nott, partners in steamboat-building who saw the area as a natural location for shipyards being displaced from the shores of Manhattan; Bliss also led the building of a bridge and turnpike that connected Greenpoint to Williamsburg to the south and Astoria to the north. In addition to becoming a major center for U.S. shipbuilding, including the construction of the Union ironclad the Monitor, Greenpoint had numerous china and glass factories. Industrial development in Greenpoint and neighboring Williamsburg also made the area a logical center for New York’s early oil-refining facilities, such as the Astral Oil Works in Greenpoint.

A hand-colored engraving of the Monitor that was published in Harper’s Weekly, March 22nd, 1862.

Williamsburg, having grown around ferry connections to Manhattan, became independent of the town of Bushwick in 1844. There, the Havemeyer family’s sugar refining enterprise—begun in Manhattan in the 18th century—became one of the area’s largest industrial establishments, capitalizing on a waterfront location that allowed it to receive raw materials and ship its product. After the Civil War, as U.S. sugar consumption skyrocketed and railroads made possible national distribution from a centralized production facility, the Havemeyers in 1881-84 built an imposing new factory that towered over the East River waterfront. This stimulated the growth of an industrial district of subsidiary manufacturers, including barrel, bag and candy makers.

Toward the end of the 19th century, manufacturing enterprises increased in scale. In 1890, Brooklyn had 10,623 factories, according to the Census, with 93,275 full-time workers; in 1909, there were 145,222 people employed in only 5,218 “industrial establishments”—factories that required larger buildings. DUMBO became one of the first areas

The Havemeyer’s sugar refinery in Brooklyn, 1876.

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in the U.S. to see a concentration of the kind of massive reinforced-concrete factories that would later arise all along the industrially developed East River. The expansion in industrial labor generated new housing demands in the surrounding neighborhoods. Houses built for single families in the early 19th century in neighborhoods like Vinegar Hill were divided into apartments for working-class families, while new multifamily homes were built, often above a storefront on a commercial strip like Franklin Avenue in Greenpoint. As population growth intensified later in the century, older homes were razed to build larger tenement apartment buildings, notably in Williamsburg. Betty Smith’s 1943 novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn focuses on the life of a girl growing up in Williamsburg’s tenements during the first two decades of the 20th century. Beginning in the mid-19th century, some in the upper and middle classes became increasingly concerned about the cramped living conditions of life of the poor and working classes, prompting reformers to design healthier workers’ housing complexes. Philanthropist Alfred T. White built the Tower and Home Buildings in Cobble Hill, with open stairways, a lavatory for each apartment, and efficient sanitation facilities. Next door, his workingman’s cottages were built around an interior courtyard. In 1887, a similar attempt at improvement was carried out in Greenpoint with the Astral Apartments. Designed by Lamb & Rich and funded by Charles Pratt for workers at his Williamsburg oil refinery, the Astral Apartments featured updated amenities: a large interior courtyard, a kitchen and toilet in every apartment, and hot and cold running water.

The intensified industrial use of the waterfront reinforced the development of its transportation infrastructure. The Havemeyers recognized the value of the transportation links they possessed on their waterfront property, and invested in the creation of the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, a consolidated terminal for freight traveling across the harbor on the mainland railroad lines, connected by local tracks stretching from Newtown Creek in the north to the Navy Yard in the south. “The accessibility that the Eastern District Terminal and Railroad offered meant that industry could grow even in pockets that lay at a distance from the waterfront,” fostering the spread of factories into areas like Wallabout, and also making possible

Not much has changed in Greenpoint: circa 1840s shipbuilder’s houses along Franklin Avenue show the living space above the rentable ground floor.

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OVERALL HISTORY a facility like the Wallabout Market—“the only American food market offering rail service directly to its door.” By 1925, the Eastern District Terminal was the largest freight terminal in Brooklyn (and operated the Pidgeon Street float bridge and a Queensboro Terminal pier in southern Queens as well).

In South Brooklyn, the various warehouse owners by the late 19th century consolidated into a “trust” that established a local rail system running the length of its holdings from Fulton Ferry to Red Hook. The trust’s successor, the New York Dock Co., further sought to modernize its facilities by offering manufacturing space to integrate its docks and warehouses, replacing the old brick warehouses with towering reinforced concrete buildings, best represented by the gigantic Trade Facilities Building (1928-29) at the foot of Atlantic Avenue.

In 1883, the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge began a transformation in the city’s (or, rather, “cities’” before political consolidation) relationship to the East River waterfront. For the first time, it was possible to travel across the river without traversing it in a vessel. The decade after the 1898 consolidation saw the newly unified city become connected over the East River by the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Queensboro Bridges. Together with underwater subway tubes, these bridges (and, eventually, car tunnels) eventually displaced most passenger ferry services. Carrying foot, mass transit and eventually motor traffic, the bridges and tunnels also transformed the neighborhoods that newly found themselves directly connected to Manhattan.

Now a Historic Landmark, Alfred T. White’s Workingman’s Cottages on Waverly Place are an idyllic example of the worker’s housing.

The bridges hastened the end of the river’s importance as a passenger transit entity, and the industrial decline of the waterfront began in the 1920s. Some manufacturers sought out locations with ready access to the Manhattan Bridge, for example, spurring the growth of large factories in DUMBO. Yet before long, many of the same businesses relocated again to less expensive outlying areas, or even other parts of the country, echoing industrial relocation from Manhattan to the east side of the river in the mid-19th century.

As industrial users moved to other sites, the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront was eyed by the city as a place to shift facilities unwanted in Manhattan, such as Consolidated Edison power plants in Vinegar

The 1887 Astral Apartments, another example of worker’s housing built by Williamsburg Oil magnate, Charles Pratt, were designed by Lamb & Rich.

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Hill, Ravenswood, and Astoria in the 1920s. In 1966, ConEd built Big Allis, an enormous power plant that dominates the Queens East River skyline today. Public housing projects were sited in the area, as cheap and marginal land was desired for slum clearance and redevelopment. In 1939, the large Queensbridge public housing project opened in Ravenswood, followed in the 1950s by housing projects in Astoria, Vinegar Hill/DUMBO, and another massive complex in Ravenswood. In the late 1950s, Robert Moses led the charge for construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a significant swath of highway cutting through Brooklyn and Queens. The road effectively cut off portions of waterfront neighborhoods from their interior neighbors.

This 1911 lithograph produced by the New York Dock Company shows their expansive operations along the East River.

This lithograph is from just after the building of the Brooklyn Bridge (after 1883).

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The only exception to the decline of the waterfront during the first half of the 20th century was the development of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. At the start of WWII, the yard reclaimed its land from the Wallabout Market (1880-1941), the largest produce market in the country and at one time even the world. The workforce in the yard went from about 18,000 to more than 70,000 employees during the war. However, this productive period of the yard was short lived: in 1966, the Navy Yard was decommissioned, closing perhaps the longest-operating industrial facility on the East River. Container shipping took hold as the most efficient method for moving commodities by the 1970s. Container ships require large spaces for loading and unloading, and terminals were built on vacant land away from the now congested East River waterfront, primarily in New Jersey. All of the docks of the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront were made obsolete, with only a small stretch converted to container use in South Brooklyn. Longstanding pollution, deterioration of the housing projects and the loss of jobs following the industrial and maritime closures left significant portions of the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts at an economic and social crossroads. The decline of Brooklyn and Queens’s waterfront did not go unnoticed. Many groups strived for change and redevelopment. One of the most effective means of re-gentrification was during the 1970s with artists who were priced out of Manhattan’s expensive real estate market. These artists inspired many others to see the residential and production opportunities afforded by Brooklyn’s decaying waterfront. Vinegar Hill and DUMBO were the first neighborhoods selected by artists, transforming postindustrial areas into new residential enclaves


OVERALL HISTORY that eventually attracted developers and gentrification. This pattern continued into Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Astoria.

Beginning in the 1990s, the city developed broader plans to definitively transform the waterfronts of Brooklyn and Queens with a series of rezonings that permitted new large-scale new residential development, as well as provisions for public access, including numerous waterfront parks. The results, including large high-rise developments built on the former freight rail terminals in Hunters Point and Williamsburg, and the green slopes of Brooklyn Bridge Park where pier sheds used to be, transform the waterfront into a new kind of destination, often at the expense of the layers of transportation, residential and commercial history accumulated since the 17th century. However, there are still signs of history to be discovered and understood by the waterfront’s new residents and visitors. March 23, 1909. Construction of the Manhattan Bridge as seen from Brooklyn.

(1) National Register of Historic Places, Fulton Ferry District, Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, National Register #74001251, 2. (2) Vincent F. Seyfried and Jon A. Peterson, “A History of Queens,” Queens Borough President, last modified 2011, http://queensbp.org/content_web/ tourism/tourism_history.shtml. (3) Seyfried and Peterson, “A History of Queens.” (4) Fulton Ferry Historic District Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, June 28, 1977) 3. (5) Donald G. Presa, Vinegar Hill Historic District Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, January 14, 1997) 3. “Neighborhoods: Ravenswood,” Greater Astoria Historical Society, accessed April 18, 2012, http://www.astorialic.org/neighborhoods/raven_p.php. “Stephen Halsey: Father of Astoria,” Greater Astoria Historical Society, accessed April 18, 2012, http://www.astorialic.org/topics/people/halsey_p.php. (6) Carl Condit, The Port of New York (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1981) 32. (7) Malka Simon, The Space of Production: Brooklyn and the Creation of an Urban Industrial Landscape (Ph.D. dissertation, New York University Institute of Fine Arts, 2009) 51-53. (8) Henry Reed Stiles, A History of the City of Brooklyn: Including the Old Town and Village of Brooklyn, the Town of Bushwick, and the Village and City of Williamsburgh (Brooklyn: Published by Subscription, 1869) 584. (9) Andrew S. Dolkart, DUMBO Historic District Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, December 18, 2007) 8. (10) James T. Dillon, Andrew S. Dolkart and Lisa Niven, Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, September 14, 1982) 2-8. (11) Matthew A. Postal, Havemeyers & Elder Filter, Pan & Finishing House (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, 2007) Dillon, Dolkart, and Niven, 3-6. (12) Dolkart, DUMBO Historic District Designation Report, 10. (13) “Manufacturing Center Created at Manhattan Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn,” New York Times, December 23, 1917, in Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report, 3. (14) “Manufacturing Center Created at Manhattan Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn.” (15) Christopher Gray, “Architectural Wealth, Built for the Poor,” New York Times, October 12, 2008, RE7. (16) James T. Dillon, Astral Apartments (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, June 28, 1983) 1. (17) Dillon, Astral Apartments, 1. (18) Simon, The Space of Production, 148, 153. (19) Simon, The Space of Production, 78-81. (20) Building 92, “Building the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”

These images depict the incredible redevelopment that occurred in DUMBO over the period of less than 30 years. Developments such as this have taken place all over Brooklyn and Queens. 17


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NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORIES

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Tiffany Place

This one-block street, still paved in Belgian block, is an unusual concentration of remaining factory and warehouse buildings. Originally, this neighborhood had dozens of industrial establishments interspersed within its rowhouses. The 19th-century brick and 20thcentury concrete construction once housed sandpaper, metal spring and tobacco manufacturers.

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New York Dock Co. Office Building Joralemon St. & Furman St.

The three-story concrete frame structure across from the Trade Facilities Building originally housed the offices of the New York Dock Company. The 1917 building features walls of bricks salvaged from grain elevators. It is now home to the offices of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

(1) “Cobble Hill Historic District Designation” (New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Report, December 30, 1969) 15. Henry R. Stiles, The Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical History and Commercial and Industrial Record of the County of Kings and the City of Brooklyn, N.Y., from 1683 to 1884 (New York: W.W. Munsell, 1884) vol. 1, 131 (2) Stiles, 435, 440. (3) Cobble Hill Designation Report, 15. (4) Report of the Atlantic Avenue Commission (Special report prepared at the request of the City of Brooklyn 1897) 213. (5) Stiles, 441. (6) “The Shore Line,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 25, 1972, 3. (7) “Norway’s Presence in New York City,” Scandinavian Review (Summer 2010): 62-64. (8) Malka Simon, The Space of Production: Brooklyn and the Creation of an Urban Industrial Landscape (Ph.D. dissertation, New York University Institute of Fine Arts, 2009) 78-81. (9) “A Container Terminal Dedicated in Brooklyn,” New York Times, September 24, 1981, B8. Images: Jonathan Taylor


COLUMBIA STREET WATERFRONT What is often referred to today as the Columbia Street Waterfront District lies directly to the south of Brooklyn Heights across Atlantic Avenue. This street once was called District Street and was the southern boundary of the village of Brooklyn as incorporated in 1816. The adjacent area to the south was known as “South Brooklyn,” and at that time was composed of a coast of wetlands and creeks, with farms, small mills and a few country houses.1

The village of Brooklyn expanded to encompass South Brooklyn in 1826, giving rise to demands for a ferry connection to Manhattan to the south of the Fulton Ferry. South Brooklyn landowners petitioned the City of New York for the establishment of a ferry running to Joralemon Street (in today’s Brooklyn Heights) in 1825. Landowners at the upper edges of the developed portion of Manhattan opposed the ferry because it would make Brooklyn housing a more competitive alternative.2 After a decade of such opposition, the South Ferry was finally opened in 1836. It then ran between lower Manhattan and the foot of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue, by then called Atlantic Street, promoting the development of Cobble Hill as a residential suburb of New York.3 In 1836, Brooklyn’s South Ferry became a terminal of a Brooklyn and Jamaica Rail Road line running up Atlantic (leased by the Long Island Railroad), and the street itself became a chief commercial strip of 19th-century Brooklyn.4 In the mid-19th century, the waterfront of South Brooklyn became the site of major docks for receiving bulk cargo. It was a preferred site for storage, particularly for grain, because of space restrictions at the wharves of lower Manhattan. A major warehouse complex, the Atlantic Docks, was built in Red Hook right at the south end of today’s Columbia Street Waterfront District, in the 1840s (and a new ferry line to Hamilton Avenue was a direct consequence in 1846).5 The waterfront was eventually lined with large grain elevators at the foot of several streets. In 1872, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that the total value of goods stored in the warehouses between Atlantic Street and Hamilton Ferry was about $60 million annually. Goods included grain, sugar, molasses, guano, bricks, lime, coal, salt pork, salt beef, lard and bacon.6

Behind the docks, the inland streets were dotted with small manufacturing establishments, making varied products including paint, hats, all kinds of papers and candy. As the area began to grow, successive waves of immigrants who worked on the docks and in related shipping industries settled nearby; primarily Irish immigrants came to the area in the 1840s, followed by a wave of Norwegians and other Scandinavians with maritime skills and, beginning in the 1880s, southern Italians.7

At the turn of the 20th century, the docks between Red Hook and downtown Brooklyn eventually came under the control of a single owner, the New York Dock Co., which invested in modernized warehouses and local railway connections. However, this effort to compete with the docks in Sunset Park, which were closely connected to a larger manufacturing district, failed.8 After World War II, most of New York City’s docks were rendered obsolete by the conversion to container shipping, and the construction of container facilities in New Jersey. The Columbia Street Waterfront District is the only part of the East River Waterfront corridor that remains a functioning port. The Red Hook Container Terminal, which occupies the whole neighborhood’s waterfront, was redeveloped to handle container cargo in 1981.9 However, whether the container terminal will continue to operate for long is currently uncertain.

Much of the neighborhood’s historic waterfront fabric was removed with the modernizations of the docks beginning in the 1960s, and the construction of a vast sewer project in the 1970s. Parts of the neighborhood were also torn down for construction of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in the 1940s, and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE), projects that dramatically cut off the area from adjacent inland areas to which it had been historically linked. Today, the storefront blocks of Columbia and Union streets, including a few grand but small former bank buildings, hint at the life of the old waterfront. 21


Brooklyn Bridge

The iconic bridge of New York City was the first steelwire suspension bridge in the U.S. and the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1903. John Roebling, a German immigrant, was the driving force behind the construction of the bridge in 1883.

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The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company 28 Old Fulton St.

The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company was designed by Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman and completed in 1894. Constructed on the site of the original Brooklyn Eagle newspaper headquarters, it had a number of uses before being converted into apartments in 1980.

(10) “History,” Brooklyn Heights Association, accessed April 25, 2012, http://www.thebha.org/about-the- neighborhood/history/. (11) Kenneth T Jackson, The Encyclopedia of New York City (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995) 250. (12) “Empire Fulton Ferry,” Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, accessed 30 April, 2012, http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/go/the-park/the-park-today/empire-fulton-ferry. (13) Jackson, 252. Images: Mayank Patel


BROOKLYN HEIGHTS WATERFRONT/ FULTON FERRY The Fulton Ferry neighborhood is named for a prominent ferry line crossing the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and is also the name of the ferry slip on the Brooklyn side. Brooklyn Heights, to the southeast of Fulton Ferry, is widely called New York’s first commuter village—its existence was made possible by ferry service, with warehouses lining the waterfront and townhomes for wealthy New Yorkers appearing further inland. Though boats and sail ferries called at these locations dating as far back as the 1642, the inauguration of Robert Fulton’s steam-powered Fulton Ferry Company in 1814 established the first regular ferry service between Brooklyn and Manhattan, allowing upper middle-class New Yorkers the chance to work in Lower Manhattan’s financial centers and commute to bucolic Brooklyn Heights.10 Officially named for the bluffs it was built upon, Brooklyn Heights’ residents initially referred to their neighborhood as Clover Hill11, a name that calls back to the desire for an idyllic suburban community easy to access from Manhattan. Elegant townhomes sprung up on the bluffs of then-independent Brooklyn, and a bustling market and pub scene thrived closer to the waterfront, attracting an eclectic mix of artists, merchants, and laborers. Perhaps most associated with this part of Brooklyn was poet and newspaper man Walt Whitman, whose Brooklyn Eagle paper was headquartered right off the ferry landing, in a building that was later replaced by the Brooklyn Eagle Warehouse, a structure that became one of Brooklyn’s first warehouse-to-apartment conversion projects. Whitman’s poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is inscribed on the railing surrounding the current passenger loading area. The Fulton Ferry/Brooklyn Heights waterfront areas never saw the same explosion of industry as their neighbors to the north, remaining primarily a warehouse district for imported goods like coffee and tobacco. What remains of an 1840s tobacco storage site is now part of Brooklyn Bridge Park12, a project that spills into multiple sections of the Brooklyn waterfront. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 hastened the decline of water transit aimed at individual passengers, and the Fulton Ferry company ended service in 1924. Construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway effectively cut off the waterfront section of Brooklyn Heights from its inland portion, though the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a walking section of the highway above the automobile lanes, was created to maintain river views and insulate inner Brooklyn Heights from the road’s noise.13 Fulton Ferry was named a Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and Brooklyn Heights became New York’s first Landmark District in 1965. However, the waterfront area was largely excluded from that report, leaving an important hole in the area’s narrative history.

23


Tomb of the Martyrs

During the the British occupation of Wallabout Bay 1776-1783, some 11,500 U.S. soldiers died aboard prison ships there. Their remains were collected and interred on Hudson Avenue by the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1808. In 1873, the tomb was relocated to Washington Park, now Fort Greene Park, beneath a memorial designed by Stanford White.

