Brooklyn’s Waterfront: Kudos and Concerns

Brooklyn's cruise ship terminal, located at Pier 17 in Red Hook (photo) has been named "the nation's best new homeport" for cruises by Porthole Cruise Magazine, according to a story by Rich Calder in Wednesday's New York Post. Princess Cruise Lines, which uses the terminal along with its sister company Cunard, has also honored Brooklyn as its "best turnaround port."  

Meanwhile, according to Robin Pogrebin's story in the Thursday Times;, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, responding to a nomination by the Municipal Art Society, has declared Brooklyn's waterfront, from Sunset Park to Greenpoint (a stretch that includes Red Hook, the Brooklyn Bridge Park site, the Navy Yard and Williamsburg) "one of America's 11 most endangered historic places."  In making the nomination, the Society noted that the famous Civil War ironclad Monitor was built on the Greenpoint waterfront, Red Hook served as a port for traffic from the Erie Canal, and "[t]he Old Dutch Mustard Company in Williamsburg churned out prepared mustard, vinegars and fruit juice for half a century."  The Mustard Company building was recently torn down, the former Todd Shipyards graving dock at Red Hook is being filled in for a parking lot, and there is pressure for development all along the designated waterfront area.  The Society's nomination to the Trust also noted that "Brooklyn lost five buildings and gained four new ones every day in 2005." Advocates of preservation stress the historical importance of the industrial facilities on the waterfront, observing that they provided employment for thousands of the immigrants who arrived in Brooklyn during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  However, Pogrebin's article also quotes Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Stanley Doctoroff, who said, "It's a balance, … [a]ll the time we weigh the value of historical preservation against the need to move the city forward in terms of housing, jobs and parkland."

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