What will happen to St. Ann’s?

Now that the Two Trees’ Dock Street DUMBO project will move forward following yesterday’s City Council vote, what’s going to happen to St. Ann’s Warehouse, the theater at 38 Water St., which is on the lot slated for redevelopment? The New York Times checked in with artistic director Susan Feldman this morning, who said she hopes to stay in the neighborhood:

St. Ann’s, perhaps best known for presenting ground-breaking work from the Wooster Group and for the recent Scottish production of “Black Watch,” has two more seasons at its Water Street location before moving, Ms. Feldman said. She said an “ideal choice” would be moving into the nearby Civil-War era Tobacco Warehouse, on the Brooklyn Waterfront, where St. Ann’s produced “Macbeth” last summer.

That warehouse is a landmark, however, managed by the state agency in charge of parks and historic preservation, and it is far from clear if the state — not to mention the vocal preservationists of New York City — would allow St. Ann’s to use the space, Ms. Feldman said.

Other spaces in and around Brooklyn Bridge Park, Vinegar Hill, and Dumbo might also be options, but Ms. Feldman noted the challenge of finding open warehouse space that is physically and acoustically suited to theater. As patrons of the popular “Black Watch” may remember, the current St. Ann’s is a large rectangular space where seating can be easily moved to fit the show.

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  • AEB

    “…but Ms. Feldman noted the challenge of finding open warehouse space that is physically and acoustically suited to theater….”

    Indeed. It’s interesting to note–and reflective of the place that the arts hold in America–that the anti-Two Tress “narrative’ scarcely touched on the consequences of the possible loss of St. Ann’s.

    To have it disappear from our nabe–and the wider culture– would be truly dire, in my opinion.

  • progresivo

    ms. feldman testified on multiple occasions in favor of the dock street project

  • Jason

    “That warehouse is a landmark, however, managed by the state agency in charge of parks and historic preservation.”

    Not so fast. According to the BH Blog, “In a step that should help streamline the efforts at creating one long continuous park along the Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo waterfront, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation will assume management responsibility for the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park under a 99-year lease deal with the State. In addition to coordinating maintenance and programming, reports The Eagle, the move will also put the BBPDC in charge of booking the Tobacco Warehouse and overseeing the restoration of the Empire Stores.”

  • AEB

    Progressivo, please explain what Ms. Feldman saw as advantageous about having her headquarters demolished?

    Someone grease her palm/make promises?

  • nabeguy

    AEB, take your pick. It’s says right in the article that she supported the vote. How much you want to bet that they end up in the space formally occupied by the school for disabled children that TT’s evicted?

  • nabeguy

    BTW, I wouldn’t quite describe St. Ann’s Church as being “just up the hill” from the current location of the Warehouse. Mr. Healy must be using the same measuring tape as TT’s.

  • ABC

    hasn’t Two Trees subsidized St Ann’s and The Wooster Group for a long time?

    I understand the beef with Dock St, but in many ways TTs has been a very good landlord. And the “disabled children” aren’t being evicted. Their lease is up. There is a difference. (Thought they were moving to the old police bldg on Poplar –altho they were often described at that time as “troubled kids” — did that fall thru?)

  • AEB

    Thanks, nabe and ABC.

    I’m just endlessly credulous–or a selective reader. Or both.

  • heavy flo

    Saint Ann’s should have a new home in DUMBO, but not at the expense of public parkland.

    All you culture-hungry folks should be as wary of St. Ann’s imperious intentions and you are sympathetic of her impending demise. The crocodile tears are expected. But she knew all along that this would happen, it was the plan, and willfully supported Dock street, its predecessor, and all things Walentas; her chief benefactor should be so amply rewarded. Between Dock Street and the new deal with the BBPDC, the next Two Trees putsch will be to, once again, to go after the Tobacco Warehouse with SA & BAM housed in a proposed multistory structure in the footprint of the TW. It’s not about finding any space, it’s about this space.

    And pay careful attention to Regina Myer and her fascination with Two Trees; she loved the carousel, and cut herself a deal that some like, but most do not. Bye-bye hill, trees and a chunk of the Cove. Hello Nouvel – hey- at least it is not another brick tomb by Beyer, Blinder, & Bell. Fortunately, Ms Myer presently claims to support the ‘open air’ ruins of the TW and while we must give her the benefit of the doubt, but we must insist she maintains her stated intentions.

    The community, the BBPC, and the LDC saved TTW from being demolished by State Parks, literally within 24 hours of the bulldozers. We must be as unrelenting in not giving up any more pubic parkland for a permanent space for a private theatre or any other private enterprise.

    When the move to the TW last year or so ago was aggressively put forth by SA and BAM, there was strong opposition to it, and some in the community offered up the center of the Empire Stores and a cultural center and possible home for SA. Even this is generous, but less onerous than TTW. Let’s wait for the BBPDC’s RFP for the Stores and see what is proposed.

    Everyone must stay focused on the TW.