A Look at One of Brooklyn’s Historic Landmarks

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 9.16.17 AM

A borough so deeply ensconced in history, you’d be hard pressed to find a neighborhood in Brooklyn that doesn’t have something historical tied to it. Located within the area of Sunset Park, the Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT), which is now a premiere real estate location for businesses, is another one of Brooklyn’s landmarks that is rich in history. Originally constructed as a means to dispatch supplies and personnel to military fronts around the world, the terminal has served in a variety of capacities throughout its lifetime. “The Brooklyn Army Terminal is such a remarkable place because it connected to so much of the infrastructure that makes New York City work,” says Andrew Gustafson, owner of Turnstile Tours.

The four-million square foot structure, which will celebrate its 100th birthday next year, spans from 58th street to 63rd street and from 2nd avenue all the way to the waterfront. Surrounded by water, it’s like its own industrial city. Remarkable in sight, the most dramatic feature is the atrium inside Building B.

“When you step inside the vast atrium, you get a sense of the sheer volume of materials that was moved through these enormouswarehouses, but what you don’t see is what’s behind the walls,” says Gustafson.

Before Renovations:

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 9.36.58 AM.png

After Renovations:

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.53.53 PM

At one time this was the hub for all of the military transportation operations of New York Harbor. Freight cars would pull into the building and unload supplies with a five ton moveable crane that traveled the atrium from endto end, spanning the length of three football fields and the zig zag balconies you see today were once loading docks. The area is currently closed to the public but regular tours are available for those interested in taking a step back in time.

Essential during WWII, over 20,000 military and civilian personnel were employed at the terminal and millions of servicemen passed through as they began their journey overseas. The most famous soldier to come through was Elvis Presley when he set sail on an 18-month tour of Germany in 1958. Photographers, reporters, and fans arrived in droves to catch a glimpse of the iconic singer.

In addition to being a major nerve center during the war, the Brooklyn Army terminal, which was once considered the world’s largest structure, served the city in a variety of other ways. During prohibition, it housed confiscated liquor from NYC speakeasies. What was once a thriving piece of real estate for the city unfortunately fell into a state of decay throughout the ‘60s and the ‘70s.  In 1981, NYC acquired the space from the federal government and a few years later a massive renovation was under way.

Since the days of old, the Brooklyn Army terminal has come a long way. Today, the massive space is home to a host of different types of businesses. Once filled with mostly warehouses and distribution centers, manufacturing companies are also taking up residency.

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.53.33 PM

Mario Macaluso, whose family restaurant, Pete’s Brooklyn Eats, has been a staple in the area for the last 28 years, and opened up a second location in the BAT six years ago. “It was complete tumbleweeds but we built it from the ground up, even adding an outdoor garden,” says Macaluso. Having delivered to the people at the terminal for years, the family had established relationships that proved helpful when space became available.  “After my brother, who runs the original location helped them out during the tragedy of 9/11, they came to us when the opportunity to bid on the space opened up,” he says.  It’s taken some time but Macaluso says this past year he’s begun to see changes. “There’s a lot of history here.”

Other businesses like Chocolatier Jacque Torres, a chocolate manufacturer, Uncommon Goods, an on-line boutique store, TechShop, a high-tech manufacturing hub, and the Intelligence Division of the NYC Police Department, all call this location home. It is also widely used for film and photo shoots.

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 9.19.59 AM

In 1965, the area, once referred to as South Brooklyn, took on the name of the neighborhood’s largest park which was built in the late 1800’s. Made up of 25 acres of beautiful elevated terrain, it’s a location that offers residents and tourists magnificent views of NYC landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline.

The neighborhood is also home to NYC’s second largest Chinatown, with excellent restaurants and markets. In the mood for something a little different, stroll along Fifth Avenue and you’re guaranteed to find a multitude of restaurants that specialize in cuisine from almost every country in Latin America.

Reinvented through an increase in residents and strong business growth, Sunset Park is full of diversity and charm, making it an attractive place to call home.