24

1851 Bird's Eye View of Vinegar Hill

(14) Donald G. Presa, “Vinegar Hill Historic District Designation,” (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, January 14, 1997) 3. (15) Presa, 3. Andrew S. Dolkart, “DUMBO Historic District Designation,” (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, December 18, 2007) 7. (16) Dolkart, 7. (17) Dolkart, 7. (18) Dolkart, 8; Presa, 4-5. (19) Dolkart, 8. (20) Dolkart, 8. (21) A. Guerber & Co., Birds’ Eye View of New-York and Brooklyn (New York: J. Bachman, 1851) map. (22) Presa, 5. (23) Presa, 1. (24) Presa, 5. (25) Presa, 5. William Perris, Maps of the City of Brooklyn (New York: William Perris Surveyor and Civil Engineer, 1855) map. (26) Romaine, Benjamin, The Tomb of the Martyrs Adjoining the United States Navy Yard, Brooklyn City, In Jackson Street, Who died in Dungeons and Pestilential Prison Ships, In and About the City of New York, During the Seven Years of Our Revolutionary War (New York: C. C. & E. Childs, Jr., 1839) 1, 7. (27) Presa, 5. “The Park Commissioners. What They are Doing and What They Propose to do During the Summer, The Martyrs’ Tomb to be Ready for Dedication on the Next Fourth of July,” New York Times, April 5, 1873, 2. (28) Dolkart, 9. (29) Dolkart, 9-10. (30) Dolkart, 12. (31) Dolkart, 77. (32) Dolkart, 18. (33) Berenice Abbot, Talman Street, No. 57, Brooklyn (May 22, 1936) (New York Public Library Digital Gallery, Image ID: 482809) Photograph. Berenice Abbott, Talman Street between Jay and Bridge Street. Brooklyn (May 22, 1936) (New York Public Library Digital Gallery, Image ID: 482667) Photograph. (34) Presa, 12. (35) Presa, 12. (36) Presa, 12. (37) Presa, 12-13. Images: Whitmans-brooklyn.org


DUMBO / VINEGAR HILL The areas currently known as DUMBO and Vinegar Hill were first inhabited by the Canarsee Indians, the majority of whom were killed by infectious diseases that the English, Dutch and Swedish settlers brought from Europe during the early seventeenth century.14 In 1637, survivors of the tribe sold off parts of their land encompassing DUMBO, Vinegar Hill and the area around the Wallabout Bay to a Dutch settler named Joris Jansen Ripalje.15 The Ripaljes farmed the land until the end of the Revolutionary War when a New York State “Act for the Forfeiture and Sale of the Estates of Persons who Have Adhered to the Enemies of this State” was enforced in 1779.16 Because the Ripaljes were loyalists to the English crown, they were forced to hand their land over to the state. In 1784, Comfort and Joshua Sands bought 160 acres of this property along the river.17 Laying out the streets in a gridded pattern, the Sands Brothers hoped to foster a community of wealthy Manhattanites called Olympia.18 Olympia was located east of the base of Main Street. When the scheduled steam ferries began operating from Fulton Street in 1814, industry and residential growth occurred at an exponential rate.19 It has been speculated that it was also during this period that the waterfront was landfilled to make more room for industry.20 A bird’s eye view from 1851 of Manhattan and Brooklyn shows that this area on the Brooklyn side had as much industrial and residential activity as lower Manhattan.21

At the same time that the Sands Brothers were planning Olympia, John Jackson, an innovative shipbuilder, bought the land around Wallabout Bay from a family named Remsen and started a shipyard.22 Jackson, a proud Irishman, built 10 houses for his shipbuilders and named the area Vinegar Hill, after an important Irish insurgence against the British in 1798.23 Because of this, Vinegar Hill has historically been considered a neighborhood of Irish heritage. In 1801, Jackson sold the adjacent 40 acres to the United States government for the purpose of building a navy yard.24 Jackson also donated a small triangular plot of land on Hudson Avenue across from Front Street (formerly Jackson Avenue across from Little Street) for the Martyrs’ Tomb.25 The homes of Vinegar Hill were built in vernacular Greek Revival and early Italianate styles. Many of the houses are extant today and are represented in each of the Vinegar Hill Historic District’s three sections, including a house known to have been occupied by Jackson himself. The growths of Vinegar Hill and DUMBO were symbiotic: the workers who were employed by the many factories and warehouses lining the East River lived in Vinegar Hill, and many industries were dependent upon one another.28 For example, sugar refineries near Williamsburg helped to supply Arbuckle Bros. Candy in DUMBO, and the white lead manufacturers near Fulton Ferry supplied the paint companies near Vinegar Hill.29 However, industry in DUMBO was not limited to paint and candy; the raw and refined materials were diverse. One of the largest industrial complexes was the Robert Gair Paper Box Company.30 Because of its dominating presence in DUMBO, it was often referred to as “Gairville.”31

Industrial powerhouses started leaving DUMBO in the early 1920s.32 Because of this decline and the Great Depression, both DUMBO and Vinegar Hill went into steady decay from the 1920s to the 1970s. The New York photographer Berenice Abbott took many photographs of Vinegar Hill during 1936 that show a slum with decrepit houses and extreme destitution; a surprising sight considering that just 40 years prior it was a booming, healthy neighborhood.33 In the 1920s, Consolidated Edison built a huge power plant on the east river and expanded down towards DUMBO, cutting off Vinegar Hill from the waterfront.34 Just after the Second World War, Robert Moses turned his sights towards the redevelopment of Brooklyn, and started razing houses to build the BQE.35 The final blow was another Moses project inspired by Le Corbusier: The Farragut Houses. Built in 1952, the housing project eradicated the remainder of the homes that had been left after the building of the BQE.36 In the 1970s artists and musicians left Manhattan and sought places to live that were plentiful in space and light but cheap in rent. Their new stomping ground was the old industrial neighborhood under the Manhattan Bridge and the row houses next to the navy yard.37 This neighborhood was coined DUMBO, or Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Arts culture flourished and is seen in the galleries and shops that line the streets. 25


(demolished) From 1880s to 1941, Wallabout Market was Brooklyn’s major produce market and the second largest in the world at one point. In 1877, a portion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard was sold to create the market and this land was reclaimed in 1941 during World War II to increase workforce, development, and to secure boundaries against any enemy action resulting in the closing of the market.

Wallabout Market

26

Dry Dock 1

This granite dock was constructed between 1841 and 1851 as the first permanent dry dock in the New York area and the third in the United States. It remains in active use today by Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation tenant GMD, servicing tugs and small barges. Its pump well was a magnificent feat at the time of its construction, emptying the dry dock in one and a half hours and filling in forty minutes. It is a NYC landmark.

(38) “The History of BNY,” Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, last modified 2005, http://www.brooklynnavyyard.org/history.html. (39) “Building the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” Building 92, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, accessed February 2, 2012. http://vimeo.com/36106147. (40) Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, “The History of BNY.” (41) Building 92, “Building the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” (42) Andrew S. Dolkart, Wallabout Cultural Resource Survey, last modified March 2005, http://www.myrtleavenue.org/ WallaboutCulturalResourceSurvey.pdf (43) “News from the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, last modified August 2008, http://www.brooklynnavyyard. org/Newsletters/augustnewsletter.html. (44) Building 92, “Building the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” (45) Thomas F Berner, The Brooklyn Navy Yard (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 1999), 8. (46) Berner, 16. (47) Building 92, “Building the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” Images: Library of Congress 1940 and Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation


WALLABOUT BAY / NAVY YARD The Brooklyn Navy Yard was founded in 1801 to build vessels for the newly independent United States. However, the history of shipbuilding at the yard started long before the government acquisition of the property. Located on Wallabout Bay across from Corlears Hook in New York City, the 300-acre industrial park has over 40 buildings and four million square feet of leasable space. Jansen de Raplje, a Walloon from the Spanish Netherlands, purchased 335 acres of land from the Dutch West India Trading Company in 1637, and renamed the land “Waal Boght,” from the Dutch meaning either “Bend in the River” or “Bay of Walloons.”38 This later became known as Wallabout Bay. In 1776, British forces, occupying New York during the Revolutionary War, imprisoned American patriots on ships here, and 12,000 men and women died of overcrowding, contaminated water, starvation, and disease. Their bodies were hastily buried along the shore.39

John Jackson and his brothers, who also established the Vinegar Hill neighborhood, purchased a parcel of the Rapelje land to build the area’s original shipyard facility in 1781.40 In 1801, the United States government purchased about 40 acres from Jackson for $40,000 to establish the Brooklyn Navy Yard, one of the nation’s first five naval shipyards. The expansion of the yard occurred slowly since there was little demand for warships in the first half of the 19th century.42 In 1824, the government purchased 25 acres of property from Sarah Scheneck, land on which the Naval Hospital stands today. The expansion included the construction of Quarters A, a navy commandant’s house, in 1807; a naval hospital in 1838; Dry Dock 1 in 1851; Building 92, a marine commandant’s residence, in 1857; and a surgeon’s house in 1863.

A portion of the yard was sold to create Wallabout Market in 1877. From the 1880s to 1941, it was Brooklyn’s major produce market and the second largest in the world at one point.43 This land was reclaimed in 1941 to expand the yard’s military activities and secure its boundaries against enemy action during World War II, drawing major protest from the local community and vendors. The yard workforce increased to 70,000 employees during this time, and women were hired for the first time to work as mechanics and technicians. (The workforce population during World War I had been 18,000 employees.) The yard was decommissioned in 1966, along with over 90 other military bases and installations in the world. It was the single largest closing of a military installation in the nation’s history, leaving 11,000 skilled workers unemployed.44

The City of New York purchased 260 acres of the yard for $23.5 million in 1967. It was reopened as an industrial park in 1971. During the yard’s 165 years of history as the nation’s premier naval industrial facility, many technological innovations and groundbreaking research took place. Any list of the five most famous warships in American history will probably contain four that were commissioned here, such as the Monitor, the world’s first modern warship; the Maine, whose sinking helped spark the Spanish-American War; the Arizona, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor; and the Missouri, on whose deck Japan’s surrender in World War II was signed.45 The Naval Lyceum was founded at the Yard in 1833 for sharing technological and strategic theories and development.46 From 1841 to 1851, the government built its third granite dry dock and made the first use of a steam-powered pile driver. Commodore Matthew C. Perry, commandant in the early 1840s, was responsible for pushing the transition to steamdriven ships from sail ships. In 1907, wireless radio was just being invented, and as a test aboard the USS Dolphin, opera singer Eugenia Farrar sang “I Love You Truly,” the first song to be broadcast over radio to test Dr. Lee DeForest’s arc radiotelephones. Edward R. Squibb, a U.S. naval surgeon during the Mexican-American War, was a key player in improving the quality of medicine provided to the Navy. He joined the Brooklyn Navy Yard hospital in 1851, and was responsible for finding a method for producing a pure and consistent form of ether to be used during surgical procedures.47 He also designed a new kind of medicine chest that was used in the Civil War to save lives of injured soldiers on a battlefield, most likely to have served as a precursor to modern first-aid kits. Today, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a home to the greatest concentration of manufacturing and green businesses in New York City. Some of its more than 200 current tenants include art and design studios, R&D facilities, wood shops, metal and ceramic manufacturers, clothing and office supply distributors, a ship repair facility, and a movie studio. 27


Havemeyers & Elder Sugar Refinery

The Edge & Northside Piers

292-314 Kent Ave.

34th N. 7th St.

Once the tallest structure on the Brooklyn waterfront, this former sugar refinery was central to the industrial era in Brooklyn. In the early 1900s, 98% of the sugar production in America was controlled by Havemeyers. The building, later the Domino Sugar Factory, was used for sugar production until 2004. There are plans to convert the building to apartments.

28

Designed by FX Fowle Architects, Northside Piers is a large new condominium development that opened in 2008, followed in 2010 by the Edge designed by Stephen B. Jacobs group. Both projects took advantage of the 2005 rezoning that changed permissible waterfront use from industrial to residential.

(48) Brian Merlis, Brooklyn’s Williamsburgh: A City Within A City,” (New York: Brooklyn Editions and Brooklynpix.com, 2005) 10. (49) New York City Department of City Planning, “Chapter 7: Historic Resources,” in Greenpoint- Williamsburg Rezoning EIS, FEIS, issued March 4, 2005, 7-6. (50) Merlis, 11. (51) Merlis, 28. (52) “Chapter 7: Historic Resources,” 7. (53) “Chapter 7: Historic Resources,” 7-8. (54) “Chapter 7: Historic Resources,” 7-9. (55) “Chapter 7: Historic Resources,” 7-9. (56) “City Has Plan to Upgrade Section of Williamsburg: Waterfront to Be Restored,” New York Times, October 21, 1979, 44. (57) Lisa W. Foderaro, “A Metamorphosis for Old Williamsburg,” New York Times, July 19, 1987, A9. (58) Diane Cardwell, “City Backs Makeover for Decaying Brooklyn Waterfront,” New York Times, May 3, 2005, A1. Images: Julia Lewis


WILLIAMSBURG Often divided along North and South boundaries, each area of Williamsburg possesses unique characteristics, and the development of both the North and South sides of Williamsburg was unified by the area’s relationship with the East River waterfront. Speculative development ventures and competing ferry services characterized early development patterns. As early as 1799, regularly scheduled ferry service moved passengers between Grand Street in New York and South 1st Street in Williamsburg.48 In 1802, Richard M. Woodhull, a speculative builder, hired Col. Jonathan Williams to survey and lay out a grid for 13 acres of land between present day North 15th Street and Division Street.49 The newly surveyed land became known as “Williamsburg” in honor of Col. Williams, but as a result of an inconvenient ferry route, Woodhull was bankrupt by 1811 because of his inability to market the newly subdivided land. A competing development known as Yorktown had a more advantageous ferry route to New York City’s business district, and thus attracted more buyers.50 The Yorktown ferry ran from the base of the newly created Grand Avenue, which grew to be the main commercial thoroughfare in Williamsburg by 1850.51 As Manhattan residents gained easy access to the Brooklyn coast via the new ferry connections, they were attracted to the natural landscape. A bluff located on present-day Bedford Avenue became an attractive location where wealthy New York elite like Cornelius Vanderbilt and James Fisk built waterfront mansions. This early settlement pattern coupled with the speculative real estate ventures that sprung up around ferry nodes was later supplanted by rapid industrialization, spurred by the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825.52 During the 19th century, Williamsburg’s waterfront shifted from a residential retreat to a commercial port. Between 1830 and 1851, Williamsburg’s population grew from 1,007 to 35,000 residents. During this period many industries began to open in Williamsburg, including many of the nation’s leading industries such as Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Standard Oil, Domino Sugar and Schaefer Beer.53 Unlike the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg’s waterfront mansions were quickly divided into rooming houses, and tenements were built to house the new workforce that supported the booming industry. By 1900, Williamsburg was home to more than 100,000 residents.54

In 1903, the Williamsburg Bridge opened and many Lower East Side immigrants flooded into Brooklyn in an effort to escape the crowded, dirty slums in lower Manhattan. By 1910, the population of Williamsburg had already doubled to 250,000.55 Yet this trend of uninterrupted industrial and residential growth was not sustained. After World War II, industrial jobs declined, and overcrowded Williamsburg became unpopular. In the latter half of the 20th century, Williamsburg’s industrial and manufacturing economy collapsed, and the neighborhood struggled to maintain its historic prominence. The Brooklyn-Queens expressway sliced through the city in 1955 and divided the neighborhood. In 1960s and 1970s, the city struggled to prop up what little industrial activity remained, but most of the abandoned industrial infrastructure along the waterfront was left to decay. However, towards the end of the 1970s, the conversation about the waterfront began to shift towards reimagining it as a recreational space. As part of a 1979 revitalization plan for the Southside of Williamsburg, the Department of City Planning (DCP) planned to reclaim the waterfront in order to restore the shoreline for recreational activity.56 By 1987, the Northside waterfront was targeted for large scale redevelopment. Developer Morris Bailey had plans for a 33 acre development stretching between North 5th Street and North 11th Street with several six-story light industrial buildings along Kent and 12-story towers along the waterfront. Despite the development plans, Brooklyn’s City Planning office expressed concern that the first rezoning to change waterfront use from industrial to residential would lead to a domino effect, squeezing out all remaining industry that had managed to survive along the Williamsburg waterfront.57 By the 21st century, New York City DCP embraced the idea of the waterfront as a residential space. In 2005, DCP completed a large-scale rezoning of the Greenpoint- Williamsburg waterfront, as Mayor Bloomberg stated the goal was “to reuse of this priceless but long derelict waterfront will be for the purposes of housing and recreation and not for such inappropriate uses as waste transfer stations and power plants.”58 New condominiums and rental apartments like the Edge and Northside Piers have sprung up along the waterfront-new glass towers that glitter along the waterfront as you approach Williamsburg from the newly accessible waterfront transportation routes such as the East River Ferry. 29


Former Industrial Waterfront

Belgian Block

Length of West St.

Java St.

West Street was a major center for industrial manufacturing in Brooklyn. By the 1970s the industry had relocated leaving the waterfront a relic of its former self. In 2005, the City of New York rezoned the waterfront from industrial to residential. Greenpoint’s industrial waterfront will transform into a residential esplanade.

30

Java Street, from West Street to the river, is a surviving example of a street still paved in Belgian block. Over the years, much of this historic fabric has been lost or paved over to create smoother public roads.

(59) Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report. New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. 1982. 2. (60) Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report. 7. (61)”Greenpoint, Brooklyn.” 2-3. (62) ”Greenpoint, Brooklyn.” 3-6. (63) IBID (64) Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report. 8. (65) Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report. 9. (66) “Greenpoint Historic District Designation,” 9. (67) Mariners’ Museum. http://www.marinersmuseum.org/uss-monitor-center/history. Pg. 1. (68) Greenpoint Historic District Designation Report. 11. (69) Reiss, Greenpoint Neighborhood History Guide. (70) “Greenpoint-Williamsburg Calendar No.12 N 090333 ZRK,” New York City Planning Commission, last modified July 1, 2009, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/greenpointwill/greenoverview.shtml. Images: Jason Crowley


GREENPOINT The neighborhood of Greenpoint, located along the waterfront of the East River and Newtown Creek, was purchased by the Dutch West Indian Company from the Keshaechqueren Indians in 1638.59 The lush green point was historically the agricultural zone for the inland town of Bushwick. In 1664, Captain Pieter Praa married Maria Hey, daughter of Jacob Hey, who owned the majority of the land in northeastern Greenpoint. By the 18th century Greenpoint consisted of a series of Praa family farms.60 Two competing ferries opened in 1790 in Greenpoint transporting produce from farms to Lower Manhattan. Five families made up the entire population of Greenpoint by the time of the Revolutionary War: Meserole’s, Bennett’s, Provoost’s, and Calyer’s; all decedents of Pieter Praa.61

Greenpoint’s agricultural significance began evolving by the 1830s when the farmland in Greenpoint, along the waterfront between Bushwick Creek and Newtown Creek, was purchased by Neziah Bliss; a manufacturer of steam engines and steamboats. In 1827 Bliss established Novelty Iron Works at the foot of East 12th Street in Manhattan. Novelty engines became synonymous with the shipping industry; most of the vessels built in New York had Novelty engines.62 In 1832 Bliss and Eliphalet Nott, president of Union College, purchased 30 acres of Meserole farmland. Over the next two years Bliss continued to purchase Greenpoint farmland until he owned all five Praa family farms.63 In 1834 Bliss had his land surveyed and mapped into streets. Erecting a bridge over Bushwick Creek, he opened Hallett’s Cove Turnpike along present-day Franklin Street, connecting Greenpoint with Williamsburg and Astoria.64 Greenpoint’s modern street pattern still reflects this early survey.

By 1840 industrialist began relocating to Bliss’ newly laid out town as ship builders relocated from overcrowded Manhattan to Greenpoint’s open waterfront. As industries filled the waterfront, residential and civic development followed, providing housing, churches, and schools for the workers families. Regular ferry service from the foot of Greenpoint Ave, first to East 10th Street, and later East 23rd Street began in 1850. Five years later Greenpoint annexed itself from Bushwick becoming part of the City of Brooklyn.65

Greenpoint was a major center for ship building by the 1850s. During the Civil War, Union vessels were built to develop the American Naval fleet. Continental Iron Works, founded in 1860 in Greenpoint, was commissioned in 1861 to build the hull of the ironclad USS Monitor.66 Greenpoint was also a center for other manufacturing in the mid-19th century. Established by Englishman Charles Cartlidge in 1848, Messrs. Charles Cartlidge & Co. manufactured tea sets, pitchers, busts, and other porcelain works in Greenpoint. The area near Freeman and West Streets was once referred to as ‘Pottery Hill’ due to Cartlidge & Co. and other porcelain manufacturers in the area.67 After the Civil War, a decline in ship building caused many industries in Greenpoint to close down or reorganize into new manufacturing facilities. At the turn of the 20th century Greenpoint’s waterfront was dominated by oil refineries and other supporting industries. The Great Depression caused many of the industries, which had been around since 19th century, to shut down; by WWII primarily only oil refineries remained on the waterfront. Due to trends of industries relocating to other states with more land at cheaper costs in the middle of the 20th century, much of the industrial presence on the Greenpoint waterfront disappeared.68 The Greenpoint waterfront essentially became a vast stretch of abandoned and deteriorating industrial facilities and infrastructure by the 1990s. Due to the shifting trends of land use in New York City, in 2005, the Department of City Planning rezoned the formerly industrial active Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfront from industrial/commercial to residential.69 The result of this rezoning gives the opportunity to reopen Greenpoint‘s waterfront for public access for the first time in over a century. Plans for waterfront esplanades and green space allow people to interact with the East River, which historically has not been a possibility for New Yorkers. Unfortunately, this rezoning comes at a cost, redeveloping the waterfront for residential uses means that much of the former industrial fabric is at risk of demolition and the very essence of what made Greenpoint special, the industries along the waterfront, may disappear in replacement of glass high-rise condominium towers. 31


Newtown Creek

Industry sprouted up around the creek in the mid19th century and soon Newtown Creek became one of the busiest industrial waterways in the country. The size and depth of the waterway was altered to accommodate various types of boats. Companies situated along the waterfront that took advantage of this convenient location included the Nichols Copper Company, National Enameling and Stamping Company, General Chemical Company, Standard Oil Refineries, American Agricultural Chemical Company, the Wrigley Chewing Gum Company, and many more.

