This museum had been on my to-do list since it opened last year. Having only visited the Navy Yards previously on an Open House weekend, without much information on hand, the museum did a perfect job of explaining the importance of the city’s naval history and placing it into context not just in Brooklyn but in the entire nation. Some say that it was New York’s perfect geographical location as a harbour and its history of shipbuilding which made it the great city it is today. With that accolade I had to find out more.
The permanent exhibition “Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future” was a great place to start. Covering everything from the early people of Wallabout Bay where the yard now sits (Walloon settlers from Belgium) to what’s on site today (an industrial park containing film studios, art studios and innovative green companies offering tours, such as IceStone), there is lots to learn for the New Yorker and tourist alike. For example, the reason Fulton Street, Manhattan lies just across the water from Fulton Street, Brooklyn is that both were docks for Robert Fulton’s steam ferry service between the two boroughs. And Howard Zinn used to work on the Navy Yard!
There’s also a nice café serving snacks and decent coffee, and now that the sun is shining I plan to return soon to sit on the café’s balcony next to the green roof, overlooking the continuing hustle and bustle of this key place in New York’s history.