Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Red Hook Graving Dock Future: Ikea Parking Lot?

As we noted in an update on Ikea's Red Hook demolition progress over at Curbed on Monday, people are still hoping to save the Graving Dock on the Todd Shipyard property where the Swedish retailer intends to build its big blue box on New York Harbor. (The Graving Dock is a huge dry dock where ships are repaired.) Our own look at the Ikea property on Saturday reminded us that the dock is about the only thing left to save, as demolition is so advanced that the only things left on the site are a small portion of the red brick powerhouse on Beard Street and three cranes. The rest of the site--via a feverish demolition effort--has been reduced to emptiness and hills of crushed rubble.

Last week, when we were talking with the Kenter Gallery's Florence Neal, she noted a brainstorming session on saving the Graving Dock would take place Thursday from 6-8 PM at the Waterfront Museum Barge. (It is located next to the Waterfront Museum Barge, which is located next to the Red Hook Fairway.) The meeting is sponsored by the Save the Graving Dock Committee.

The dock needs all the help it can get, as Ikea is planning to fill it in for parking. Brooklyn Ramblings writes that "Graving dock advocates, however, point out that the number of such facilities in the New York area is declining rapidly, thus putting the shipping industry at a hardship." Several proposals have been floated to keep the graving dock in operation, but Ikea has turned them down. Brooklyn Ramblings also offers a letter from State Comptroller William Thompson to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Daniel Doctoroff that urges preservation of the Graving Dock. (The Preservation League of New York has named the Graving Dock as one of the most endangered historic structures in New York State and put it on its list of "Seven to Save.")

Watch an excellent BCAT segment on the Graving Dock and the Waterfront Museum barge by clicking this link.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is everyone so concerned about the graving dock when there are wetlands there that would add much more to the long term health of Brooklyn?

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you get so involved with some piece of metal just because it's old? How would it be useful to society if it was saved? If they kept it, you'd be complaining about how Ikea customers are parking on the side streets because there's not enough parking at the store.

Also, if Bruce Ratner decided today that he wanted to build a graving dock, you know you'd be up in arms opposing him.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the first poster, perhaps I should enhance my comment.

I am a big fan of maritime and industrial infrastructure and will miss the old Beard Street buildings and the vacant lots I could get into (before bloggers started giving those spots away as if they were the only ones to know about them -- and the holes got blocked off).

I hope the preservationists and those bloggers that have been covering this area realize that the reeds and water birds, that you think are so charming amidst the graffiti and decaying infrastructure, are actually indications of the re-emerging wetlands that should be considered when dealing with the Ikea plan.

Save the birds and save the runoff from those new paved surfaces.

There is much more to the story of the Red Hook waterfront, yet so many resources and energy are now directed toward the saving of the graving dock. I question this approach at attracting public participation in the planning of this corner of Brooklyn.

Although I disagree with the previous poster's general attitude, they do have a point--

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The graving dock employs around 60 people; NYC DEP boats' maintenance expense has gone up 25 percent since the dock closed; it's an incredible structure (sneak in sometime and take a look!); NYC is losing industrial jobs at an alarming rate.
Look, it's not a choice betweeen wetlands and a graving dock--it's a fucking PARKING LOT! Ain't no wild fowl gonna be living there, man. And it's New York Harbor, with a HUGE maritime history that Bloomberg is letting get swept away by A BOX STORE!
So cool, you want wetlands--so do I. But you have to be intelligent about it, and you have to provide for middle-class workers at the same time.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know about the jobs and the history. And I am upset that cruise ships have taken over Red Hook.

Really, is the tone called for? It is because I am aware of the importance of preserving NYC's maritime industry that I question this concentration on the graving dock when the rest of the waterfront is changing before our eyes. It makes those who want to save the dock look like they have blinders on to what is happening in Red Hook and does not interest most of the community.

I am not much of an environmental activist, I just think there should be a balance of uses along the waterfront there appears to be less and less flood mitigation and runoff prevention on the waterfront of Brooklyn as new residents and businesses move there.

Exactly, be intelligent about it. If you want support, stop swearing, start lobbying the people in the Red Hook Houses who make up most of the Red Hook community.

I am a big fan of the word Fuckin' but jeez.

1:08 PM  
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