32

Penny Bridge

Penny Bridge, constructed in the 1830s, is so called because it cost pedestrians a penny to cross between Newtown and Bushwick. It was torn down in 1939 in favor of the nearby Kosciuszko Bridge, which could handle much higher loads of traffic.

(71) Eugene L. Armbruster, The Eastern District of Brooklyn (New York: Harvard College, 1912), 11. (72) “Newtown Creek History,” Newtown Creek Brownfield Opportunity, accessed April 17, 2012, http://www.newtowncreekboa.org. (73) Armbruster, 12-15. (74) Armbruster, 18-20. (75) Armbruster, 18-20. (76) Armbruster, 17. (77) Newtown Creek Brownfield Opportunity, “Newtown Creek History.” (78) “Zoning Maps,” New York City Department of Planning, accessed April 17, 2012, http://www.nyc.gov/ html/dcp/html/subcats/zoning.shtml. (79) Chamber of Commerce of the Borough of Queens, Queens Borough, New York City: 1910-1920 (New York: L. I. Star Publishers, 1920) 29. (80) Armbruster, 17. (81) Queens Borough, New York City: 1910-1920, 20-23. (82) “Welcome,” Newtown Creek Brownfield Opportunity, accessed April 17, 2012, http://www.newtowncreekboa.org. (83) “Brownfields,” Newtown Creek Alliance, accessed April 17, 2012, http://www.newtowncreekalliance.org/brownfields/. Images: NYPL and Greater Astoria Historical Society.


NEWTOWN CREEK Newtown Creek is about four miles long with a natural depth of four to twelve feet. It is situated between what we now know as Queens and Brooklyn. It was originally called Mispat by the Native American tribe who lived at the head of the creek.71 Scandinavians began to immigrate to the area in the early 17th century and soon Dutch governor Kieft purchased lands near the creek for the West India Company in 1638.72 He tried to attract settlers to this region but there were conflicts with the natives and no substantial villages were founded. Nassau County, one of the nearby counties formed at this time, briefly gave the creek the name of Nassau River. In 1647, Dutch leader Peter Stuyvesant tried to entice people to settle in the area but no villages were founded until 1660, at which point the villages of Newtown and Bushwick were founded, giving the creek its current name of Newtown Creek.73 From the 1660s to the 1850s, the land around the creek was primarily farmland, broken into various plantations. As early as 1670 there was a ferry running across the creek and docking at what is now Meeker Avenue.74 The dock of Newtown Creek was a place where nearby farmers would come to transfer their produce to sail or row boats to be taken to the city market. Some smaller groups of families established landings closer to their homes to make transportation easier, specifically to the town of Bushwick. In 1853 a ferry was established, running from Manhattan to a landing on Newtown Creek near the Calvary Cemetery.75 By 1812 there was a bridge on piles built at Meeker Avenue, and in 1836 the Penny Bridge was built near the mouth of the creek. The Penny Bridge replaced a wooden bridge that was part of a highway connecting the towns of Bushwick and Newtown since 1670.76 In the late 1800s it was one of only two bridges linking Brooklyn and Queens. In the 1850s the Blissville Drawbridge, with footing near Greenpoint Avenue, was the first drawbridge to be created over Newtown Creek, indicating the creek was already a busy waterway that needed to allow passage to larger ships. This bridge helped spur the industrialization of Greenpoint as it was easier for both workers and materials to travel along Newtown Creek.77 Both the Penny Bridge and Blissville Drawbridge were torn down in favor of more modern structures that could withstand higher loads. Today several bridges, including the Kosciusko Bridge and John Jay Memorial Bridge, span Newtown Creek serving to connect Brooklyn and Queens. In the mid-19th century, Newtown Creek began to become a more industrialized area, and even now it remains completely zoned for industrial use. 78 In the late 19th century the waterways were altered to make room for larger boats, changing the shape of the entire creek; as a result of various Harbors and River bills passed in the early 1900s, the creek was altered in both depth and form, promoting the expansion of individual industries along the waterway.79 The first mill, known as Master’s Mill, was erected along the creek in 1664. In the early 1850s there were gristmills and farms bordering its shores, but soon it was populated with the factories or refineries of various companies.80 The creek was an ideal area for factories since they could dump waste into the water and easily transport their goods. Prominent local industries included oil and copper refineries, food factories, lumber yards, warehouses, and similar buildings. By the 1910s, a huge amount of business was done along the four miles of Newtown Creek. The Queens Chamber of Commerce boasted in 1920 that the tonnage and value of the cargo shipped on the creek exceeded what was transported on the Mississippi River which was about 1,000 miles long.81 The growing industries along the creek also required the construction of moderately priced residential housing in the vicinity for the factory employees, though no areas along the creek were used for residential purposes. Industrialization eventually caused Newtown Creek to become one of the busiest and most polluted waterways in the country. In 2010, Newtown Creek became a federal Superfund site in an effort to clean up the creek and the surrounding land.82 Many properties along the creek are now known as brownfields, “a property whose redevelopment is complicated by the presence or potential presence of contamination.”83 There are currently several local community organizations working to clean up the creek in partnership with the government. Companies that once had facilities along the creek, such as ExxonMobil, must contribute money to the cleanup. 33


Gantry State Park

This award-winning park features gantries from 1925. Since NY Harbor was a barrier to the railroad, boxcars were loaded onto barges in New Jersey and transported to float bridges along the Queens waterfront. The rails echo the freight yards that once extended across Center Boulevard between 51st-48th Avenues.

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Miller's Hotel (Now Waterfront Crab House) 203 Borden Ave.

As more passengers and visitors from Manhattan traveled to the Hunters Point LIRR connection, a frenzy of commercial construction occurred, and hotels, stores and saloons began cropping up along Borden Avenue. Built in 1881 by Oliver Charlick, Miller’s Hotel was once a gathering place for Queens politicians.

(84) Jeffrey Kroessler and Vincent Seyfried, “Hunters Point,” in The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed), ed. Kenneth T. Jackson (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2010) 631. “Hunters Point Historic District” (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission. May 15, 1968, Calendar No. 2, LP-0450). Vincent Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 1630-1930 (Flushing, NY: Queens Historical Society, 1984. Reprinted 2005) 75, 83. (85) Kroessler and Seyfried, “Hunters Point.” “Hunters Point Historic District.” (86) Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 84, 87, 95, 99. Stephen L. Meyers, Lost Trolleys of Queens and Long Island (Charleston SC, Chicago IL, Portsmouth NH, San Francisco CA: Arcadia Publishing, 2006) 9-11. “Railway Development in Queens County: Car House Repair Shop Changeable Sign Car,” The Street Railway Journal (1884-1908), August 22, 1903; 22, 8; American Periodicals, pg. 250 (ProQuest). (87) E. Blecher Hyde Map Co, New York, Queens 1919 Vol. 2, plates 001-002. Map. (88) Trenton Daily State Gazette, November 13, 1866, 3. J. Elfreth Watkins, History of the Pennsylvania Railroad (1896), both in TrainWeb.org: Development of the Carfloat Transfer Bridge in New York Harbor, accessed February 18, 2012, http:// members.trainweb.com/bedt/indloco/developmenttransferbridge.html. J. B. French, The Development of Car Float Transfer Bridges in New York Harbor (Reprinted from proceedings of the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers, 1917) 65-70, and Transfer or Float Bridge, application Filed July 16, 1910 (United States Patent Office, February 7, 1911), both in TrainWeb. org. Christopher Gray, “On Waterfronts of the Present, Rail-Bridge Relics of the Past,” New York Times, November 7, 2004 (ProQuest Historic Newspapers (89) Kroessler and Seyfried, “Hunters Point.” Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 138-139. (90) Philip Shenon, “Long Island City, New Artists’ Haven,” New York Times, August 24, 1984, C1 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). (91) David Dunlap, “Queens West Begins With a Park,” New York Times, September 18, 1994, A1 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers). (92) New York City Planning Commission, “Hunters Point Subdistrict Calendar No.24 C 040273 ZMQ,” Last modified June 23, 2004, 6-7. NYC Department of City Planning, “Hunters Point Subdistrict Rezoning: Overview & Public Review,” accessed April 22, 2012, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hunterspoint/ hp1.shtml. NYC Department of City Planning, The Zoning Handbook (New York: Department of City Planning, 2011) 74, 82. (93) NYC Department of City Planning, Silvercup West: Final Environmental Impact Statement (New York: Department of City Planning, June 30, 2006). (94) Zoning Handbook, 84. Images: Greater Astoria Historical Society


HUNTERS POINT Hunters Point is named after Captain George Hunter, who in 1825 died and willed the land to his three grandsons, Jacob, John B. and Richard, with the ability to divide the property and sell it as they saw fit. In 1835, they sold Hunters Point for $100,000 to Jeremiah Johnson, who acted on behalf of Eliphalet Nott, then president of Union College, Schenectady, NY. Vernon Boulevard was laid out in 1840 to connect Hunters point to Ravenswood and Astoria. In 1852-53, the estate’s central hill was leveled, and the soil was used to fill the reefs along the East River from the present 5th Street to the current bulkhead line. During this time, lots for future development along fourteen east- west streets were mapped out.84

With the establishment of the Hunters Point Ferry terminal at the foot of Borden Avenue in 1858, Manhattan commuters could now disembark from the East 34th Street terminal to Hunters Point and transfer to the already-established Flushing Railroad (1854) and the soon-to-be finished Long Island Rail Road depot (1861).85 The completion of the LIRR terminal for freight and passenger trains immediately transformed the hitherto quiet village into a major transportation node, which included hotels for passengers and commercial travelers, saloons for commuters and railroad crews, restaurants, boarding houses, stores, lumber and coal yards. Beginning in 1869, street railways along Borden Avenue, Jackson Avenue, and Vernon Boulevard funneled passengers from different parts of Queens into this major transfer point. Resulting from this frenzy of development, its proximity to waterways and its closeness to Manhattan, Hunters Point is singular in Queens for having started almost instantly as a commercial and industrial center. From the 1860s through the 1920s, the area was the oil refinery capital of the greater metropolitan area.86 Industries in Hunters Point included Standard Oil, the New York Sugar Refinery, the New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company, and several paint and varnish works.87 At the foot of the river were sets of gantries, or transfer bridges. Since New York Harbor acted as a barrier between the railroads in New Jersey and Long Island, boxcars were loaded onto carfloats in New Jersey, and transported to float bridges along the Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan waterfront as early as 1866. These gantries could rise 18 feet and manage 100-ton cars, which were then loaded onto tracks that would transport goods east into Long Island. Originally built in 1904, the present gantries were rebuilt in 1925 by engineer James Benton French, who allowed the two separate decks to be lifted and lowered independently, and added a wide shed at the top to protect the lifting equipment.88 The 1910 construction of the LIRR tubes that went directly from the new Pennsylvania Station to the Hunters Point terminal proved to be the death knell for the activity in this area. The tunnels essentially rendered the Hunters Point Ferry obsolete. The throngs of travelers who once frequented the hotels and shops could commute to Manhattan directly beneath the river. Additionally, with the completion of the Queensboro Bridge in 1909, Queens Plaza became the new “downtown” area. Commercial activity in Hunters Point decreased and the ferries were closed in 1925.89 Much of the area’s industry had declined by the 1970s, and in the next decade it became an “artists’ haven” with factories being converted into galleries and new art centers such as P. S. 1, housed in a Romanesque Revival school building from 1892.90

In the last thirty years, the Hunters Point waterfront has seen the wholesale demolition of much of its industrial fabric, and the construction of new high-rise luxury condominiums, such as Citi-lights apartments.91 The neighborhood has also undergone several rezonings in the past six years. On June 23, 2004, in order to maintain the character of the low-rise, commercial area between Jackson Avenue and the East River, the Department of City Planning approved the Hunters Point Subdistrict Rezoning. The zoning set height limits and ensured that light manufacturing would remain, while allowing for a wide range of commercial uses, such as stores, restaurants, small theaters, and artist studios.92 In 2006, the lot once occupied by New York Architectural Terra Cotta was rezoned for a mixed-use development called “Silvercup West.”93 Perhaps most significantly, the South Hunters Point Special District (2008) is designed to turn the barren site of the former New York Sugar Refinery into a high-density mixed-used development with residential and retail uses with a publicly-accessible waterfront park.94 35


Queensbridge Park

Named for the Queensboro Bridge that towers over it, Queensbridge Park is at the southern edge of Big Allis with Rainey Park flanking to the north. In 1998, the park was reinvigorated with a half million dollars in improvements.

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Big Allis

Big Allis, the moniker given to the Ravenswood No. 3 Power plant that dominates the Ravenswood skyline, was named for the Allis�Chalmers Company which manufactured the new turbines for the site constructed in 1965. It is a 2,480 MW power plant.

(95) New York Times, March 18, 1894. (96) Roosevelt Island Historical Society, www.rihs.us. (97) New York Times, Oct 7, 1939, ProQuest Historical Newspapers. (98) New York Times, May 10, 1963, ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Images; Lisa Swyers and Richard Lowery


RAVENSWOOD Ravenswood is a neighborhood on the far western edge of Queens. Situated along the East River, it is part of Long Island City between Astoria and Hunter’s Point. Ravenswood has an early history similar to the rest of the Brooklyn Queens Waterfront in the sense that the land was originally settled by Native Americans who were ultimately forced out by European settlers. The early Europeans utilized the land for farming until it was purchased for speculative development by the Roach Brothers in 1836. The Roach Brothers commissioned Alexander Jackson Davis to draw up watercolor schemes for a planned community of architectural taste and refinement that would attract wealthy Manhattanites to the area. Although successful in their efforts to sell the land and crate a Neo-Classical bucolic Arcadia, it had a fairly short lifespan. An 1894 New York Times article describes the area as, “Not more than 20 years ago famous families of that period filled these great houses with life and fashion. Black clouds of smoke now hang over these once beautiful homes, which are streaked and seamed… Manufactories and other industries gradually drove nearly all of the old-time residents out of their great houses.”95 Manufacturing not only overtook Ravenswood from Astoria in the north and Hunter’s Point to the south, but Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island) was developed as a penal colony under the guiding architectural hand of Alexander Jackson Davis. This was the final blow to Ravenswood’s hopes as a retreat haven.96 The same New York Times article describes Blackwell’s Island as such, “…with its insane asylum and rapidly growing retreats for prisoners and paupers, it destroyed the view along the river front until the aristocratic residents of Ravenswood were forced to leave.” To this day, Roosevelt Island is one of many impediments to redevelopment along the Ravenswood waterfront. Roosevelt Island geographically lies exactly along Ravenswood’s shoreline and has undergone a boom in high-rise construction, blocking river views from Ravenswood. As manufacturing took over the Queens waterfront, the land value was low, spurring development of electrical and gas utility sites and prompting the city to purchase large swaths of land to be built up as public housing projects. The Queensbridge Houses opened in 1939 on forty-seven acres of land in southern Ravenswood. When there were objections raised, they were dismissed as the project surged forward because the low cost of land on the East River waterfront justified the construction site.97 Twelve years later, Ravenswood would become host to another enormous housing project, the Ravenswood houses, sited about four blocks in from the river. Consolidated Edison eventually tried to house a nuclear reactor on the Ravenswood East River Gas Company site in 1963. Met with stiff public opposition from all New Yorkers who were adamant that a reactor not be built two miles from Times Square, the site is now a conventional power plant with the red and white rising smokestacks of “Big Allis” heralding Ravenswood.98 Today the area is hemmed in by housing projects to the south and the east, Big Allis is on the water on the western edge, and Astoria sprawls to the north. The border between Astoria and Ravenswood is marked by The Nouguchi Museum, a sliver of expectation for what may be to come for Ravenswood as a gritty cultural and artistic enclave. The museum recently launched an exhibition to try to proactively address and manage redevelopment of the area with the existing community—an endeavor that was quite successful, though only time will tell how the story of Ravenswood will ultimately unfold.

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Hell Gate Bridge

An arch bridge over the East River built for the New York Connecting Railroad line in 1917 developed by Henry Hornbostel (architect) and Gustav Lindenthal (engineer). It was the inspiration for the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia.

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Astoria Pool

One of 11 public swimming pools planned throughout the five boroughs by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, armed with funding from the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. The Astoria Pool was in the center of Astoria Park between Hell Gate Bridge and Triborough Bridge.

(99) “Mill Rock Island,” New York City Parks, last modified June 6, 2001, http://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/historical-signs/listings?id=9756. (100) Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812 (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1868) 988. (101) E. Blecher Hyde Map Co, New York, Queens 1908 Vol. 2, Plate 008, (US10979). Map. (102) Donald G. Presa, “Sohmer & Company Piano Factory Building,” (New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission, February 27, 2007; Designation List 386, LP-2172). (103) “Astoria Rezoning – Approved!” New York City Department of City Planning, last modified April 28, 2010, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/astoria/astoria4.shtml Images: Mayank Patel and NYC Parks 1936


ASTORIA Astoria, the most northerly neighborhood in our studio area, is situated along the East River in northwestern Queens. It developed later than the areas to the south, and never took on the overwhelmingly industrial character of Hunters Point or the Brooklyn waterfront. This could be attributed to the Hell Gate Channel, a dangerous, fast-flowing tidal confluence of the East River, the Long Island Sound and the Harlem River that was filled with rocks and reefs that claimed many ships. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cleared many of these obstacles using dynamite between 1851 and 1885.99 While this made the northern waters of the East River safer, development beyond the Hallet’s Point peninsula faltered until the 1930s. Hallet’s Point was named after its first European settler, William Hallet, in 1659 and its strategic significance was confirmed when Fort Stephens was built in 1814.100 This area was also the nucleus of Stephen Alling Halsey’s speculative urban development in 1839. Halsey operated a ferry service to 92nd Street and built a turnpike connecting to Flushing. Named after his friend and reluctant investor, John Jacob Astor, Astoria never matched the other towns to the south in Queens and Brooklyn, although wealthy Manhattanites, such as the Barclay, Potter, Ditmars, Woolsey, and Hoyt families did built summer residences there, attracted to the bucolic setting in the mid-19th century between what is now 12th and 14th Streets (Old Astoria) and around Lawrence Point to the north. Industry did creep up from Brooklyn, though not beyond Hallet’s Point, in the form of stone works, lumber yards, and shipyards101. Most of these have now gone, but the Sohmer & Co. Piano Factory remains a testament to the vibrancy of the area.102 In addition to the industrial establishments, there were churches, schools and residences, both of the factory owners and also their workers. Most of this historic fabric on Hallet’s Point was demolished to build the Astoria Houses, 22 multi-story apartment buildings completed in 1951. North of Hallett’s Point, Astoria Park was created in 1913 and the Interborough Rapid Transit Subway arrived in 1917, the same year the Hell Gate railway bridge was constructed. In 1936, Robert Moses made his distinctive mark on the area with the completion of the Triborough Bridge and the Astoria Pool in the newly renovated Astoria Park. With such amenities and with its proximity to Manhattan, Astoria remains a desirable commuter residential neighborhood with commercial centers located near mass transit, but the former industrial center along the boundary with Ravenswood to the south has languished. As of 2010, a zoning amendment now permits 6-8 story apartments or mixed- use buildings in the areas to the west of Hallett’s Cove in order to revitalize the area and provide inclusionary housing.103

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CURRENT INTERPRETATION

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In order to create an effective interpretation strategy, we first examined the existing interpretation along the waterfront. We found a variety of different interpretive methods that have been employed. In some areas of the waterfront the historic fabric is gone but signage or markers are used to indicate what was once there. Other areas utilize existing historic fabric in new ways or as focal points for parks. Below are descriptions of some of the current interpretive strategies employed along the waterfront.