Kidding Around Brooklyn

We’re about a month into summer break so odds are the kids are starting to get restless! Here are some free Brooklyn-based activities to look forward to, that will keep the little ones active and entertained.


573c8b564a761A Good Sport

As tempting as it is to set the kids up with video games, smartphones and television, they will benefit far more from fresh air and exercise. From the beginning of July until mid-September, Sunset Park Recreation Center hosts the Summer Sports Experience. Every weekday from 9:15am-4:45pm, the skilled Parks staff teach kids how to play basketball, soccer, football, rugby, volleyball, goal ball, softball and various group games. This is a friendly, small group introduction to the sports, on a drop-in basis and it’s a great way for kids to socialize and learn teamwork skills. There are separate programs for 8 month-3 year olds, 2-5 year olds and 6-14 year olds and all programs are free!
43rd Street at 7th Avenue, Sunset Park


Soaking Gunimage

Get ready to get super soaked at this water workout! The annual Squirt Gun Fight takes place Saturday August 13 at the Coney Island Boardwalk. Every year thousands of New Yorkers turn up armed and ready for the massive drench-fest. Bathing suits, towels and maybe even goggles recommended; water-spraying devices essential! This sopping-wet day of free fun starts at 1pm and is suitable for ages 6 and up.
37 Boardwalk West, Coney Island


image (1)Take the Field

Team up with the family for the ultimate day of outdoor excitement! Brooklyn Bridge Park have been running Family Field Days once a month since June, with the grand final taking place Saturday August 20 from 10am. The free Family Field Days are full of good old-fashioned recreational fun for all ages. There’s guaranteed to be something for every member of your team, including Hula-Hoop races, volleyball clinics, soccer drills and bocce. All necessary equipment is provided – just wear sneakers and be prepared to get physical!
334 Furman St (between Adams St and Atlantic Ave), Brooklyn Heights


Kites and Tykesimage (2)
Seize the breeze and take to the skies with Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual Kite Festival. Bring your kite along or purchase one there and teach your tot how to fly it! The event takes place Saturday September 10, after the kids go back to school, so you and the kids have plenty of time to practice kite flying skills and techniques. With the picturesque Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, the colorful flutter-fest is free and suitable for all ages.
334 Furman St, Brooklyn Heights

 

56b39ce479a04Afternoon Adventures
The kids might not be looking forward to going back to school, but they’ll like this type of learning! The Environmental Education Center in Brooklyn Bridge Park is open for free, four afternoons a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year from February until November. From 3-5pm kids will learn about Brooklyn Bridge Park, with a 250-gallon aquarium filled with critters from the East River, a 10’-scale model of Brooklyn Bridge Park, arts and crafts, a reading corner and more.
99 Plymouth, DUMBO

Summer Screensations

Lining up for movie tickets and popcorn then sitting in a super chilly movie theater this Summer? You’re doing it wrong! It is the season to get outside and this year’s outdoor film screenings are already in full swing. Grab a blanket and some buddies, and watch a film under the stars in Brooklyn at the following locations.

 

industry cityScreen it from the Rooftops
Bars, BBQs, restaurants, parties, tanning, watching movies… There are just some things that were made for rooftops! This outdoor summer series is now in its 10th year and has expanded to four (mostly rooftop) locations across Brooklyn on various nights throughout June, July and August. Rooftop Films brings the underground outdoors, and has grown to become known internationally as one of the most dynamic film festivals in the world. In Sunset Park, with Brooklyn’s waterfront as the backdrop, films will be screened from two of Industry City’s amazing rooftops. Enjoy breathtaking views of lower Manhattan’s skyscape, the Statue of Liberty and South Brooklyn while watching a mix of documentaries, short films and animations including Sundance Short Films and documentaries about New York, including Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death by Audio. There is a live music performance at every screening and many host dance parties after the film.
Industry City, 220 36th St, Sunset Park. $15.
Bushwick Generator, 195 Moore St, Bushwick. $15.
MetroTech Commons, 5 MetroTech Center, Downtown. Free.
The Old American Can Factory, 232 Third St at 3rd Ave, Gowanus. $15.

