Baylander, at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Opens to Visitors This Weekend

You may have noticed an odd looking small ship moored near the northeast corner of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 (see photo above) for the past couple of weeks. It’s the Baylander, billed as the “world’s smallest aircraft carrier.” Baylander is a former U.S. Navy vessel, built in the 1960s, that served as a troop and equipment lighter in the Delta region of Vietnam. After the war, she was decommissioned, but was put back into service, with the addition of a flight deck large enough to accommodate a single helicopter, in 1986. In that configuration, she served as a training ship for student helicopter pilots for over 25 years.

Baylander is now owned by the Trenk Family Foundation, established by Al and Abigail Trenk. Mr. Trenk is on the left in the photo above; standing next to him is Captain Scott Koen, skipper of the Baylander. Mr. Trenk said he and his wife were “excited” to have Baylander moved to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Stationing the ship in the soon-to-be-opened Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina will afford thousands of New Yorkers the opportunity to visit, see and learn about a ship that was fully operational and designed to support helicopters from all military services and government agencies.”

The Marina (see rendering above) will lie between Piers 4 and 5. Its piers, docks, and breakwaters are being assembled elsewhere, and will be towed to the site and assembled there, according to spokesperson Carter Craft.

Baylander will be open for free public tours starting this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on succeeding weekends through Labor Day.

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  • Slobodan

    As if this horrible park needs more attractions and crowds

  • David on Middagh

    It’s turning into Pier 17 a little, isn’t it?

  • Peter Brooklyn

    I just don’t know whether at the beginning of all this, when local residents fantasized about being able to “touch the river,” they realized that they would be making a devil’s deal with real estate developers that would result in 100,000 visitors to 1.3 miles of local land during summer weekends. I don’t believe it was fully thought through – and now it’s here, with more development to come. Some like it, some hate it, most put up with it. The undeniable fact is that the neighborhood has and will continue to change, from “America’s first suburb” to a “tourist destination where some people happen to live.”

  • David on Middagh

    Well put. From my understanding (and I may have gaps) the neighborhood first was ruined (as it were) by the Brooklyn Bridge’s completion in the 1880s, then by the subways, and most recently—the mid 20th Century is still recent, right?—by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. All of these circulatory options have left us primed for any popular influx, which previously lasted for a night of fireworks at the Promenade or a climactic day’s worth of Book Fest around Borough Hall Plaza, but now ebbs and swells daily to and from The Park That Ate the Waterfront.