Gantry State Park In the Gantry Plaza State Park, the industrial fabric is one of the key focal points in the design; piers surround two sets of float bridges and salvaged rail tracks and railroad ties are used as landscape elements nearby. Placement of these elements is not historically accurate, but it helps visitors understand what was once here and how these elements were originally used in connection to the waterfront. Signage provides historic photographs and short historic narrative about the area. From this signage, visitors get a sense of what the area used to look like, learn when the area fell into disuse, and learn about the creation of the park itself.

Float Bridges at Gantry Plaza

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Signage at Gantry Plaza


CURRENT INTERPRETATION

Brooklyn Bridge Park In Brooklyn Bridge Park, historic fabric, signage, and a website are used as interpretation tools. The historic fabric is primarily comprised of old pier sheds. Some shed remnants along Pier 2 will be used in structures while others simply provide visual interest. Part of the frame of Pier 6 is used to frame the volleyball courts. Entire buildings within the park, such as the Tobacco Warehouse, have been adaptively reused; the historic shell of the building remains but it is now used for events such as weddings, corporate functions, and other parties. Other areas within the same park, such as portions of Pier 1, have removed all traces of its waterfront history; new hills, trees and paths were established where pier structures used to be. This creates a new pedestrian-friendly context but totally eradicates any trace of the industrial history. Signage is also used to convey information within the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Plaques located near the Fulton Ferry Landing show maps of the landing from different eras of the City’s history. Viewers can orient themselves according to the maps and understand the transportation and construction patterns that emerged and changed over the centuries. The Brooklyn Bridge Park official website also provides historic information about the park in addition to information about current events.

Plaques on the Fulton Ferry Landing

Pier 2 Reusing Industrial Sheds in the Park

The Former Tobacco Warehouse

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Newtown Creek Nature Walk The Newtown Creek Nature Walk utilizes a scavenger hunt and signage as interpretive tools. It is located in front of the wastewater treatment plant where a path encourages visitors to explore the area along part of the creek; this takes visitors to one of the only areas nearby where they can actually reach the waterway. The Newtown Creek nature walk is unique among the interpretations we have examined because of the breadth of heritage it covers, including the earliest glacial formations in the area, Native American tribes and the first industrial uses along the creek. Signage all along the path describes the different types of plants you are looking at and how they were used in conjunction with nearby industry; they describe which trees were used for boat building or other similar uses. Signage also lists nearby tribes and shows images of the original shape of the creek which was significantly altered during the 19th century industrial boom. In addition to signage, a scavenger hunt created by the New York City government caters to youth, engaging them in both the physical space and historical narrative.

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Signage of Historical Place Names from the Area

Stone Table Showing the Original Shape of Newtown Creek


CURRENT INTERPRETATION During our analysis, we discovered several strengths and weaknesses of the current interpretation strategies. Some of the strong interpretations were seen in areas that had attempted to renew access to the waterfront, placed plaques or signage that addressed the invisible and visible historic narrative, or incorporated historic fabric into their current use. Several weaknesses of the current strategies were that the incorporated fabric is often manipulated and removed from its original location; there is a lack of a sense that this is a historic industrial corridor and neighborhoods are disconnected from their waterfront heritage. In addition to reviewing the current interpretation of the waterfront, we also researched all of the stakeholders that interact with the East River Waterfront in order to get a better sense of where we might leverage our new proposed interpretive strategies. We found many organizations that could potentially employ our research or interpretation tools in their educational programs through tours, signage, or other informational projects. One example is the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. This is one of the only organizations that has formed a physical link between many of our neighborhoods with the creation of a bike path. The Greenway provides an opportunity to emphasize the heritage of the areas it passes through. Currently, sections of the Greenway interact with surrounding historical fabric, but do not interpret it. For example, two routes go through the DUMBO Historic District on Plymouth and Water Streets. Historic Belgian block streets were rebuilt in order to make the ride easier for cyclists. These new lanes acknowledge the historic fabric while paying attention to the needs of current waterfront users. We have been in contact with the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, and they have expressed an interest in the possibility of signage that would reference the significant historic areas surrounding the bike path. Another stakeholder that we have reached out to is the East River Ferry. After an initial meeting with representatives of the ferry, we are moving forward with suite of interpretive tools that we hope to implement this summer. These interpretive tools are discussed in detail in the Proposed Interpretation chapter. For a full list of stakeholders, current interpretations, and possible ways in which organizations could interpret the East River waterfront, see Appendix 1.

Workers re-laying Belgian Block

Belgian Block in DUMBO

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PROPOSED INTERPRETATION

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Interpretive Framework The Brooklyn-Queens waterfront is made up of diverse neighborhoods, each with a unique development trajectory. Challenged with the objective of creating a unified interpretative strategy for the entire riverfront, the current interpretive methods in place do not act as a cohesive whole. The concept of a heritage corridor is used in order to frame the interpretive strategies. A heritage corridor is the most appropriate framework since it aims to identify a collection of natural, cultural and historical resources as part of a unified landscape. Heritage corridors are “lived-in landscapes,” and as part of their creation it is important to “collaborate with communities determining how to make heritage relevant to local interests and needs.” Recognizing the many community constituents and stakeholders operating independently throughout the Brooklyn-Queens East River Waterfront, the stakeholders were utilized in order to learn more about the current interpretive strategies in relation to those developed. The interpretation is an effort to “unify” the neighborhoods along the waterfront as a heritage corridor, allowing existing residents and visitors to experience and understand the East River Waterfront as an engine of New York City’s industrial economy. Acknowledging that these diverse neighborhoods may not see themselves as a unified heritage corridor, the interpretive strategies aim to sensitively leverage current connectivity between them.

Interpretation Goals The following goals for interpretive strategies are: - Interpret the river as a significant industrial corridor - Interpret what is visible and invisible - Tell stories that focus on more than just buildings - Make public aware of the historic BQW

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PROPOSED INTERPRETATION Underneath the Williamsburg bridge, bookended by the Domino Sugar Factory and Schaefers Landing apartments.

Methodology The goal of this project was to develop strategies for specific areas based on accessibility and existing networks. A mixture of traditional and alternative interpretation methods were applied that leveraged existing platforms and technologies. Select interpretation tools operate at a macro level covering the entire area along the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront; whereas, other tools function on a micro level covering a discrete portion of the study area. The micro tools take advantage of existing platforms available to disseminate information. Below is a chart of our tools: Level of Interpretation: Macro:

Signage

Tumblr

Foursquare

QR Codes

Playing Cards

Micro:

East River Ferry Brochures and Podcasts Astoria

Ravenswood Podcast

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MACRO LEVEL INTERPRETATION Signage The signage component of the interpretive strategy is banners, which take advantage of existing banner infrastructure found on light posts throughout the study area. Currently, the East River Ferry has banners along the waterfront advertising the new ferry service. The banners designed by the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront Studio compliment this signage campaign, alternating on every other light pole, allowing visitors to identify the corridor as well as a mode of transportation to use in order to explore the area. By leveraging existing infrastructure, the cost and time necessary to produce and install the signage is reduced. The banner features the BQW bridge logo and studio name, as well as a map of the corridor with the different neighborhoods in the study area highlighted in a distinct color. The banner signage is designed to be simple and effective. By establishing a consistent brand, visitors can easily recognize that they are within the heritage corridor. The signage acts as a wayfinding device rather than a way to disseminate information; therefore, it is elevated higher than traditional signage, increasing its visibility.      

BROOKLYN/QUEENS WATERFRONT

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Above: Sample of Signage Right: Render of Banner


MACRO LEVEL INTERPRETATION Tumblr Tumblr is a micro blogging platform that was started in 2007. Micro blogging is the concept of creating blog content out of small pieces of information- a photo or a quotation- rather than an entire conventional blog entry. Tumblr revolutionized the blogging movement, allowing anyone to create an attractive blog within minutes. The advantage of Tumblr as a platform is its flexibility, ease, and connectivity. Since Tumblr entries are short they allow for easy updating. Tumblr posts have been created by the studio based on historical and current photographs, newspaper articles, video clips, poem excerpts- all related to the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront. Tumblr has a built-in feature allowing other Tumblr users to republish a blog entry reaching a broader audience. Some of the most popular posts thus far are about Astoria Park. QR codes have been created that link directly to the Tumblr entries in order to make them easily accessible and built into all of the interpretive products.

Tumblr Page

QR Codes QR codes, or Quick Response codes, are a type of matrix barcode first designed for the automotive industry. In recent years, the system has gained broader popularity due to fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard barcodes. Current smartphones are able to scan QR codes, making them useful for consumer advertising. Today, QR codes can be found everywhere, signs, magazines, buses, and business cards; ultimately, anywhere a person with a smartphone may be found. The BQW Studio has used the innovative data storage system to share more comprehensive information about the East River corridor. For example, QR codes are included on the interpretive playing cards. The QR code links to a Tumblr post with more information about the building, site, or person mentioned on the card. By using both media platforms to reinforce one another, the amount of information shared as well as the number of people reached is broadened. QR codes create an opportunity to continue providing new content. By updating the Tumblr entries connected to the QR code, users learn something new simply by rescanning the QR code. QR codes create an element of surprise, acting like a virtual scavenger hunt since they do not inform users what they will discover until after scanning. This results in an engaging interpretive method, creating a more interactive experience for the user.

QR Code

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MACRO LEVEL INTERPRETATION FourSquare FourSquare is a social media application where members can ‘check-in’ at various sites throughout the world to earn points, get digital badges, and post comments and photos about the sites. The application is available as a website or a smartphone application, and in order to ‘check-in’ a person must physically be there. When using a smartphone, the application confirms the member’s location with the phone’s GPS. However, when using the website platform, all information is viewable regardless of the user’s location. The BQW Studio uses FourSquare as a platform creating a digital heritage corridor throughout the studio area linking thirty-two of the sites in a cohesive FourSquare List. The sites include historic buildings, parks, scenic lookouts, museums and ferry stops. These sites are also incorporated in the studioproduced walking tour brochures and scavenger hunt playing cards. The aim is to promote these sites and the studio project by encouraging FourSquare members to visit each of these sites and ‘check-in’. Each site has already been created in FourSquare, and is already a platform where members can interact by posting information about the featured site.

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The benefits of FourSquare are that it is a free application, it is easy to use and once the list of sites is established it does not require any additional maintenance, so it has longevity. Also, as an alternative digital interpretive methodology it increases the chances of reaching a younger generation-- complementing more traditional deliverables, such as brochures.


MACRO LEVEL INTERPRETATION Playing Cards The Playing Card system is a traditional deck of cards with images and facts about a variety of sites, events, and personages related to the BrooklynQueens East River Waterfront. Each card was broken into fourteen themed categories below: Card Ace King Queen Jack 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 Joker

Theme Wildcard Brooklyn General Queens General Military Events Bridges Commercial Residential Ferries Recreation Manufacturing Utilities Civic Weird

Some cards contain clues to help a person identify a particular site or monument within the studio area, while others are simply informative. Each card includes a QR code, linked to the Tumblr page, which contains additional information, images or videos. Cards that are sites available for Four Square check-in are denoted with the Four Square logo. The cards are a fun way to disseminate information about the waterfront corridor. They provide an innovative opportunity to incorporate the heritage of each neighborhood within the study area.

Above: Deck of Cards Right: Sample of cards

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MICRO LEVEL INTERPRETATION BROOKLYN/QUEENS

WATERFRONT Crossing the East River for work or pleasure? Either way, you’re in good company. The East River Ferry transports New Yorkers and visitors across the waters that for four centuries have made New York City what it is today. Find out how by taking a Brooklyn/Queens Waterfront Heritage tour. Beginning in the days of the Dutch colonists, the city growing on Manhattan Island was accompanied by settlers on the east side of the river. Long Island’s farmers transported produce to market on the earliest ferries, which soon began to serve the city’s first commuters. As New York became the America’s busiest seaport, the shores of Brooklyn and Queens provided the room needed to house goods from all over the world--and for factories to turn them into industrial products. Even in the golden age of the railroad, the water remained the way to move things in and out of the city. A bustling corridor lined with rows of warehouses, towering factories, and growing neighborhoods, the East River united, rather than divided, by its shores. After decades of neglect and inaccessibility, new parks and residential and retail developments are turning more and more of the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront into a destination again. But amid rapid changes, it is important to take a closer look at what the places along the river can tell us about our city. While much of the landscape has been transformed, there are still countless signs of its history to be discovered. The Brooklyn/Queens Waterfront Project is a way to step off the ferry and into New York’s waterfront history. It includes do-ityourself walking tours for seven waterfront neighborhoods where Brooklyn and Queens meet the East River, from New York Harbor in the south to Hell Gate in the north. Six of these tours begin and end at East River Ferry stops, guided by brochures free on the boat--Atlantic Avenue, DUMBO, Schaefer’s Landing/South Williamsburg, North 6th/North Williamsburg and Greenpoint—and one in Queens, at Hunter’s Point. A seventh tour, of Ravenswood and Astoria, can be followed with a free podcast, available. Each tour highlights places that played a part in making the neighborhood, and the city, what it is today. Once you begin to look at what is around you, you will start to see more intriguing sites than we can list. Scan the QR Code below for more information. The Brooklyn/Queens Waterfront project was developed by students of the Historic Preservation program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and implemented in cooperation with East River Ferry and NY Waterway. Historic Preservation Graduate Studio: Nicole Ambrose, Jason Crowley, Kate Gilmore, Julia Lewis, Richard Lowery, Mayank Patel, Angela Serratore, Lisa Swyers, Jonathan Taylor, Max Yeston, and Brooke Young | Professor: Ward Dennis

BROOKLYN/QUEENS WATERFRONT

EXPLORE Hunter's Point/ Long Island City

Take a brochure now--take a tour, anytime.

India Street/ Greenpoint

PHOTO: JULIA LEWIS 2012

Atlantic Ave/ Brooklyn Bridge Park

DUMBO/ Brooklyn Bridge Park

schaefers' Landing/ South Williamsburg

North 6th Street/ North Williamsburg

PHOTO: KATE GILMORE 2012

Image of the poster for the East River Ferry

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PHOTO: JULIA LEWIS 2012

PHOTO: JULIA LEWIS 2012

PHOTO: KATE GILMORE 2012

PHOTO: KATE GILMORE 2012

East River Ferry Since 1986 the New York Waterway Company has revived and operated ferry services in New York City. June 2011 brought another resurgence of ferry service to New York City when New York Waterway opened the East River Ferry. The East River Ferry offers year-round service with regular stops at Wall Street/Pier 11 in Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO, Schaefer Landing/S. Williamsburg, N. 6th St./N. Williamsburg, India St./Greenpoint, Hunters Point South/Long Island City, and E. 34th St./Midtown. During the summer the ferry also has a Lower Harbor Loop that stops at Atlantic Ave/ Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governor’s Island. The BQW Studio takes advantage of the East River Ferry as an easy means of access to nearly half of the neighborhoods within the boundary of the studio. The remaining neighborhoods are within walking distance of neighborhoods with ferry access or easily accessible via public transportation. Upon riding the ferry, the studio noted an opportunity to use the ferry as a platform to disseminate information about the Brooklyn waterfront history. The vast majority of the East River Ferry patrons use the service to commute to and from work; however, with daily service, the ferry is also a great form of transportation for tourists wishing to gain an economical alternative way to experience New York City.


Render of poster and brochures at ferry stop.

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Render of brochures and poster on ferry boat.

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MICRO LEVEL INTERPRETATION East River Ferry: Walking Tour Brochures

East River Ferry: Podcasts

The studio produced walking tour brochures for each individual East River Ferry stop in Brooklyn and Queens. The front of each brochure has the name of the particular stop, a map of the entire Brooklyn Queens Waterfront with each neighborhood in the study area colorcoded, a panoramic photograph of the neighborhood from the water, and the studio name. When the brochure is opened the first fold gives a brief neighborhood history. The main section of the brochure is a thematic walking tour with ten points of interest within walking distance that explore the heritage of the particular neighborhood. The sites chosen for the brochure include those that still exist as well as ones that have been demolished. On the reverse side of the brochure are additional nearby points of interest. The nearby points serve as a way to encourage visitors to explore further inland as well as explore additional waterfront neighborhoods.

In addition to creating written content, the BQW Studio takes advantage of the short commute between each ferry stop offering a short digital podcast. The podcasts range from two to three minutes each, sharing information about what can be seen on the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront. Each stop has a personalized podcast recording giving a brief history of the neighborhood and pointing out significant landmarks along the waterfront which patrons can easily see from the boat. While listening to the podcast, historic images appear as an aid helping to guide the listener. This is an excellent way to entertain patrons of the East River Ferry who might want something to listen to while on the boat and are curious as to what they are seeing out the window. First time visitors to the various neighborhoods are able to get a quick perspective of the area before landing, and it is especially useful for those who would like to do the East River Ferry walking tour but cannot due to time constraints.

Printed brochures.

Mock-up of iPhone application.

The brochures are a traditional interpretive strategy that allow the public to experience the neighborhood through an immersive walking tour. The brochures will be placed at the kiosks found at each East River Ferry stop. The ferry will also have a poster with all of the brochures, so that patrons can choose to do any one tour or multiple tours depending on their personal preference. The brochures can also be distributed at other kiosks maintained by New York Waterway and additional locations that distribute tourist information. (See appendix 2 for brochure samples.)

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Sample of Podcast.

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MICRO LEVEL INTERPRETATION Astoria and Ravenswood Podcasts Unlike the other neighborhoods in our studio area, Ravenswood and Astoria are not served by the East River Ferry. Therefore, it is difficult to integrate these areas with the East River Ferry brochures, which are integral to the ferry stops. However, both Ravenswood and Astoria have long stretches of public waterfront access, mainly along waterfront promenades and City Parks, such as Ralph De Marco Park, Astoria Park, Hallet’s Cove Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, Rainey Park and Queensbridge Park. These areas are pedestrian and cycle friendly, which is conducive to a podcast based tour that people can listen to while walking, running, or cycling as an alternate method of delivery than a brochure. In all, thirteen individual podcasts have been created covering the significant events, features and buildings of Astoria and Ravenswood: Introduction Hell Gate Bridge Astoria Park and Pool General Slocum Triborough Bridge Fort Stephens Hallet’s Point Industry Sohmer Piano Factory Noguchi Museum Big Allis A J Davis House Queensbridge Park Queensbridge Houses Each of these was created in two formats (mp3 or m4a) so that they are accessible by any media player. In addition, the m4a format used by Apple products and software are an enhanced podcast with images shown in relation to the audio. These are accessible via the Studio Tumblr and Google Site and can be downloaded to a personal mp3 player or iPod/iPad/iPhone. Furthermore, they have been converted to make them accessible via YouTube. This podcast model can be replicated for each neighborhood in the study area if proven to be an effective interpretation strategy that engages the broader public. All of the interpretive strategies have been crafted to reinforce each other. The studio crafted both an interpretive framework as well as interpretive content providing a full range of deliverables that can be used by a variety of different stakeholders. Depending on the stakeholder’s current interpretive strategy, they can choose to use all of the Brooklyn- Queens Waterfront Studio interpretive options, or selectively choose elements that best reinforce their current methods.

