Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wallabout Update: Affordable Housing Coming to Brig Site

Remember the "Brig"? Know where the Wallabout section of Brooklyn is? Sure you do. The Brig is the old Naval prison across Flushing Avenue from the Brooklyn Navy Yard that was visible from the BQE until it was demolished last year. It was located on a square block bounded by Flushing Avenue to the north, Park Avenue to the south, Clermont Avenue to the east and Vanderbilt Avenue to the west. Wallabout is the name for the Navy Yard area and part of Fort Greene. (In case you still can't picture it, the handy map, showing the parcel with the prison still standing is below.)

In any case, the city is now requesting proposals for development on the site, which would include 400 new housing units, about two-thirds of which would be affordable housing. There would also be commercial space on the site.

The winning bidder will get the site for $1.

If you've never much thought about Wallabout, which is named after the East River's Wallabout Bay, around which the Navy Yard developed, it has a pretty awful history. The bay was where British prison ships were moored during the American Revolutionary War, from about 1776-1783. More "than 10,000 soldiers and sailors died due to deliberate neglect on these rotting hulks," according a Wikipedia entry, which was more American soldiers than were killed in every Revolutionary War battle combined. It continues:
Though the corpses were buried on the eroding shore in shallow graves, or often just thrown overboard, local women collected remains when they became exposed or washed onshore. The nearby Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park houses remains of the prisoners and overlooks the site of their torment and death.
The bay's name means "bay of the Walloons," referring to the French-speaking settlers of the area from the southern part of Belgium.

(The photo of the cleared site, above comes from Angela on flickr.)

The Brig 500


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