BNYDC’s mission is to promote local economic development and job creation, develop underutilized areas and oversee modernization of the Yard’s infrastructure and assets while maintaining its historical integrity.
Next stop: The abandoned U.S. Naval Hospital and Surgeon’s House. Designed by Martin E. Thompson and completed in 1838, the 60,000 square feet main campus that houses the naval hospital was incredibly active beginning during the Civil War, all the way through World War II. In fact, the Naval Hospital supplied more than half of the medicines used by Union Troops during the Civil War and remained in active use until 75 years ago, in 1948, when operations moved to the St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens. Now Steiner Studios this year plans to take over the landmarked property and turn the hospital building into an entertainment and media campus.
Next to the main hospital is the Surgeon’s Residence, a Nurses Quarters, a laboratory and other living quarters. One of the most well known physicians in medicine, Dr. E. R. Squibb, worked out of the naval hospital for years developing techniques for physical therapy and experimenting with the development of anesthesia. His discoveries were invaluable to the pain numbing techniques we appreciate today.
Final Stop: The Waterfront and Dry Dock Area. The waterfront is the end facing the East River with a clear, beautiful view of downtown and midtown Manhattan. FDNY emergency barges are stationed here for water emergencies. And of course the entire docking area can be used to transport heavy materials via the waterway.
Although the yard is no longer used to build ships, it is still used to repair ships in what is called a “dry dock.” In fact, the Navy Yard houses three of the remaining four dry docks along the eastern seaboard. What is a dry dock? It’s basically a large, sunken basin with a floating door (is hallow inside) at one end that functions much like a canal lock. When filled, the water level is the same as the surrounding water, allowing a ship to drive into it. Once the ship is in position, the door is closed, the water is pumped out, and the ship can settle high and dry into a pre-fabricated cradle so that its underside can be worked on. Here at these dry docks is where the Navy Yard works on repairing tugboats, barges and ferries.
If you’re interested in taking a tour of the Navy Yard, contact Turnstile Tours, which features a list of longstanding popular tours– The “Past, Present & Future Tour,” the “Photography Tour,” the “World War II Tour,” and their “Sustainable Architecture & Industry” bicycle tour, visit the website here. Most tours are two-hour bus tours conducted over the weekend and cost between $20-$30.
One of their newest tours to debut in February, “Making it in NYC,” is a walking tour of a manufacturing facility, offering an inside look at materials manufacturing right on site. For example, the upcoming tour of SITU Fabrication offers a behind-the-scenes view of a facility that manufactures suits for commercial space exploration!
*Unless otherwise indicated, all photo credits go to The Brooklyn Reader
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