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NEXT STEPS

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The tools that we propose are simple, modular and scalable. By using extant digital platforms, we have created tools that are self-sustainable and require no additional maintenance once they are uploaded; therefore, our deliverables will have long life-span. As we crafted each of the individual tools we ensured that they integrate well with one another and reinforce each other, and by employing both traditional hard copy and innovative digital platforms we aim to reach a broader audience. As part of our suite of interpretive strategies we have created both an interpretive framework as well as interpretive content, providing a menu of options for our stakeholders. Depending on their current interpretive strategy, they can employ all of these methods or select a single strategy that best meets their needs. The next steps for each interpretive strategy are outlined below:

Signage

All street banner permits are reviewed by New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT has very strict guidelines for banner signage in terms of the size of the banner and graphic layout of the material. For example, the sponsor’s logo cannot occupy more than 10% of the lower portion of the banner. We will review our banner design to ensure that it meets the DOT’s requirements, and then submit the banners for approval. If approved we will hire a licensed rigger and create a plan in order to renew our banner certifications upon expiration, which occurs every 30 to 90 days, in order to ensure the banners remain in place for at least six months.

Tumblr

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We will continue to regularly post entries so that the public remains actively engaged in the discussion about the Brooklyn/Queens historic waterfront. Tumblr is a particularly useful interpretive strategy since it lets you learn about your audience. Preservation projects have just begun to leverage some of the digital platforms we employed in our suite of proposed tools; therefore, it is important to understand exactly what type of audience interacts with the content we have produced. Ultimately, we hope to create a large online community that interacts with the provided content. In order to understand the level of public engagement with our blog content, we will use Google Analytics. This will help us learn more about different age groups , who likes or re-blogs our posts, geographic locations, and whether our blog is accessed via mobile devices or desktop platforms. Using the information we learn from Google Analytics, we will further refine the type of content we post in order to engage our established audience as well as reach new audiences.


NEXT STEPS Foursquare

We will evaluate the effectiveness of this platform by examining the number of people who begin to follow our foursquare heritage corridor and what type of comments they post for each site. We hope that our corridor encourages a conversation about the industrial heritage in the area and how it is currently used or removed. In addition, we hope the new Foursquare corridor will increase the number of check-ins to the identified sites within our study area. Based on results, we will determine if we should continue using Foursquare as a digital heritage corridor strategy or work with a different digital platform.

QR Codes

All the QR Code entries are finalized; however, we will need to develop a regular maintenance plan to ensure all QR Codes link to an active Tumblr entry. In addition, after a certain period of time, we would like to update the QR codes so that they link to new Tumblr entries. Before devoting resources to updating the content, we will need to determine whether or not QR codes are an effective dissemination strategy. If they do seem to reach a broad audience, we will identify who will update the content and how the new content can be implemented without disturbing the users’ experience.

Playing Cards

Our playing cards are ready to be printed and distributed. We plan to reach out to the identified stakeholders in order to distribute the playing cards at sites throughout our study area. Two stakeholders that we have already been in contact with have expressed interest in this interpretive tool. Building 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard hopes to provide the playing cards in their gift shop, and the East River Ferry service plans to distribute them in a coaster format on their ferries. We plan to reach out to additional venues such as Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn Brewery, the Noguchi Museum and the historical societies in our study area to determine additional locations that are willing to distribute this interpretive material.

ERF Brochures and Podcast

The East River Ferry has offered to print and produce the poster and brochures that we created as well as incorporate them as an exhibit for ferry patrons. We will be working with their marketing team to refine the graphics and content of our brochures as well as articulate the written content for the poster that will introduce the public to our project and clarify the goal of the brochure walking tours. We will also work with the East River Ferry to integrate our podcasts with their “NY Waterway App.”

Astoria and Ravenswood Podcasts

We will be evaluating Broadcastr, an app for iPhone and Android, which uses the GPS on your smartphone to unlock pictures and audio relevant to your location. This platform may be the best tool to ensure that our site-specific podcasts have a chance of being easily accessible to the public. While people can download them through our website, it would be great if they get accidently discovered because of geocoding through this large platform. We have also uploaded them on YouTube and Tumblr so we will be able to track the number of users playing them, and categorize the data by age group, geographic location, and platform type-- mobile or desktop.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Websites ARROW Facebook Page. Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.facebook.com/pages/ARROW/92687288833?ref=sgm. Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Pier 1 (Open).” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.brooklynbridgeparknyc.org/the-park/pier-1-open. Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Pier 2.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.brooklynbridgeparknyc.org/the-park/pier-2. Brooklyn Bridge Park. “The Park.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/. Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “About Us.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.bbpc.net/go/about-us/about-us. Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. “Empire Fulton Ferry.” Accessed April 30, 2012. http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/go/the-park/the-parktoday/empire-fulton-ferry. Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. “The Greenway.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.brooklyngreenway.org/. Brooklyn Heights Association. “History.” Accessed April 25, 2012. http://www.thebha.org/about-the-neighborhood/history/. Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “The History of BNY.” Last modified 2005. http://www.brooklynnavyyard.org/history.html. Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “News from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” Last modified August 2008. http://www.brooklynnavyyard. org/Newsletters/augustnewsletter.html. Brooklyn Navy Yard Industrial Park. “Home.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.brooklynnavyyard.org/. Building 92. “Building the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. Last modified February 2, 2012. http://vimeo. com/36106147. Building 92. “Reinventing the Yard.” Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. Last modified February 2, 2012. http://vimeo.com/36108332. 72


BIBLIOGRAPHY City of New York Parks and Recreation. “Parks.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.nycgovparks.org/. City Parks Foundation. Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/. Con Edison: A Brief History of Con Edison. www.coned.com/history/electricity.asp Dmuchowski, Frank J. “Greenpoint, Brooklyn.” New York Architecture Images. Last modified 1998. http://www.nyc-architecture.com/GPT/gpthistory.htm DUMBO Business Improvement District (BID). “Bid Services.” Accessed March 3, 2012. http://dumbo.is/about/bid-services. East River Crew. “About C.R.E.W.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.eastrivercrew.org/. French, J. B. The Development of Car Float Transfer Bridges in New York Harbor. Reprinted from proceedings of the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers, 1917. In TrainWeb.org. “Development of the Carfloat Transfer Bridge in New York Harbor.” Accessed February 18, 2012. http:// members.trainweb.com/bedt/indloco/developmenttransferbridge.html. French, J. B. Transfer or Float Bridge. Application Filed July 16, 1910. United States Patent Office, February 7, 1911. In TrainWeb.org. “Development of the Carfloat Transfer Bridge in New York Harbor.” Accessed February 18, 2012. http://members.trainweb.com/bedt/indloco/ developmenttransferbridge.html. Friends of Gantry Park. “Mission & Goals.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.queenswest.com/gantrypark/mission.html. Greenpoint Video Project. “About Us.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.gvproj.org/. Green Shores NYC. “Who We Are.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.greenshoresnyc.org/Site/Who_We_Are.html. Landmarks Preservation Commission. “New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/ html/home/home.shtml. LIC Boathouse. “About.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.licboathouse.org/index.php/about/. Long Island City Cultural Alliance (LICCA) Facebook Page. “About.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.facebook.com/licarts/info. Long Island City Partnership. “Home Page.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://licpartnership.org/. McKelvey, Capt. Bill. “Transportation Milestones Around the CRR of NJ Jersey City Terminal (now Liberty State Park) and the NJ/NY Port Area.” 73


Liberty Historic Railway, Liberty State Park. Accessed February 18, 2012. http://www.lhry.org/Pages/chronology.shtml. Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “Barge Park Pals/Newtown Creek Monitoring Project.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.waterfrontalliance. org/partners/barge-park-pals-newtown-creek-monitoring-project National Park Service. “What are national heritage areas?” Accessed March 25, 2012. http://www.nps.gov/history/heritageareas/FAQ/. Newtown Creek Alliance. “Brownfields.” Accessed April 17, 2012. http://www.newtowncreekalliance.org/brownfields/. Newtown Creek Brownfield Opportunity. “Newtown Creek History.” Accessed April 17, 2012. http://www.newtowncreekboa.org. New York City Department of City Planning. “Astoria Rezoning - Approved!” Last modified April 28. 2010, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/ astoria/astoria4.shtml New York City Department of City Planning. “Hunters Point Subdistrict Rezoning: Overview & Public Review.” Accessed April 22, 2012, http:// www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hunterspoint/hp1.shtml. New York City Department of City Planning. Zoning Maps. New York: Department of City Planning, 2012. New York City Government. “Find Your Community Board.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.nyc.gov/html/cau/html/cb/cb.shtml. New York City Parks. “Mill Rock Island.” Last modified June 6th, 2001. http://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/historical-signs/ listings?id=9756 New York Rowing School. “Mission.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://nyrowing.org/. New York City Soil and Water Conservation District. “Environmental Education.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.nycswcd.net/. New York Harbor Beaches. “About This Site.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://newyorkharborbeaches.org/main.htm. New York Harbor School. “Our Curriculum.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.newyorkharborschool.org/. New Yorkers for Parks. “New Yorkers for Parks.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://ny4p.org/. Red Hook Boaters. “Home Page.” accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.redhookboaters.org/index.html. Socrates Sculpture Park. “Mission and History.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.socratessculpturepark.org/. 74


BIBLIOGRAPHY The American Littoral Society, Northeast Chapter. “General Information.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.alsnyc.org/. The Urban Drivers Estuary Conservancy. “Home Page.” Accessed April 14, 2012. http://www.urbandivers.org/. TrainWeb.org. “Development of the Carfloat Transfer Bridge in New York Harbor.” Accessed February 18, 2012. http://members.trainweb.com/ bedt/indloco/developmenttransferbridge.html.

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APPENDIX

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APPENDIX 1: STAKEHOLDERS

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Organizations Friends of Gantry Park

Category: Physical fabric and signage The Friends of Gantry Park is a community-based organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of Long Island City by promoting awareness, concern and participation for the publicly accessible green and open spaces in the neighborhood and the waterfront. They assist park staff in the maintenance of natural and man-made features of the landscape and endeavor to preserve the area. Gantry Plaza, designed by Weintraub & Di Domenico with Thomas Balsey Associates & Sowinski Sullivan in 1998, is an area along the East River where viewers are able to physically interact with artifacts from the waterfront’s past. What used to be acres of freight track that extended east along 48th Avenue is now a combination of public plazas paved with granite. Piers that surround two sets of c.1925 float bridges now form the park’s centerpiece. At the southern float bridges, visitors can see salvaged rail tracks and railroad ties as landscape elements to simulate the lines that lead away from the gantries. While the placement of the tracks is not as accurate as those along DUMBO’s streets, it suggests vaguely that there was once a connection between the steel structures and the railroad. Viewers are allowed unprecedented access beneath the immense cables that once hoisted 100-ton cars 18 feet in the air from docking barges. Spectators can examine the structures on a wooden platform at grade with the plaza. The installation of lights enables visitors to enjoy the scene at night which lends a new identity to the industrial site as a node of public gathering. Signage posted around the park provides historic images and information about the area’s industrial past as well as its story, recounting when the area fell into disuse and when the park was built.

Gantry Plaza Float Bridges

Newtown Creek Alliance Category: Website, tour

The Newtown Creek Alliance is an organization focused on revitalizing Newtown Creek. They deal with all aspects of the creek from historical information to environmental information. A website provides information about the organization and upcoming events as well as a thorough history of Newtown Creek. They provide a detailed background from the time when Native Americans lived along the creek to the present day. An image gallery showcases many recent shots from boat tours as well as several historic images and maps. A tab is dedicated to information regarding the working waterfront of Newtown Creek. Again, history of industry along the creek is provided as well as information about what still exists today. Creek Speak is a sort of virtual tour hosted on the NCA website. It provides an interactive map with flagged areas that can be clicked on for more information. Clicking on a flag will open a new window with photos of the site, information, and in some cases even audio stories from locals who have something to say about the spot. The blue flags represent sites; some are historical but some are more recent or represent the site of an event such as the Exxon Mobil oil spill. Orange flags represent the stories of individuals living in the area.

Newtown Creek Alliance Website

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New York Rowing Association/New York Rowing School Category: Possible information

New York Rowing has been promoting the sport of rowing in the area since 1866. It introduces individuals to the sport through community and school based programs. Collegiate, youth, and adult rowing programs are available for people from novice to elite skill levels. While they do not currently employ any historic interpretation strategies, they are considered likely stakeholders as they utilize the East River and public access to the waterfront would dictate where they are able to begin or end their rowing routes. Since they are an educational group there is a possibility they could relay historic information to individuals. Head of the Fish Regatta 2011

New York Soil and Water Conservation District Category: Possible information

Environmental Education

The New York City Soil and Water Conservation District is a group that primarily focuses on the environmental aspects of New York rivers, specifically how to conserve them, improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, preserve natural resources surrounding the river, protect public lands, promote health and welfare of citizens. This group does not currently employ historic interpretation for the East River; however, they provide educational programs including one called ‘Wonderful Watersheds.’ In this class they teach students about the Hudson River Watershed, aiming to get them out and exploring the area. Perhaps resources from the studio could be compiled into some sort of curriculum to teach students about the East River as well.

Socrates Sculpture Park Category: Possible signage

Socrates Sculpture Park

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The park is dedicated to providing artists with space to create and exhibit large-scale installations in an outdoor environment. It is located on what was originally an abandoned riverside landfill and dump site at the corner of Broadway and Vernon Boulevard in Queens. It was transformed into studio and exhibition space for artists in 1986 by a group of artists and community members and today is an internationally renowned outdoor museum offering a variety of free public programs. Although the park does not currently have any historic interpretation strategies, they could be considered stakeholders as they utilize the East River as a backdrop to their outdoor gallery and believe in the importance of the urban fabric. The park also has direct access to the riverfront which could be a good area for some kind of interpretation such as signage.


New Yorkers for Parks Category: Possible information

New Yorkers for Parks is an organization promoting parks and open spaces for all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods. Information as to what programs they have already created was not available, however, they could be considered a stakeholder since parks such as Gantry Plaza and Brooklyn Bridge Park are part of our studio area and provide current historic interpretations through many different interpretation tools.

New York Harbor Beaches Category: Possible information, website

New York Harbor Beaches is an organization dedicated to the preservation of beaches and public access to the water. Although they don’t currently employ historic interpretation tools, they could be considered a stakeholder because of their connection to the East River and the possibility of adding historical information to their site. Their website provides an interactive map with flags marking all of the beaches that are open to the public, including six sites in the study area. When a flag is clicked, it provides information about the beach and several images. Historic images and information could easily be added here. A blog is also hosted on the site which could link to the studio’s Google Site, Tiki Toki, or Tumblr page.

New York Harbor Beaches Website

New York Harbor School Category: Information

The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, started in 2002, provides high school courses built around New York’s maritime experience. It teaches students about the environmental stewardship of the water as well as water job skills. Founding partners included Waterkeeper Alliance and South Street Seaport Museum, indicating the significance of maritime history to the overall school curriculum. The ‘Introduction to New York Harbor’ is a course required for all students which covers the history of the water bodies that make up the New York Harbor. It is unknown exactly what is taught within their ‘Introduction to New York Harbor’ course. Although this is only offered to accepted students, it could be an outlet where various studio materials are put to use.

Student Working as a Crew Member, Exploring NY Harbor

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City of New York Parks and Recreation Category: Fabric, website, signage

Parks & Recreation is the steward of approximately 29,000 acres of land, some of which falls within or nearby our studio area.

Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Pier Pilings and the Salt Marsh

McCarren Park, North 12th Street and Lorimer Street, Brooklyn Near Greenpoint and Williamsburg Bushwick Inlet Park, Kent Avenue and North 9th Street, Brooklyn Near Greenpoint Grand Ferry Park, Grand Street and River Street, Brooklyn Near Williamsburg Oxport Playground, Flushing Avenue between North Portland Avenue and North Oxford Street Near the Brooklyn Navy Yard Brooklyn Bridge Park, Plymouth Street and New Dock Street, Brooklyn Near Columbia Street Waterfront, Fulton Ferry, and DUMBO Commodore Barry Park, Nassau Street and Park Avenue, Brooklyn Near the Brooklyn Navy Yard Newtown Barge Playground, Commercial Street and Dupont Street, Brooklyn Near Newtown Creek Queensbridge Park, Vernon Boulevard and 41st Avenue, Queens Near Ravenswood Spirit Playground, 36th Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets, Queens Near Ravenswood Socrates Sculpture Park, Vernon Boulevard between Broadway and 30th Drive, Queens Near Ravenswood and Astoria Whitey Ford Field, 26th Avenue and 2nd Street, Queens Near Astoria The method of interpretation varies by park; a more in-depth investigation would be required to identify all current interpretations. For example, McCarren Park has a section on the Parks website about the history of the park. Many parks also participate in the agency’s Historical Signs Program, in which 24”x36” wooden signs are installed within the park or playground explaining the history of the site and its name. The parks department has created over 500 of these signs with assistance from local college students, suggesting they may be open to collaboration.

Pier 2 and the Spiral Pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Brooklyn Bridge Park, still under construction, utilizes fabric, signage, and a website. It is a five-acre recreational space that incorporates some of the former pier shed within its design. Fabric is utilized for interpretation purposes; some shed remnants along Pier 2 will be used in structures, others simply provide visual interest. Part of the frame of Pier 6 is used to frame the volleyball courts. Entire buildings within the park have been adaptively reused as well; at the former Tobacco Warehouse, the historic shell


of the building remains, and its interior is used for events such as weddings, corporate functions, and other parties. However, other areas within the same park, such as portions of Pier 1, have eradicated all traces of its waterfront history, with new pedestrian-friendly paths and bucolic landscaping where pier structures used to be. The greenery of Pier 1 is primarily used as a community park space with activities and events. Additionally, pedestrians can now closely examine maritime elements such as surviving pier pilings at the southern edge of Pier 1 that would not have been accessible prior to the park’s construction. The pilings are located near a salt marsh that acts as nurturing grounds for native plant life. The spiral pool near Pier 2 allows viewers direct access to the water. Along with the salt marsh, this tidal pool showcases the flora and fauna of the East River’s ecosystem. With the Granite Prospect, the physical fabric from one part of the East River waterfront has been incorporated into another. Large granite stones salvaged from the Roosevelt Island Bridge reconstruction were assembled into an imposing set of steps from which to view the Manhattan skyline.

1639 Fulton Ferry Plaque

Signage used at the north entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park can be seen at the Fulton Ferry Landing. A series of metal plaques are located next to where passengers disembark from the East River Ferry. On one corner there is a series of five roundels with maps of the Fulton Ferry area from different eras of the city’s history. Viewers can orient themselves according to the maps and understand the transportation and construction patterns that emerged and changed over the centuries. Nearby square plaques illustrate historic scenes of the area to help place the viewer within the landing’s larger historical context. The website provides historic information: “In 1866 ice floes severely clogged the East River for weeks on end, preventing ferry use and travel, and fueled public demand for a bridge…leading to the start of construction in 1869 of the Brooklyn Bridge.”

Barge Park Pals

Category: Website, signage The Barge Park Pals is a group dedicated to maintaining and improving the Newtown Barge Playground and the surrounding Newtown Creek waterfront community. The playground itself is part of the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, so that is the agency which provides a historic interpretation. They have a website detailing the entire history of the park, including how it got its name; “Newtown Barge Terminal Playground was named for the barge canal terminal that once occupied the site.” It also discusses the surrounding industry, painting a picture of what was lost. All of the information presented on the website is also posted on signage in the park. Since the Barge Park Pals group is dedicated to this specific park as well as the Newtown Creek waterfront community, they may be interested in implementing more signage or some other kind of interpretation based on studio findings, and therefore could be considered a stakeholder.

New York City Parks and Recreation Website

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East River Crew Category: Information

East River CREW Rowing in 2006

The East River Community Recreation and Education on the Water (CREW), is an organization promoting the stewardship of the East River through educational and recreational activities. They want locals to better understand the waterway and help preserve it for future generations. A learning center is run by the group to teach community members about traditional boat construction such as repair, the river’s ecology, and the history of the harbor. There are no details about what sort of historical information is being taught to the community, but this group could be considered a stakeholder as they could utilize studio research within these classes. Since they also focus on actually getting on and navigating the river, perhaps the information could turn into some sort of interactive learning tour.

Greenpoint Video Project Category: Tour, information

The Greenpoint Video Project group produces videos based on local subjects dealing with waterfront use. They are interested in the restoration and revitalization of the waterfront while getting to know the relevant players. They focus on people and projects that improve the environmental and ecological state of the Hudson River as well as public access in the New York and New Jersey Harbor region. The finished interpretation is video providing information about the history of an area as well as visuals of specific sites, which may constitute a tour. In a Hudson River tour they specifically address old industries that used to be located in the vicinity. Although their mission states that they are focused on the Hudson River, they have produced several videos that directly correspond to our study area. For example, one focuses on the access to Greenpoint’s waterfront and another on the restoration of Newtown Creek. Although they do not currently have a video encompassing the whole area, they could be considered a stakeholder as they could utilize studio research and information in a future production.