 

Williamsburg Watchingswburg
There’s seeing it on the big screen, then seeing it on the BIG outdoor Brooklyn screen. The borough’s longest running film and music series launched in 2006 with a screening of Do The Right Thing and 11 years later, SummerScreen is still going strong. At McCarren Park in Williamsburg every Wednesday from July 6 to August 10, spectators will be treated to cult classics like 10 Things I Hate About You and The Royal Tenebaums in the open-air, and best of all, it’s free! Bring chairs, blankets and pack a picnic, or take advantage of food and drinks from local vendors. Every show features live music, which kicks off at 6pm, followed by the movie at 8:30pm. McCarren Park, North 12th St, Williamsburg. Free.


movies with viewA View from the Bridge
On a warm summer night, spread your blanket on the luscious grass of Harbor View Lawn in Brooklyn Bridge Park, take in the spectacular sight of the Manhattan skyline and enjoy the breeze off the East River. You’re at Movies With A View. Since 2000, Movies With A View has earned a large and loyal following. One of New York City’s favorite summer film series, the line-up of films promises to wow, entertain, thrill and pull at the heartstrings of movie goers. The screenings take place every Thursday evening in July and August and include classics such as Purple Rain and American Graffiti. For the final screening of the series, the public can vote between The SandlotMilk or La Bamba. The eight-week series expects to draw an average of 7,000 film fans at each screening. The lawn opens at 6pm, with the film beginning at sunset.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, 334 Furman Street, Dumbo. Free.


Habana Good TimeHabana-Outpost

Mexican food and movies have to be two of our favorite things. Habana Outpost read our minds and combined the two. The Fort Greene restaurant projects movies on their outside wall every Sunday from May through to the end of October. Enjoy their award-winning Cuban sandwich, indulge in their bold-tasting Mexican-style corn, and order all the tacos and burritos your heart desires, because the movie is free! Films screen at 8pm and this year’s roster includes West Side StoryFlashdanceRocky,Saturday Night FeverGhostbusters and, for Halloween, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
757 Fulton St, Fort Greene. Free.

Other venues worth checking out include:
Movie Nights at Narrows Botanical Gardens in Bay Ridge
Midweek Movie Escapes in Downtown Brooklyn
Flicks on the Beach in Coney Island
Red Hook Flicks in Red Hook
Bric Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at Prospect Park
NYC Parks Classic Film Series at various Brooklyn locations

Events for Independence Play

The Fourth of July is fast upon us. On Monday we will celebrate the birth of US independence – you could say it was our very own Brookxit! If you’re celebrating in our brilliant borough, here are our recommendations.


brooklyn-bridge-park-fireworks-nycFire Up

For the 40th year, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will light up the sky over the East River. Bigger and better than ever, the annual sky spectacular will wow spectators across downtown Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. From around 9:20pm over 56,000 fireworks will burst forth at a rate of 2,200 per minute. For a good viewing spot you will have to get there early – so pack a picnic and make a day of it. Be prepared to stand or sit on the ground – no chairs or large items are allowed into viewing areas. Brooklyn Bridge Park will be the prime spot, followed by Brooklyn Heights Promenade, or you could head further north to Grand Ferry Park or East River State Park in Williamsburg, or Greenpoint’s WNYC Transmitter Park. Of course if you have any friends with rooftops in the area, now is the time to give them a call! As the highest point in Brooklyn, Sunset Park is also a great option.


Cone ZoneCapture

If battling the crowds to see the fireworks isn’t how you’d like to celebrate freedom then there will be plenty of festive-fun on the boardwalk down south at Coney Island. Ride the roller-coaster, play carnival games, enjoy some fried-fare, go swimming or relax on the beach. The now in its 100th year, the famous Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating Competition will chomp-off at 10am. Will anyone beat Joey Chestnut’s world record of 69 franks and buns in 10 minutes? The Coney Island Fireworks kick-off at 9:30pm and while the pyrotechnics are much more low-key than Macy’s, the beach view more than makes up for it!


