Endangered Buildings Initiative

Officer’s Row

Officer’s Row
Officer’s Row

Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn

UPDATE: Jan. 30 2012

The New York Landmarks Conservancy is happy that the Admirals Row property has finally been sold to the City and is now in the hands of the Navy Yard who we hope will act quickly to stabilize the two historic structures that are to remain on the site.

Although we would have preferred to see more of the houses saved, we believe that the plan espoused by the Navy Yard incorporating two of the historic buildings is a good one. We trust that the Navy Yard will honor its commitment to historic preservation and look forward to seeing how work on the site proceeds.

Previous update.

The houses along Officer’s Row in the Brooklyn Navy Yard are among the more poignant preservation stories to be told, one of the tragedies of military base decommissioning.

When the Navy Yard was abandoned in 1966, these buildings were intact, stable, and handsome homes. Located along Flushing Avenue, they are on the edge of the Navy Yard and would have been accessible, without security concerns, to the public. Surely they could have been useful to their community, perhaps converted to new uses. Instead they have sat unused and unprotected, until now they are virtual shells.

The Navy Yard is managed for the City of New York by the Brookyn Navy Yard Development Corporation as an industrial park. Although some portions of the vast complex have found new uses, others remain vacant and more or less derelict, including the designated landmarks: the Chief Surgeon’s Residence, the U.S. Naval Hospital, and Drydock No. 1.

The Development Corporation’s stated intention is to demolish these houses and replace them with a supermarket with large parking lots replacing the historic buildings.

In September, 2005, the Landmarks Conservancy retained an expert structural engineer to inspect the six extant buildings on Officers Row. The findings were that the residential brick masonry buildings are salvageable, but that the wood-frame additions and porches were in ruinous condition. The recommendations included immediate stabilization and temporary re-roofing to preclude further water damage. These findings and recommendations were made available to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the local Community Board, the local City Council Member, and community advocates for preservation. No action has been taken on the recommendations and the buildings continue to deteriorate, while preservatin advocates contiume to develop alternative reuse plans.

Neighborhood: Navy Yard
Building use type: Residential/General
Condition: Ruinous
Year built: pre 1852
Style: Second Empire
Predominant materials: Masonry
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