Community Boards

Category: Possible information

New York City Community Board Hearing

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Community boards, generally run and represented by volunteers, are a group of individuals who attempt to address community affairs. There are several boards within our studio area: Brooklyn Community Board 1 – serving the neighborhoods of Flushing Avenue, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Northside, and Southside Brooklyn Community Board 2 – serving the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Fulton Mall, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Fulton Ferry, and Clinton Hill Queens Community Board 1 – serving the neighborhoods of Astoria, Old Astoria, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ditmars, Ravenswood, Steinway, Garden Bay, and Woodside Queens Community Board 2 – serving the neighborhoods of Long Island City, Woodside, and Sunnyside Although there are no current historic interpretations listed on the associated websites, community boards deal with a wide variety of issues about everyday life. They would likely be local to the community they


are assisting and could be a voice to get information out there through, for example, signage. Community boards also have Landmarks Committees which can make decisions about historic buildings and work closely with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee. Community boards would be more familiar than the average individual with the channels to go through in order to implement signage or other methods of interpretation, so they may be considered a stakeholder.

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative Category: Possible signage, fabric

The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is an organization responsible for the conception, planning, and development of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, a 14-mile landscaped off-street pedestrian and bike path along the East River. The greenway does not currently emphasize the heritage of the areas it passes through. However, parts of the routes interact with surrounding historical fabric. For example, two routes go through the DUMBO Historic District on Plymouth and Water Streets. On cobbled streets, smoother paths are created to make the ride easier for cyclists. These new lanes acknowledge the historic fabric while paying attention to the needs of current waterfront residents. Fabric in the form of typical Belgian blocks is also included in this area; from 2009 to the present, the DUMBO Business Improvement District has managed to finance street restoration in the DUMBO Historic District through placing new Belgian block pavers along Water and Washington Streets, with more restoration planned in the future. The Belgian block streets with old freight-car tracks embedded in them convey the area’s historic character by their mere presence. However, the addition of signage would strengthen this historic interpretation. The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative has already expressed interest in signage that would reference the history of various areas falling within our studio area, so they would definitely be considered a stakeholder.

Belgian Block in DUMBO

Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Map

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Green Shores NYC Category: Tour, signage

A consortium of community groups, local businesses, and individuals with a vested interest in creating more waterfront parks, street trees, waterways, and a greenway along the Queens East River shoreline. Green Shores promotes the maintenance and beautification of existing parks and organizes educational and recreational events for the Western Queens community. The centerpiece of the Green Shores initiative is the Waterfront Vision Plan, a continuous, landscaped and accessible greenway from Newtown Creek to the south to Bowery Bay in the north. The plan calls for improvement of bus routes to provide more waterfront access; bike-share programs to encourage use of the greenway; increased ferry service near Hunters Point, Anable Basin, Socrates Sculpture Park and Upper Ditmars; safe water access for boating and fishing; and unifying maps and signage along the greenway. The Waterfront Vision, when completed, will allow pedestrians and cyclists to have a more active relationship with the Queens shoreline, which is still poorly accessible in heavily industrialized areas. Green Shores NYC Member Organizations:

ARROW (Astoria Resident Reclaiming Our World) Category: Possible information, signage A neighborhood organization that works to solve local environmental problems through short and long-term hands-on projects, such as curbside recycling pickups and establishing a community garden, that can have a lasting positive impact on Western Queens. Astoria Park Alliance (APA) Category: Possible information, signage A community group whose goal is to maintain and beautify Astoria Park, located between the Triboro and Hell Gate Bridges.

LIC Community Boathouse Category: Tour An all-volunteer organization to provide Western Queens residents with recreational and educational kayak tours along the East River. Boat routes launch from Hallets Cove and can go as far south as Brooklyn Bridge Park. The experience allows participants to experience the waterfront from the point of view of the barges and carfloats that once dotted the East River. The group’s mission is to raise awareness about estuary ecology in the effort to restore the natural fabric of New York Harbor’s shoreline. The Rainey Park Group Category: Possible information, signage A community group that works to raise awareness of Rainey Park, located just south of Socrates Sculpture Park, through recreational and educational programs. LIC Community Boathouse

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Friends of Queensbridge Park Committee Category: Community A group that works to make Queensbridge Park a safe space with public programs.


Greater Astoria Historical Society Category: Information A non-profit organization dedicated to researching and cataloguing the history of Astoria and Long Island City.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Category: Fabric, signage

The Brooklyn Park Conservancy works to fund and maintain the newly-created Brooklyn Bridge Park.

City Parks Foundation (CPF) Category: Possible information, signage

The only independent, non-profit organization that offers park programs in all five boroughs of New York City, with the goal of engaging the public and revitalizing neighborhoods.

The American Littoral Society Category: Possible information

The American Littoral Society seeks to promote greater scientific and public understanding of America’s littoral zones -- the areas on beaches between low and high tide.

Red Hook Boaters

Category: Possible information, signage

An all-volunteer organization that provides safe public access to the East River for kayaking, promotes education about the estuary’s ecosystem, and encourages the cleaning and conservation of Red Hook’s shoreline.

The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy Category: Possible information

A non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and revitalization of and education about the coastal resources of New York Harbor.

Long Island City Partnership Category: Possible information

A group that advocates for economic development that will bring benefits to Long Island City’s commercial, industrial, residential and cultural sectors, and promotes an active mixed-use community.

Map of Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Long Island City Cultural Alliance (LICCA) Category: Information

The American Littoral Society

LICCA is dedicated to promoting Long Island City’s visibility and accessibility by highlighting the area’s diverse array of visual and performing arts organizations, cultural institutions and activities. Every summer, LICCA hosts their main event, “Summer in LongIsCity.” Additionally, the group publishes a quarterly guide to culture and arts in Long Island City that is circulated citywide. LICCA is composed of six member organizations, which are the Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, Fisher Landau Center for Art, Noguchi Museum, the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, SculptureCenter, and Socrates Sculpture Park. LICCA’s associates include the Chocolate Factory, Flux Factory, Museum of the Moving Image, and the Thalia Spanish Theatre.

New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation Category: Signage

The New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation is an organization affiliated with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. They deal with historic markers and signage, including some signage located within our studio area. For example, signage provided by this group can be seen in the Cobble Hill and Vinegar Hill Historic Districts. These signs convey each neighborhood’s general history to the public including the work of noted architects, architectural styles, and early low-income housing. Some signage lacked information that directly related the area to the nearby waterfront but as a stakeholder there is a possibility the group could add more signage including this information in the future. The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy

The City of New York

Category: Tour, scavenger hunt, signage

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New York City’s government spans numerous agencies that interact with different aspects of daily life. Some of these do include providing historic and environmental information about our studio area to the public. The primary example of this is the Newtown Creek Nature Walk. The path, located by the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, allows visitors to circulate through and study the area with direct access and views to the Newtown Creek waterfront. Signage is provided throughout the space exploring a wide breadth of heritage from the earliest glacial formations to the Native American tribes to the first industrial uses. Certain notable stops along the walk include the two boulders at the entrance which date to the last Ice Age; the “Seven Stone Circles” that feature the native place names of Newtown Creek’s vicinity; the “Watershed Bollard”, a stone etching that illustrates the extent of the creek’s original watershed; and the “Vessel”, bowed walls that mimic the way 19th-century ships were built in Greenpoint. Viewers are also able to view the current Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, and study the various indigenous plant species indicated by free-standing plaques. A scavenger hunt is also provided to interact with the signage and fabric of the nature walk, aimed at young children.


Museums Building 92, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Category: Physical fabric, scavenger hunt, signage, exhibition space Building 92 is an adaptive reuse of a 19th-century Brooklyn Navy Yard building (Thomas Ustick Walter, architect, 1858) combined with a contemporary structure that is used as a museum of the yard’s history. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Center uses a multi-pronged approach to interpreting the area’s history and infrastructure. The museum and grounds’ interpretation methods include the following:

Digital Interactive Map: In the timeline exhibition room there is an interactive touchscreen map in the shape of a circular timeline. A camera suspended from the ceiling projects digital images of the Navy Yard’s topography and built environment at various points in time, reaching back to just before Dutch colonization. Visitors can simply wave their hand over the circular timeline’s “needle” and the landscape changes and new buildings appear. Guests can also touch particular buildings and features and historic images or an historic map with a short description will appear. Sustainability Scavenger Hunt: Visitors can use maps of Building 92 provided at the front desk to scan a bar code at different kiosks located outside and inside the museum. Each kiosk displays information about the building site’s infrastructure and energy use. A visitor who scans their bar code at all the stations can win a prize. Facade: The new building features a historic image of a ship being constructed superimposed onto the front metallic facade. Anchor of the USS Austin: A piece of the Navy Yard’s military/industrial fabric is prominently displayed in the lobby, with accompanying signage that elaborates on the anchor’s history. Wall Timeline: A heavily detailed timeline with photographs and captions, small artifacts, a mural depicting the evolution of American naval vessels, and schematics of buildings and ships superimposed on the wall. An old cannon is placed in the center of the room. Dry Dock Film Reels: Visitors can look into a small film nickelodeon and view a time lapse of the dry dock being used. Building Signage: On the side of each building within the Navy Yard is a large number sign, so visitors can look on their maps and match the building number to its corresponding description. Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery Signage: A simple, prominent sign marks the remaining area of the Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery, in use from 1831 to 1910. Products of Today’s Yard: Visitors walk through a hallway where products being manufactured in the yard today are displayed behind glass on one side, and a wall of photographs of those currently working in the yard on the other. Guests can use smart phones to scan quick response (QR) codes that will lead to more information on each displayed item. Dry Dock Viewing Platform: Visitors can climb a set of steps to a platform from which they can survey one of the three fully functioning dry docks, where ships can be constructed and/or repaired in a trench that can be drained and refilled with water. Van and Bike Tours: Visitors have the opportunity to be driven through the yard’s grounds, or join a bicycle tour, and observe the area’s numerous layers of history and building construction.

Interactive Timeline

Wall Timeline

Products of Today’s Yard

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Exhibit at the Noguchi Museum

Category: Industrial and historical fabric, signage, information

Civic Action: A Foreseeable Future for Twenty-First Century Long Island City. (2011-2012) Jenny Dixon, Director, The Noguchi Museum Amy Smith-Stewart, Guest Curator, The Noguchi Museum

Telephone Poles by Mary Miss

In 1960, Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) moved to Ravenswood, Long Island City and partnered with fellow artist Mark di Suvero (b.1933) ten years later. After collaborating with numerous architects and city planners on multiple public projects, Noguchi established a museum to showcase his artwork in 1985. Di Suvero founded Socrates Sculpture Park as a continuing outdoor exhibition space across Vernon Boulevard one year later. In 2011-12, the Noguchi Museum organized an art and planning-based exhibit dedicated to the potential future of Ravenswood and the West Queens waterfront community. The effort was largely a response to the area’s rapidly changing physical and economic characteristics, such as the completion of big box stores and high-rise luxury condos. Four teams composed of artists, designers, urban planners and researchers surveyed the neighborhood and devised proposals for a more efficient, sustainable, biodiverse and innovative community where commerce, industry, art and public space co-exist.

Proposed Pathway by George Trakas

Artist George Trakas devised a proposal for a pedestrian-and bike-accessible trail and boardwalk to extend along the East River shoreline from the Queensboro Bridge to Goodwill Park along Halletts Cove. The pathway seeks to unite waterfront-accessible city parks that are separated by the TransCanada and ConEd facilities, to protect the local fish and wildlife and to allow for the use of cultural resources for recreation. The plan also hopes to create a Ravenswood riverfront promenade that was once planned to connect the numerous coastal mansions that dotted the river. To attract potential buyers in 1836, the brothers Charles and Peter Roach and Samuel Throekmorton devised a development plan using architectural watercolors by renowned American architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and mandated the establishment of a promenade that would allow Ravenswood’s residents waterfront access. Trakas’ concept would effectively create this walkway based on the proposed promenade. Mary Miss proposed utilizing Ravenswood’s industrial landmarks as part of a broad, arts-initiated ‘research district.’ In her proposal, the four red and white striped stacks of the Big Allis electric plant would be utilized as barometers to gauge the neighborhood’s energy consumption. At night, a set of verticallyarranged lights on each stack would light up to measure the area’s consumption of water and energy and production of waste using the following variables: air, power, waste and water. The landmark industrial structure serves as a prominent indicator of an energy study district in Ravenswood. Using the Big Allis stacks to highlight the neighborhood’s energy output would be an effective way to focus the public’s attention on the East River’s industrial fabric.

Big Allis Barometers by Mary Miss

92

In Mary Miss’ exhibit, the presence of a “Research Zone” would also be made visible by painting the city’s “vertical elements” such as telephone poles the same red and white striped pattern. Attached to the poles


would be signage in the form of “speech bubbles” that would display information about the neighborhood’s history, ecology and infrastructure. These “bubbles” on telephone poles could be utilized more widely throughout the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront study area as a means of indicating to visitors that they have arrived in a historic corridor. Information on each neighborhood’s history and character (even events that pertain to a specific street corner) could be displayed in this fashion. One additional device for interpreting the area surrounding the Noguchi Museum was the installation of a swivel camera that could be manually operated by visitors. The viewer stands in front of a flat-screen television that depicts what a camera on the roof is recording at that moment. He or she can then move a control device to pan and tilt the camera angle to aerially survey Ravenswood and nearby Astoria. The device allows community members to visually interact with their neighborhood resources (including the waterfront) from a new perspective, and see themselves in relation to their surroundings. Similar swivel cameras could be installed at public institutions close to the shoreline, and could be coupled with printed historic photographs next to the screen so viewers can compare and contrast the East River’s past and present conditions.

Aerial Camera

93


94


APPENDIX 2: BROCHURES

95


BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, COBBLE HILL, and COLUMBIA STREET WATERFRONT

ferry stop: atlantic ave/brooklyn bridge park The Columbia Waterfront District lies between Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue and Red Hook to the south. In the 17th century, when Dutch settlers began farming in Brooklyn, this area was comprised of wetlands and creeks. These were eventually drained to create more farmland before urban development got under way in the 19th century.

DO YOU WANT MORE? If you have additional time, check out these nearby sites: (Old Dock St. and Water St. --> Main St. and Water St.) The Tobacco Warehouse was constructed in the 1870’s by the Lorillard family to serve as a tobacco inspection center. It was saved from demolition in 1998 and stabilized in 2002. It is now operated by NYC Parks and Recreation as a venue for public and private events. The Empire Stores are seven contiguous brick warehouses originally used to store coffee beans. They are slated to be restored and adapted for new uses in the near future. Together, these landmark 19th-century warehouses are reminders of the shipping activity that defined the Brooklyn waterfront.

b Brooklyn City Railroad Building (Old Fulton St. and Furman St.) This five-story brick and granite building was constructed in 1861. It originally served as offices for the Brooklyn City Railroad Company, one of New York City’s first large-scale transit operators. By 1867, the company served 22 million passengers annually, operating twelve lines radiating from the Fulton Ferry Terminal. After it ceased to be used by the Railroad Company, the building served as a factory until its conversion to residential use in 1975.

EAST c The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company

In the mid-19th century, the waterfront of South Brooklyn, located immediately to the south of the historic village of Brooklyn, became the site of major docks for receiving bulk cargo. It was the preferred site for storage because of space restrictions at the wharves of lower Manhattan. By the 1870s, warehouses here were storing up to $60 million annually in the form of various goods. As the area began to grow, successive waves of immigrants who worked on the docks and in related shipping industries settled here including Irish, Germans, Norwegians, and southern Italians.

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ferry stop: atlantic ave/brooklyn bridge park

NORTH a Tobacco warehouse and the Empire Stores

As the village of Brooklyn expanded, a ferry from Manhattan to Brooklyn, south of Fulton Ferry, was opened in 1836. It ran between lower Manhattan and the foot of Atlantic Avenue, then called Atlantic Street, promoting the development of Cobble Hill as a residential suburb of New York. In 1936, Brooklyn’s South Ferry became the terminal for the Long Island Rail Road, whose main original purpose was to link New York Harbor and Boston before an all-land rail route was achieved.

(28 Old Fulton St.) The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company was designed by Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman and completed in 1894. Constructed on the site of the original Brooklyn Eagle newspaper headquarters, it had a number of uses before being converted into apartments in 1980.

d South Brooklyn Savings Bank

(191 Clinton St.) This Neo-Grec building, clad in Tuckahoe marble, was constructed for the South Brooklyn Savings Bank in 1871, becoming a landmark of Brooklyn’s main strip. In 1922, the bank moved to a new building one block east which is now a Trader Joe’s. Today, 191 Clinton contains apartments.

e Brooklyn Heights Promenade

The promenade was built out of public outcry to Robert Moses’s proposal to construct a new expressway through the heart of Brooklyn Heights in the mid-1940s. The solution was to build a two-tiered highway above the waterfront with a cantilevered promenade to insulate the neighborhood from the noise.

CREDITS

The Columbia Waterfront District is the only part of the East River Waterfront corridor that remains a functioning port; it was redeveloped to handle container cargo in 1980. Much of the historic waterfront fabric was removed in the conversion to a container port and the construction of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. However, whether the container terminal will continue to operate for long is currently uncertain.

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, COBBLE HILL, and COLUMBIA STREET WATERFRONT

TEXT: Nicole Ambrose, Jonathan Taylor, and Angela Serratore IMAGES: (1) New York Dock Company Annual Report, 1928 (2) Jonathan Taylor (3) Official LIRR Illustration of the entrance to the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, 1845 (4) Jonathan Taylor (5) NYPL, c. early 1900s (6) Jonathan Taylor (7) Jonathan Taylor (8) Jonathan Taylor (9) Jonathan Taylor (10) Kate Gilmore (Panorama) Kate Gilmore GRAPHICS: Julia Lewis Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Professor Ward Dennis: 2012 Historic Preservation Spring Studio Project

interpreting the heritage of the brooklyn & queens east river waterfront


a Trade Facilities Building

1

Furman St. & Joralemon St.

b c

The Trade Facilities Building, designed by Russell G. Cory, was constructed in 1929 by the New York Dock Company, which controlled the waterfront from DUMBO to Red Hook. It is 10 stories of reinforced concrete with almost a million square feet of space. Originally a warehouse, it has been transformed into apartments.

New York Dock Co. Office Building

2

151 Union St.

8

. amity st brooklyn

st.

congress

/queens

9

5

st.

5 st. warren 6ltic st.

9

ba

. hicks st ay and expressw pl. tiffany

8

t st. van brun

St. Peter's Catholic Church

4

st.

columbia

4

164-168 Atlantic Ave.

d

clinton

10

ave. . henry st

atlantic

The Red Hook Container Terminal is the only container cargo terminal remaining on the east side of New York Harbor. Here, the historic shipping function of the Brooklyn waterfront continues. In the modern port there is no trace of the low-slung brick warehouses that earned Brooklyn the nickname “the Walled City” in the 19th century.

st.

st. sackett . union st

7

president

10

st.

KEY

Hicks St. & Warren St.

Designed by Patrick C. Keely in 1860, this Romanesque Revival church, now adapted into apartments, was the home of Brooklyn’s first Catholic parish specifically for Italians, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. As that congregation grew with the area’s increasing Italian immigrant population in the late 19th century, it moved to a succession of new churches.

TRANSPORTATION LINK INDUSTRY SOCIAL CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT

N

1 a

WALKING TOUR SITES ADDITIONAL NEARBY SITES FERRY SERVICE

Red Hook Container Terminal Columbia St.

. kane st

degraw

Tiffany Place This one-block street, still paved in Belgian block, is an unusual concentration of remaining factory and warehouse buildings. Originally, this neighborhood had dozens of industrial establishments interspersed within its rowhouses. The 19th-century brick and 20th-century concrete construction once housed sandpaper, metal spring and tobacco manufacturers.

3

1

These two buildings, built between 1856-60 were once home to canvas production for the many merchant vessels along the East River. Now converted to clothing stores and residential apartments, hand painted signage has been restored to indicate its former connection to the Brooklyn waterfront.