parkPark It

Can’t decide who gets your vote for best Independence Day activity? Well our presumptive nominee is Prospect Park! The Prospect Park Alliance has organized a day of free or inexpensive family-friendly activities. Celebrate the holiday with a ride on the Park’s beloved 1912 carousel, from 12-6pm ($2 per ride, $9 for a book of 5 tickets, free with Alliance Family Plus membership). From 1-4pm Lefferts Historic House will celebrate America’s birthday with reproductions of one of the greatest documents ever written, the Declaration of Independence. Make yourself a plumed hat to wear while signing your own “John Hancock” ($3 suggested donation). The Audubon Center will host a free day of nature exploration from 12-4pm with Discovery Packs, bird games and a Citizen Science project.


Cultural CelebrationCapture 2
It is important to remember that when the Declaration of Independence was signed, African-Americans were still slaves. The 45th Annual International African Arts Festival (IAFF) is a great opportunity to celebrate traditional and contemporary expression of various African cultural art forms. The four-day grassroots cultural festival is a fave of local African-American and Caribbean American Brooklynites. From 10am-9pm, Friday to Monday, Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene will be transformed into an outdoor African cultural oasis with a Food Court, music and dance performances, a kids play zone, poetry show and more. What started in 1971 as a small vendor market has grown into an African Marketplace with over a hundred vendors offering one-of-a-kind, handcrafted original designs of merchandise ranging from jewelry, fashion, body products imported African fabric, artifacts, furniture, paintings and more. Entry is by suggested donation ($5).

BicyCOOL Paths in Brooklyn

May is Bike Month in NYC so it’s fitting to feature a few of the best bike paths in the borough, and with the weather finally heating it’s time to get riding!

 

041613_oceanpCarroll to Coney
We have an endless list of cool Brooklyn facts, and we just discovered something to add! Did you know… the United States’ first ever bike path was created in Brooklyn in 1894 – Ocean Parkway! Although some of the Parkway was cleared in the 1970s to make room for the Prospect Expressway, there are still plenty of trees lining this path, which makes it a lovely, scenic ride from Prospect Park to Coney Island, and generally flat and easy-going. Starting in Carroll Gardens, be sure to do a quick tour of the charming historic brownstones, then hit the path from Ocean Parkway and East 8th Street in Kensington, all the way down to Surf Avenue in Coney Island.


River Rideimage

Views of Manhattan, tours through various neighborhoods, a leisurely ride through the park and a speedy ride through the streets – the Brooklyn Greenway is ride up our alley! Obviously we’re not a fan of a PATH unless it’s in Brooklyn, and this one happens to be one of the most impressive in the city, running along the East River from Greenpoint to Red Hook. Take in the views of the city skyline, and breathe in fresh air while cruising through Brooklyn Bridge Park (be aware that the path in the park can get crowded!). The six-mile path runs from Kent Avenue to the northern end of Van Brunt Street, with plans to extend it through Sunset Park to Bay Ridge. 

 

imageBuckle Up
You’re in for quite a ride on the Belt Parkway Bike Path! Starting from Bay Ridge this waterfront path has a spectacular view of the Staten Island, the Verrazano Bridge and the New York harbor. Pedaling along the coast and through Sheepshead Bay, with the open Atlantic Ocean beside you, you’ll eventually reach Flatbush Avenue. Here you can take a right and continue over the Marine Parkway Bridge, then turn left and head to Rockaway Beach. This is a smooth ride, several miles long with sensational views.


Bridge and Borough Biking91012pulaski

Pulaski and you shall receive! About a month ago the new, improved and much-anticipated Pulaski Bridge Bike Path officially opened, taking cyclists on a safe, scenic tour through three boroughs. Starting in Long Island City, the two-lane, protected bike lane, travels across the bridge, into North Brooklyn. Cycling through commercial Manhattan Avenue then residential Noble Street, you take Kent Avenue down to the Williamsburg Bridge, and then across into the Lower East Side. With stellar views of the Manhattan skyline and a solid workout guaranteed – it is highly bikely you’ll enjoy this one!