3. Brooklyn Army Terminal
Also located in Sunset Park, the BKLYN Army Terminal was initiated by the federal government in March of 1918 and served as the largest military depot and supply base in the United States during WWII. Formerly known as “US Army Military Ocean Terminal”, BKLYN Army Terminal’s utilitarian design was headed by Cass Gilbert, whose impressive Beaux Arts Woolworth Building readers can tour with Untapped Cities.
Starkly different from Gilbert’s renowned Beaux Arts and Gothic buildings, the girder-less, steel reinforced concrete slab structure with 96 centrally controlled push-button elevators, was recognized globally as a major architectural feat. For security reasons, the entire complex is interconnected, with grand architectural elements such as three bridges on the third floor which link the two main buildings. One of the building’s most famous visitors must be Elvis Presley, who hosted a press conference before he was shipped out for Germany in 1958.
The city acquired the property in 1981, and subsequently the New York Economic Development Corporation invested more than $185 million to redevelop the waterfront site into a modern and sophisticated industrial. Today, the BKLYN Army Terminal which stretches several city blocks offers a variety of commercial and light industrial spaces where artists, designers, scientists, researchers and even chocolatiers converge. Its shuttle system not only connects tenants from the site to nearby transit stations, but also within the site to on-site amenities. These include restaurants, banking and even childcare services.
If the massive buildings are what strikes you from the outside, the interior atrium of Building B will blow your mind. This eight-story atrium spans the length of three football fields, and light floods inside the interior courtyard through a remarkable pitched glass roof. Freight cars used to pull up directly into this space where they unload goods onto the loading docks on each level with a five ton moveable crane. Although loading actions are no longer active ,these staggered loading platforms are now converted to balconies and planters, and looking up the atrium is timelessly impressive.