Ferdinando's Focacceria Ferdinando’s is a Sicilian restaurant dating from 1904. A fading handpainted sign on the window hints at the age of the establishment. When Ferdinando’s originally opened, it only had three items on the menu and served as a luncheonette for longshoremen. It represents the onetime significant Italian dockworker population and is still a Brooklyn favorite.

2

The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, built in 1844, is the world’s oldest underground subway tunnel. At a half-mile long, the tunnel was built in just 7 months to service Long Island Rail Road trains running down to the ferry dock. The long-forgotten tunnel was rediscovered in 1980.

John Curtin Sail Makers

417-435 & 439-445 Hicks St.

e

3

Tower Buildings & Home Buildings The two six-story apartment complexes on Hicks Street were built by philanthropist and housing reformer Alfred T. White as model tenements for working-class residents between 1876 and 1879. The Home and Tower buildings were built to only a portion of the lots’ depth, allowing for an open courtyard with light and air reaching the apartments.

7

The three-story concrete frame structure across from the Trade Facilities Building originally housed the offices of the New York Dock Company. The 1917 building features walls of bricks salvaged from grain elevators. It is now home to the offices of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Atlantic Ave, between Court St. & Clinton St.

6

ferry stop: atlantic ave./ brooklyn bridge park

Joralemon St. & Furman St.

Atlantic Ave.Tunnel

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, COBBLE HILL, and COLUMBIA STREET WATERFRONT

Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park, still under construction, is a five-acre recreational space that incorporates some of the former pier sheds within its design. Some shed remnants will be used to enclose facilities while others simply provide visual interest. These remnants represent the industrial heritage of the once thriving industrial Brooklyn waterfront.

97


FULTON FERRY, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, DUMBO and VINEGAR HILL ferry

stop:

brooklyn

bridge

park

/

dumbo

The Fulton Ferry historic district, located next to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, is a site of exceptional interest. The first ferry service between Manhattan and Long Island began here in 1642; and from here George Washington led his army to New York on the night of August 27, 1776 after the Battle of Long Island, also known as the Battle of Brooklyn. As a result of the ferry service, the village became the city of Brooklyn in 1834, with a thriving commercial and industrial center. Ferries were the only mode of transportation between Manhattan and Brooklyn until the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. Today the railing of the landing on the Brooklyn Bridge Park is inscribed with the poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” by Walt Whitman. Several markers on the ground reveal the past of this historic site. To the north of the Brooklyn Bridge are the neighborhoods of DUMBO and Vinegar Hill.

DO YOU WANT MORE? If you have additional time, check out these nearby sites:

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ferry

stop:

brooklyn

bridge

park

/

dumbo

EAST

a Building 92

(63 Flushing Ave) This was the former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant’s Residence in the Navy Yard. Designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter in 1857, known for his design for the cast-iron dome of the U.S. Capitol, Building 92 now houses exhibits on the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s two centuries of military and industrial history.

b Admiral's Row

(Flushing Ave.) Admiral’s Row at the Brooklyn Navy Yard includes Second Empire style homes built for naval officers and a timber shed that suffered years of neglect and deterioration. Some of them are in the process of being demolished to open a large grocery store.

c The Battle of Brooklyn Marker

DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Historically, it was home to some of the largest dry goods businesses such as Robert Gair, manufacturer of paper boxes; Arbuckle Brothers, refiner and packager of sugar and coffee; the Kirkman & Son soap company; the Hanan & Son shoe company; and the Brillo steel wool firm. The neighborhood took on a predominately residential character when artists moved in, lured by low rents, big lofts, and great views of Manhattan beginning in the 1970’s. It was then that the area was named with its current acronym, a nod towards recently coined neighborhoods SoHo and TriBeCa. Today, the area is host to expensive condos, boutique stores, and art galleries. It was designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission as a historic district in 2007.

NORTH

(Corner of Main St. and Plymouth St.) During the largest battle of the American Revolutionary war, the ferry area played a crucial role in the evacuation of George Washington’s army to New York on the night of August 27, 1776 after the British army attacked.

d Tobacco Warehouse

WEST

(Corner of New Dock St. and Water St.) The warehouse was constructed in the 1870s by the Lorillard family to serve as a tobacco customs inspection center. It is now operated by NYC Parks and Recreation as a venue for public and private events.

e Brooklyn City Railroad Building

(Old Fulton & Furman St.) This five-story brick and granite Italianate building was constructed in 1861 on the site of William Furman’s home, one of Brooklyn’s leading citizens and a county judge. The building originally served as offices for the Brooklyn City Railroad Company, one of New York City’s first large-scale transit operators.

f The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company

(28 Old Fulton St.) The Eagle Warehouse & Storage Company was designed by Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman and completed in 1894. Constructed on the site of the original Brooklyn Eagle newspaper headquarters, it had a number of uses before being converted into apartments in 1980.

CREDITS

Vinegar Hill, settled by Irish immigrants, was named after the 1798 rebellion of Vinegar Hill near Enniscorthy, Ireland. Industry and residential life had a symbiotic relationship until the 1920’s when industrial expansion forced most of the inhabitants to move elsewhere. Many of the Greek revival houses fell victim to decay, and large parts of the neighborhood were torn down for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Farragut housing projects. Most of what remains today consists of early 19th-century Federal and Greek Revival style homes mixed with industrial structures such as the Con Edison Hudson Avenue Substation. Patches of Belgian block on Hudson Avenue, Plymouth, Water and Front Street are a good place to experience the area’s historic infrastructure. A revitalized Vinegar Hill neighborhood today includes restaurants, small industries and residences. It was designated as a historic district in 1997 by the Landmarks Preservation Commision.

FULTON FERRY, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, DUMBO and VINEGAR HILL

TEXT: Mayank Patel, Angela Serratore, Jonathan Taylor, and Brooke Young IMAGES: (1) Mayank Patel (2) Julia Lewis (3) Mayank Patel (4) Mayank Patel (5) Mayank Patel (6) Brooke Young (7) Andrew Dolkart (8) Whitmans-brooklyn.org (9) Brooke Young (10) Brooke Young (Waterfront Panoramic) Kate Gilmore GRAPHICS: Julia Lewis Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Professor Ward Dennis: 2012 Historic Preservation Spring Studio Project

interpreting the heritage of the brooklyn & queens east river waterfront


Brooklyn Bridge

1

The iconic bridge of New York City was the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the U.S. and the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1903. John Roebling, a German immigrant, was the driving force behind the construction of the bridge in 1883.

The Clocktower Building

6

FULTON FERRY, BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, DUMBO and VINEGAR HILL

This freestanding, three-story brick house was built by John Jackson or one of his heirs. Jackson developed a parcel of Vinegar Hill to entice skilled Irishman to work at his shipyard. He owned adjacent land that was later sold to the government to build the Navy Yard in 1801.

ferry stop: brooklyn bridge park/ dumbo

2

7

n

st.

t. ks

yor

t. ds

gol

fr

7 8

8

ge st.

rl

st.

st.

st.

jay

old fu lton

9

st.

st. ont

a b

t. ns

gto shin

e f

wa

d

st. ms

1

ada

It was the first bridge to use Warren Stiffening trusses and chains of nickel-steel instead of woven steel cables. It is the only bridge in New York City to have been designed by both Leon Moisseiff and to have elegant entrances on either side designed by Carrere & Hastings. It opened in 1909.

pea

c 2

3

10

ter

wa

brid

3

th

mou

ply

.

4

6 st.

ave

joh

5

Located in Vinegar Hill, Quarters A is the oldest surviving structure at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It was built in 1807. Charles Bulfinch is reputedly the architect of this historic structure. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974 and has been privately owned since 1971.

son hud

Located north of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Clocktower Building is one of the magnificent buildings in DUMBO built for industrialist Robert Gair in 1914. During its time of construction, it was thought to be the tallest building made of reinforced concrete in the world.

MOVED 10 Jay Street

4

9

During the the British occupation of Wallabout Bay 1776-1783, some 11,500 U.S. soldiers died aboard prison ships there. Their remains were collected and interred on Hudson Avenue by the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1808. In 1873, the tomb was relocated to Washington Park, now Fort Greene Park, beneath a memorial designed by Stanford White.

Benjamin Moore & Company Benjamin Moore & Company was one of the first industrial buildings to encroach on the residential fabric of Vinegar Hill, replacing two 19th-century Greek Revival row houses. The factory was designed by architect William B. Tubby in 1908.

5

10

KEY

This building was erected by Kirkman & Son as a glycerine storage facility in 1911. The company was sold to Colgate-Palmolive in 1930. Today this building has been converted into condominiums, using an innovative design that incorporates the glycerine vats into the apartment layouts.

Tomb of the Martyrs

231-233 Front St.

Arbuckle Brothers was a major marketer of coffee in New York from 1871. In 1887, they opened a sugar refinery at 10 Jay St. when Havemeyer Sugar increased prices for Arbuckle. In response, Havemeyer Sugar entered the coffee business resulting in depressed coffee and sugar prices for years.

37-43 Bridge Street

Quarters A, former Commandants House Corner of Evans and Little

1 Main Street

Manhattan Bridge

49 Hudson Avenue

TRANSPORTATION LINK INDUSTRY SOCIAL CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT

N

1 a

WALKING TOUR SITES ADDITIONAL NEARBY SITES

54 Bridge Street Corner of Front and Bridge St.

In 1893 the property of the National Lead Co. was sold to James and John H. Hanan. They demolished the buildings to open a shoe factory. They were one of the first shoe manufacturers to stamp their brand name on the interior of shoes.

FERRY SERVICE

99


WALLABOUT and SOUTHSIDE WILLIAMSBURG ferry stop: schaefer landing/south williamsburg

Williamsburg was settled by the Dutch and, like Greenpoint, was originally part of Bushwick. Speculative development ventures and competing ferry services characterized early development patterns. As early as 1797, regularly scheduled ferry service moved passengers between Grand Street, New York and South 1st Street in Williamsburg. In 1802, Richard M. Woodhull, a speculative builder, hired Col. Jonathan Williams to survey and layout a grid for 13 acres of land between present day North 15th Street and Division Street. The newly surveyed land became known as “Williamsburgh” in honor of Col. Williams.

DO YOU WANT MORE? If you have additional time, check out these nearby sites: a Grand Street

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ferry stop: schaefer landing/south williamsburg

NORTH

By the mid-19th century, Grand Street was well established as the primary commercial thoroughfare of Williamsburg. Activity began to shift south to Broadway in the 1860s. Grand Street acts as the dividing line between the Southside and Northside of Williamsburg.

EAST

b Washington Plaza

This was once a bustling pedestrian site trolleys and streetcars offering connections to the Plaza, surrounded by major landmarks of Williamsburg, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, the equestrian stature of Washington and the Williamsburg Trust Company. The site was sliced by the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway and is now divided by busy traffic.

c Building 92

SOUTH

(63 Flushing Ave) This was the former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant's Residence in the Navy Yard. Designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter in 1857, known for his design for the cast-iron dome of the U.S. Capitol, Building 92 now houses exhibits on the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s two centuries of military and industrial history.

Williamsburg experienced exponential growth in the early 19th century; between 1830 and 1851, the population grew from 1,007 to 35,000 residents. Starting in the 1940s, many industries began to open along the Southside’s waterfront, such as the Havemeyers & Elder Sugar Refinery and F & M Schaefer Brewing Company. With the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in 1903, residents of the Lower East Side moved into the Southside, establishing a large immigrant community that continues to live in the neighborhood.

d Wallabout Market

From the 1880s to 1941, Wallabout Market was Brooklyn's major produce market and the second largest in the world at one point. In 1877, a portion of the Navy Yard was sold to create the market. The site was reclaimed in 1941 during World War II to secure the yard against any enemy action, resulting in the closing of the market.

e Admiral's Row

(Flushing Ave.) Admiral’s Row at the Brooklyn Navy Yard includes Second Empire style homes built for naval officers and a timber shed that suffered years of neglect and deterioration. Some of them are in the process of being demolished to open a large grocery store.

CREDITS

In the second half of the 20th century, as the industrial and manufacturing economy collapsed, the neighborhood’s population declined and the industrial buildings sat vacant. Less development has occurred on the Southside compared to the Northside; however, new development plans and industrial conversions are increasing. Schaefer Landing is a large new development built on the former site of the brewery and plans exist to convert the Havemeyers & Elder Sugar Refinery, more recently known as the Domino Sugar refinery, into residences.

WALLABOUT and SOUTHSIDE WILLIAMSBURG

TEXT: Kate Gilmore, Julia Lewis, Mayank Patel, Angela Serratore, and Jonathan Taylor IMAGES:(1) Photographer/Date Unknown, Image from Brooklyn Historical Society via Victor Lederer (2) Getty Images (3) Eugene Armbruster 1929 (4) Julia Lewis, 2012 (5) Eugene Armbruster (6)Julia Lewis, 2012 (7) Photographer Unknown, Image from Brooklyn Historical Society via Victor Lederer 1915 (8) Julia Lewis, 2012 (9) Arthur Wilmott, 1900 (10) Eugene Armbruster, 1922 (Waterfront Panoramic) Julia Lewis GRAPHICS: Julia Lewis Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Professor Ward Dennis: 2012 Historic Preservation Spring Studio Project

interpreting the heritage of the brooklyn & queens east river waterfront


F & M Schaefer Brewing Company

1

430 & 460 Kent Ave. (1915-16)

a

DEMOLISHED

Brooklyn Rapid Transit Power Plant The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Corporation formed in 1896 as a public transit holding company. In 1908 it opened its first underground station. The company expanded until 1919 when it went insolvent. It emerged as the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation in 1923, and eventually merged with the MTA. This power plant was demolished in 2008.

Broadway Corridor

s. 4th st.

8

500 Kent Ave.

4

9 th s. 8

10

BROADWAY

st.

th s. 9

DEMOLISHED

1

3

st.

th s. 10

2

8

e.

st. v th n a s. 11 o si vi di

Havemeyers & Elder Sugar Refinery 292-314 Kent Ave.

Once the tallest structure on the Brooklyn waterfront, this former sugar refinery was central to the industrial era in Brooklyn. In the early 1900s, 98% of the sugar production in America was controlled by Havemeyers. The building, later the Domino Sugar Factory, was used for sugar production until 2004. There are plans to convert the building to apartments.

4

9

James Sparrow and his son commissioned this building for the Sparrow Shoe Company. The cast iron facade was designed by Atlantic Iron Works. An additional notable cast iron facade on this stretch of Broadway is that of the Smith, Gray, & Company Building, located at 103 Broadway.

Williamsburg Bridge The Williamsburg Bridge was designed by engineer Leffert L. Buck. When the sometimes-criticized stark steel bridge opened in 1903 residents from the Lower East Side took advantage of increased acres and began migrating to Brooklyn.

d

c 5

10 e

KEY

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills building was part of a large Atlanta based chain, with operations in New Orleans, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver and Dallas. This photograph, dating from 1922, shows the large factory in Southside. The building was bought by Esquire Shoe Polish in 1938 and turned into condos in 2002.

Kent Ave. & S. 3rd St.

DEMOLISHED

st.

195 Broadway

Fulton Bag & Cotton Mills

Kreamer Plant The Kreamer Plant was used for tin manufacturing. Production in factories like this one was crucial for the supply of war time materials. Demand was fueled by the neighboring Navy Yard. The industry in Brooklyn tended to be interrelated to surrounding businesses.

3

Broadway became the current financial center of Williamsburg in the late 1800s. Prominent buildings line the street and serve as reminders of the economic power of this area. Buildings of notable interest are the former Kings Co. Savings Bank and the iconic domed Williamsburgh Savings Bank.

Sparrow Shoe Factory

390 Wythe Ave.

7

b

6 5 s. 5th st.

Matchett Candy Factory The Matchett Candy Factory was constructed in the early 1900s. Its location near the sugar manufacturers was key to its success in the candy business. It has been converted into apartments that reveal the original pine framing and intricate brickwork. Additional original materials were carefully salvaged and have been reused in common spaces.

ferry stop: schaefer landing/ south williamsburg

s. 3rd st.

7

2

6

ave WYTHE

ave KENT

America’s oldest lager brewer is the F&M Schaeffer Brewing Company. Two German brothers started the business in 1842 in Manhattan and moved to this location in Brooklyn in 1915. The company went out of business in 1976 and the building has since been torn down and replaced by rentals, Schaefers Landing.

Southside Williamsburg

TRANSPORTATION LINK INDUSTRY SOCIAL CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT

N

1 a

WALKING TOUR SITES ADDITIONAL NEARBY SITES FERRY SERVICE

DEMOLISHED

Broadway Ferry The ferry provided an important link to Manhattan, connecting to Grand Street in Manhattan, East 23rd Street Ferry, and James Slip, but went out of service following the construction of bridges across the East River. Service resumed for a short period in the 1920s but quickly ended. In June 2011, the East River Ferry opened for commuters.

101


NORTHSIDE WILLIAMSBURG ferry stop: north 6th street / north williamsburg

Williamsburg was settled by the Dutch and, like Greenpoint, was originally part of Bushwick. Speculative development ventures and competing ferry services characterized early development patterns. As early as 1797, regularly scheduled ferry service moved passengers between Grand Street, New York and South 1st Street in Williamsburg. In 1802, Richard M. Woodhull, a speculative builder, hired Col. Jonathan Williams to survey and layout a grid for 13 acres of land between present day North 15th Street and Division Street. The newly surveyed land became known as “Williamsburg” in honor of Col. Williams.

DO YOU WANT MORE? If you have additional time, check out these nearby sites: a Continental Iron Works

2012

102

ferry stop: north 6th street / north williamsburg

NORTH

(Quay St.) The length of Quay Street, bordered by Franklin Street, Bushwick Inlet, and the East River, is the former site of Continental Iron Works. Formed in 1860, Continental Iron Works covered seven acres along the waterfront. In 1861 it was commissioned to build the hull of the ironcald Monitor.

b

SOUTH

Domino Sugar Refinery (Originally Havemeyers & Elder Sugar Refinery)

(292-314 Kent Ave.) Once the tallest structure on the Brooklyn waterfront, this former sugar refinery was central to the industrial era in Brooklyn. In the early 1900s, 98% of the sugar production in America was controlled by the Havemeyers. The building was used for sugar production until 2004. There are plans to convert the building into apartments.

c Williamsburg Bridge

Williamsburg experienced exponential growth in the early 19th century; between 1830 and 1851, the population grew from 1,007 to 35,000 residents. Starting in the 1940s, many industries opened on the Williamsburg waterfront, which became home companies such as Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Standard Oil, Domino Sugar and Schaefer Beer. Many of the manufacturing businesses on the Northside serviced large industries like the Havemeyers & Elder Sugar Refinery or Schaefer Brewing Company located on the Southside.

The Williamsburg Bridge was designed by engineer Leffert L. Buck. When the sometimes-criticized stark steel bridge opened in 1903 residents from the Lower East Side took advantage of increased acres and began migrating to Brooklyn.

d Broadway Corridor

This street became the financial center of Williamsburg in the late 1800s. Prominent buildings line the streets, serving as reminders of the economic power of this area. Walking east, buidlings of notable interest are Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, orginially the Kings Co. Savings Bank and the iconic domed Williamsburgh Savings Bank.

CREDITS

In the second half of the 20th century, as Williamsburg’s industrial and manufacturing economy collapsed, the neighborhood’s population declined and the industrial buildings sat vacant. In the 1990s Manhattanites fleeing rising rents moved into the neighborhood, occupying the vacant industrial lofts, many of which have been converted into residences. In 2005, acknowledging the changing land use, New York City rezoned a large swath of Williamsburg’s industrial waterfront for residential use, triggering new development projects, like the Edge and Northside Piers, throughout the neighborhood.

NORTHSIDE WILLIAMSBURG

TEXT: Jason Crowley, Kate Gilmore, Julia Lewis, and Jonathan Taylor IMAGES:(1) Kate Gilmore, 2012 (2) www.forgotten-ny.com (3) Ward Dennis, 2012 (4) Kate Gilmore, 2012 (5) Kate Gilmore, 2012 (6) Brooklyn Public Library (7) www.commentwilliamsburg.org (8) Ward Dennis, 2005 (9) Eugene Armbruster, 1928 (10) Ward Dennis, 2004 (Waterfront Panoramic) Julia Lewis GRAPHICS: Julia Lewis Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Professor Ward Dennis: 2012 Historic Preservation Spring Studio Project

interpreting the heritage of the brooklyn & queens east river waterfront


The Edge & Northside Piers

1

Northside Williamsburg

34th N. 7th St.

Designed by FX Fowle Architects, Northside Piers is a large new condominium development that opened in 2008, followed in 2010 by the Edge designed by Stephen B. Jacobs group. Both projects took advantage of the 2005 rezoning that changed permissible waterfront use from industrial to residential.

a

Wythe ave.

2

3

151 Kent Ave.

BEDT was one of the largest riverside railroads and acted as a connection to transport goods from the East River further inland. Few remnants of the BEDT’s former rail yards remain. The BEDT closed in 1983. Today the East River State Park occupies the site.

NATIONAL REGISTER

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n. 12th st.

4

n. 10th st. n. 9th st.

5

DEMOLISHED Weidmann Cooperage

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n. 7th st.

Old Dutch Mustard Company Designed by Theobald Engelhardt in 1908 and originally used as a rag and paper warehouse. The building became the Old Dutch Mustard Company from 1930 to 1980. In 2006, the building was demolished to make way for new development spurred by the recent rezoning of the area.

n. 6th st. n. 5th st.

1 6 metropolitan

Hecla Iron Works

4

110-118 N. 11th St.

n. 4th st.

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ave.

n. 3rd st.

DEMOLISHED

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8 n. 1st st.

This landmark building was constructed in 1896-97. Hecla Iron Works had an extensive career in New York City, creating the interior and exterior iron work for the B. Altman department store, Grand Central Terminal and IRT subway kiosks.

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10

Grand Street Ferry Landing 1 Grand St.

While not the first ferry service between Williamsburg and Manhattan. the Grand Street Ferry opened in 1800 to rival the ferry service established at North 2nd Street. It quickly became popular. The last Grand Street ferry ran in 1918. Today, no remnants of the ferry terminal remain.

grand st.

DEMOLISHED

LANDMARK

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10

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KEY

Kent Avenue has historically been the main transportation corridor for Williamsburg’s industrial waterfront. Today it continues to serve as a heavily trafficked thoroughfare. As part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Initiative, a dedicated bike lane was recently added to the streetscape.

240 Wythe Ave.

80 Metropolitan Ave.

Weidmann was a major barrel supplier for local sugar refineries. At peak production, the North 11th Street cooperage produced 6,000 to 7,000 barrels a day. The building was designed by Theobold Engelhardt in 1901 and has distinctive concave corners.

Kent Avenue

Rokeach & Sons

n. 8th st.

3

75 N. 11th St.

This building was designed by Cass Gilbert in 1913-1915 for grocery wholesalers, Austin, Nichols & Co. The company occupied the warehouse until the 1950s. In September 2005, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the buildin but this decision was overturned by City Council in December 2005.

The building is a poured-in-place concrete slab building designed by C.G. Pries in 1929 to meet the specifications of kosher food and product manufacturer I. Rokeach & Sons. The products were distributed to Jewish communities nationwide.

n. 11th st.

2

Austin, Nichols & Co Warehouse 184 Kent Ave.

ferry stop: n. 6th st./ north williamsburg

kent st .

Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal

6

TRANSPORTATION LINK

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INDUSTRY SOCIAL CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT

WALKING TOUR SITES ADDITIONAL NEARBY SITES FERRY SERVICE

Grand Street By the mid-19th century, Grand Street was well established as the primary commercial thoroughfare of Williamsburg. Activity began to shift south to Broadway in the 1860s. Grand Street acts as the dividing line between the Southside and Northside of Williamsburg.

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Greenpoint ferry stop: greenpoint / india st. The neighborhood of Greenpoint, historically the agricultural part of the town of Bushwick, shows little evidence of its farming past. Greenpoint began developing as an urban center in the 1830s when Neziah Bliss acquired the farmland along the waterfront between Newtown Creek and Bushwick Creek. In 1834 Bliss had his land surveyed and mapped into streets. Erecting a bridge over Bushwick Creek, he opened Hallett’s Cove Turnpike along present-day Franklin Street, connecting Greenpoint with Williamsburg and Astoria. Due to the large tracts of open waterfront and its easy access to Brooklyn and Manhattan, shipbuilders and other industrialists began relocating to Greenpoint from Manhattan by the 1840s and 50s. In 1855 Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick became part of the City of Brooklyn.

DO YOU WANT MORE? If you have additional time, check out these nearby sites: (End of Manhattan Ave. along Newtown Creek) GMDC was founded in 1992 as a nonprofit industrial developer. Six historic industrial buildings, formerly the Chelsea Jute Mills, have been rehabilitated and are occupied by more than 100 small manufacturing enterprises, artisans and artists.

EAST

b Greenpoint Historic District

Designated in 1982, the Greenpoint Historic District runs along the eastern side of Franklin Street to Manhattan Avenue in the east and from Kent Street in the north to Meserole Street in the south.

c Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

(Paidge Ave & Kingsland Ave.) The original plant was completed in 1967 and underwent a significant renovation in 2009, designed by Polshek Partnership. The creation of a nature walk on the treatment plant’s property provides one of the only continuous public access points to Newtown Creek.

d Eclipse Box & Lumber Company

(425 Greenpoint Ave.) Completed in 1904, the Eclipse Box and Lumber Company was owned by Charles A. Miller. In addition to lumber, the factory produced varnishes, boxes, and wood shavings for the gaslight industry. Many different lumber yards lined Newtown Creek. In the early 1900s lumber was one of the chief commodities transported along the creek.

e Weidmann Cooperage

By the 1970s much of the industry had left Greenpoint. In 2005 the City of New York rezoned the waterfront in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. This changed the permissible waterfront use from industrial to residential. The rezoning of the waterfront is an impetus for demolition of the former industrial buildings to develop highrise residential towers and public esplanades along the Greenpoint waterfront in coming years.

SOUTH

(75 N 11th St.) Weidmann was a major barrel supplier for local sugar refineries. At peak production, the North 11th Street cooperage produced 6,000 to 7,000 barrels a day. The building is noted for its concave corners, which may have been the location of an iron barrel chute or a spiral fire stair. Theobold Engelhardt designed the building in 1901.

CREDITS

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ferry stop: greenpoint / india st.

NORTH a Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center

By the 1870s Greenpoint’s waterfront was lined with industry. A decline in shipbuilding after the Civil War caused many companies to either close down or reorganize into new manufacturing facilities. At the turn of the 20th-century Greenpoint’s waterfront, along both the East River and Newtown Creek, was dominated by oil refineries and other supporting industries.

2012

Greenpoint

TEXT: Jason Crowley and Jonathan Taylor IMAGES: (1) Mayank Patel, 2012 (2) Jason Crowley, 2012 (3) Kate Gilmore, 2012 (4) Kate Gilmore, 2012 (5) Watercolor by Oscar Parkes, 1936. US Naval History & Comand (6) Jason Crowley, 2012 (7) Jason Crowley, 2012 (8) Jason Crowley, 2012 (9) Brooklyn Historical Society, 1933 (10) Jason Crowley, 2012 (Waterfront Panoramic) Kate Gilmore GRAPHICS: Julia Lewis Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Professor Ward Dennis: 2012 Historic Preservation Spring Studio Project

interpreting the heritage of the brooklyn & queens east river waterfront


Astral apartments

1

430 & 460 Kent Ave.

GREENPOINT

Built in 1886, the Astral apartments were designed by the architecture firm of Lamb & Rich in the Queen Anne style. Commissioned by Charles Pratt as housing for his oil refinery workers, it was an early form of planned workers housing in New York.

6

Length of West St.

West Street was a major center for industrial manufacturing in Brooklyn. By the 1970s the industry had relocated leaving the waterfront a relic of its former self. In 2005, the City of New York rezoned the waterfront from industrial to residential. Greenpoint’s industrial waterfront will transform into a residential esplanade.

ferry stop: greenpoint/india st.

a LANDMARK

Nos. 94-100 Kent Street

c

West St. near Milton St.

in

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st

we ia

ind

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3

st

1

Built in 1895 on the site of the original Mechanics and Traders Bank of Brooklyn, founded in 1867, this brick, stone, and terra cotta Beaux-Arts building is a contributing building to the Greenpoint Historic District, designated in 1982.

b

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Between Franklin, Kent, Greenpoint, & West Sts.

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Greenpoint Ave.

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st

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LANDMARK

Continental Iron Works

5

KEY

DEMOLISHED

10

e

Quay St.

The length of Quay Street, bordered by Franklin Street, Bushwick Inlet, and the East River is the former site of Continental Iron Works. Formed in 1860, Continental Iron Works covered seven acres along the waterfront. In 1861 it was commissioned to build the hull of the Monitor.

TRANSPORTATION LINK INDUSTRY SOCIAL CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT

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City of New York Municipal Ferry The municipal ferry provided an important link, connecting Greenpoint Avenue to 23rd Street. The first ferry from Greenpoint to New York opened in 1790. In 1933, the Greenpoint Ferry shut down. In June 2011, the East River Ferry opened for commuters on India St. once again linking Greenpoint to Manhattan.

5 ay

19-23 Greenpoint Avenue These Italianate brick row houses are an example of how the Greenpoint waterfront was a mixed use area with residential, commercial, and industrial buildings intertwined. The ground floors of each house have remnants of former commercial spaces, likely supported by the activity along the waterfront.

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Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Historic District

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144 Franklin St.

Greenpoint Terminal Market Originally the American Manufacturing Company, it was established in the 1890s as a manufacturer of rope and bagging for the shipping industry. After World War II, the company left and the site was turned into a storage facility known as the Greenpoint Terminal Market. In 2006 a fire destroyed much of the complex.

an

LANDMARK

Mechanics & Traders Bank of Brooklyn

Designated in 2007, the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Historic District consists of eight buildings and three partially demolished 19th-century facades of the pencil factory that opened in Greenpoint in 1872, closing in 1956. The company is credited with bringing German lead pencil-making to the United States.

7

d

fr

The row of Italianate brick houses with mansard roofs were built by James R. Sparrow Jr. in 1864. A notable resident of number 100 Kent Street was Nathaniel S. Bailey, who acquired Christian Dorflinger’s glass factory on Commercial Street. Dorflinger’s was one of the leading producers of cutglass in the country.

2

Former Industrial Waterfront

WALKING TOUR SITES ADDITIONAL NEARBY SITES

Belgian Blocks Java St.

Java Street, from West Street to the river, is a surviving example of a street still paved in Belgian block. Over the years, much of this historic fabric has been lost or paved over to create smoother public roads.

FERRY SERVICE

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HUNTERS POINT ferry stop: hunters point / long island city First settled under the leadership of the Dutch Rev. Everardus Bogardus in the 1640’s, the area once known as Domine’s Hook was renamed Hunters Point in 1825 after Capt. George Hunter. In 1835, Hunter’s grandsons sold the land to Union College for development, and a street plan was laid out in the 1850s.

HUNTERS POINT

DO YOU WANT MORE? If you have additional time, check out these nearby sites: EAST a Van Iderstine's fat rendering facility

Van Iderstine’s, built in 1855, was once the largest rendering plant along Newtown Creek. It was purchased by Darling and Co. in 1901, and was soon part of Darling International, one of the largest renderers in the U.S. The facility was demolished except for a smokestack visible along the water.

Starting in 1858, Manhattan commuters could disembark from the East 34th Street Ferry terminal to Borden Avenue in Hunters Point and transfer to the newly completed Flushing Rail Road (1854) and the soon-to-be-completed Long Island Rail Road terminal (1861). As more passengers and visitors traveled there, hotels, stores and saloons began cropping up around this transportation node. With the advent of new subway tunnels, river crossings, and the LIRR tubes to Pennsylvania Station, the ferry closed in 1925.

b Penny Bridge

In the 1830s the Penny Bridge replaced a wooden bridge that was part of a highway connecting the towns of Bushwick and Newtown since 1670. In the late 1800s it was one of only two bridges linking Brooklyn and Queens. In 1939 it was torn down and replaced by the Kosciuszko Bridge.

c Kosciuszko Bridge

Built in 1939, it is the only bridge along Newtown Creek that is stationary, but it is high enough to accomodate shipping traffic. Named for Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a Polish general in the Revolutionary War, Polish and American eagles are used as ornamentation.

From the 1870s through after the Second World War, the area between Newtown Creek and the present Queensboro Bridge became an industrial powerhouse. Companies such as Standard Oil, the New York Sugar Refinery, Pepsi Cola, the Toch Brothers Paint & Varnish Co., and the New York Architectural Terra Cotta Co. filled the blocks that lined the river. In the late19th century, Hunters Point was predominantly home to an Irish immigrant population.

2012

106

d Nichols Copper Company/Laurel Hill Chemical Works

A chief commodity transported on Newtown Creek was copper ore. The Nichols Copper Co. (1872) was the most prominent copper refinery along the creek. In 1899 the company merged with General Chemical Co. and built the tallest chimney in the US (315 feet) to reduce the local effects of the factory’s pollution.

CREDITS

With the decline of the industrial waterfront in the 1960s, the area eventually became a hotbed of artistic activity, with new galleries and centers being established in the 1970s and 80s (such as P.S. 1, now affiliated with MoMA). The once-heavily industrialized shoreline is now the location of esplanades, public parks and condominiums. Numerous newer small businesses and industries still make Hunters Point an economically vibrant neighborhood, including film equipment renters, catering services, marble and granite countertop manufacturers, and paint companies.

ferry stop: hunters point / long island city

TEXT: Jonathan Taylor and Max Yeston IMAGES: (1) Greater Astoria Historical Society (2) Greater Astoria Historical Society (3) Greater Astoria Historical Society (4) Greater Astoria Historical Society (5) Greater Astoria Historical Society (6) Greater Astoria Historical Society (7) Max Yeston, 2012 (8) Max Yeston, 2012 (9) Max Yeston, 2012 (10) Max Yeston, 2012 (Waterfront Panoramic) Julia Lewis 2012 GRAPHICS: Julia Lewis Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Professor Ward Dennis: 2012 Historic Preservation Spring Studio Project

interpreting the heritage of the brooklyn & queens east river waterfront


Site of Hunters Point Ferry Terminal

Starting in 1858, the Hunters Point ferry served as the chief connection for commuters going from Manhattan to the Flushing Rail Road and Long Island Rail Road. There were four ferry terminals that had service to East 34th Street and James Slip. The shoreline has since been extended outward.

1

Hunters Point

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ferry stop: hunters point / long island city DEMOLISHED

Long Island Rail Road Depot

DEMOLISHED

2

7

Borden Ave. & 2nd St.

46th

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st.

6

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47th

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48th

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49th

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ave.

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This 1887 Gothic Revival church designed by Patrick Charles Keely was an anchor of the Irish Catholic immigrant community that populated Hunters Point in the late 19th century. The square brick tower tapers back at the corners to meet the octagonal steeple.

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10

108th Police Precinct 547 50th Ave.

KEY

This award-winning park features gantries from 1925. Since NY Harbor was a barrier to the railroad, boxcars were loaded onto barges in New Jersey and transported to float bridges along the Queens waterfront. The rails echo the freight yards that once extended across Center Boulevard between 51st-48th Avenues.

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church 1008 49th Ave.

The 1909 power plant once boasted four colossal smoke stacks that etched a distinct skyline along the East River waterfront. During the structure’s recent conversion into condos (Karl Fischer, architect, 2009), additional arched windows were added, and the stacks were removed and replaced with metal “echoes.”

Gantry State Park

Hunters Point Community Park This stretch used to be occupied by freight car rail lines that led from the gantries toward Sunnyside Yards. Through this system, boxcars of goods were delivered to Long Island and eventually New England via the Hell Gate Bridge. The space is now occupied by a block-long park.

lvd on b

1

9

50th

b c

vern

4

ave.

rd. 49th

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50-09 2nd St.

a

ave.

48th

As more passengers and visitors from Manhattan traveled to the Hunters Point LIRR connection, a frenzy of commercial construction occurred, and hotels, stores and saloons began cropping up along Borden Avenue. Built in 1881 by Oliver Charlick, Miller’s Hotel was once a gathering place for Queens politicians.

Pennsylvania RR Generative Plant

Belgian Block Street Virtually all of Hunters Point’s streets once were paved with Belgian block. Several industries lined 46th Road: the Toch Brothers Paint and Varnish Company (visible by a brick smoke stack), W. D. Wilson Printing Ink, and Plaxall, Inc., a plastics company whose 1950s building and sign are still visible.

ave. 47th

5th

DEMOLISHED (Now Waterfront Crab House) 203 Borden Ave.

From the 1870s to 1936, Standard Oil had an immense presence in Hunters Point, with factories occupying four blocks along the East River, from 47th to 45th Avenue. In 1936, Pepsi-Cola’s bottling plant (of which only the large sign remains) replaced the southern part of Standard Oil’s facilities.

46th Rd. btw 5th St. and Vernon

On this site was the chief terminus for the Long Island Rail Road starting in 1861. In 1891, a Second Empire style station was completed. After it burned down in 1902, a new station was finished the following year with cast-iron canopies above the walkways along 2nd Street.

Miller's Hotel

Standard Oil & Pepsi-Cola

TRANSPORTATION LINK INDUSTRY SOCIAL CENTER OF DEVELOPMENT

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WALKING TOUR SITES

This 1903 Renaissance Revival brick and stone building was part of a wave of municipal construction to bring order to Hunters Point after the consolidation of the five boroughs in 1898.

ADDITIONAL NEARBY SITES FERRY SERVICE

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APPENDIX 3: PLAYING CARDS

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APPENDIX 4: LETTER This letter was for the meeting with the East River Ferry in which the idea of the brochures and posters were proposed.

Interpreting the Heritage of the Brooklyn & Queens East River Waterfront

Who We Are: We are a group of eleven graduate students in the Historic Preservation program at Columbia University. Our studies this semester have focused on the Brooklyn and Queens Waterfront along the East River. We have been researching the industrial and social history of this area in our extensive libraries and also conducting field research though tours to see what architectural fabric remains. Our final project will be a presentation that integrates our research into various interpretation tools that are accessible to the public. Why the East River Ferry? The East River Ferry provides excellent access to the area that we are researching. One of our methods for distributing our research would be through a series of walking tour brochures for different neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn. We based our tours on stops for the East River Ferry. We would like to be able to place our brochures on the ferry along with a poster that explains the history of the area and what the brochures contain. Benefits: These walking tours are not your typical “tourist� view of the city. They focus on the industrial past and culture of distinct areas. We hope they will spark a range of interests from the commuter that rides the ferry to work to the tourist that hops on for a better view of the river. Advertising each of the stops along your route would lead to more passengers and more profit for you. As historic preservationists, one of our main goals is informing the public of the past and the presence that it still has in these areas. We would really honor the opportunity to distribute our work on your popular ferry. Timing: Our final presentation is May 7th. We would value your attendance and feedback. We will have full scale mockups and examples. If you like our product we would love to work with you on installation over the summer.

Contact Us: We also have full length presentations of the additional work we have done and our other interpretation tools available that we would gladly pass on to you. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience. Julia Lewis 434.242.5152 Jbl2146@columbia.edu

Mayank Patel 732.543.4390 mayoopatel87@gmail.com

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APPENDIX 5: LINKS One of our goals was to create internet content that required low maintenance and could be accessed even after the end of our studio project. Here are links to the content we created. Tumblr: http://brooklynqueenswaterfront.tumblr.com/ Foursqare: https://foursquare.com/user/20395059/list/brooklynqueens-waterfront ERF Podcasts: https://sites.google.com/site/brooklynqueenswaterfront/proposed-interpretation/east-river-ferry-podcasts Astoria & Ravenswood Podcasts: https://sites.google.com/site/brooklynqueenswaterfront/proposed-interpretation/astoria-ravenswood-podcasts

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn-7vDFyylLwKaqKGMJcChQ Google Website: https://sites.google.com/site/brooklynqueenswaterfront/

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BROOKLYN/QUEENS WATERFRONT

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BROOKLYN/QUEENS WATERFRONT

Brooklyn/Queens Waterfront  

Spring 2012 group studio project.