Brooklyn Army Terminal

Brooklyn Army Terminal: A Historical Landmark and Modern Industrial Park

Brooklyn Army Terminal, also called BAT, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is not a place that made it to any of my must do lists. If anything, it was not a place I had even heard of till I signed up to voluneer at Fabscrap, and even then I kept confusing it with Brooklyn Navy Terminal which I am familiar with. I am astounded that I was not aware of its significance as a historical landmark, and the industrial park that it has become.

Getting to Brooklyn Army Terminal

I looked at various options to get to BAT, including a ferry from Wall Street, but getting there by subway seemed the most convenient from where Midtown Manhattan. Google Maps said it was a 14 minute walk from the N and R subway train stop at 59th Street and 4th Avenue. On getting there, I quickly realized it would take far longer to navigate my way around this massive facility, especially since Google Maps navigated me to the 63rd Street entrance which was locked, and had to make my way to the other end which was 5 blocks away on 58th Street. Here is what I saw as a first impression from both sides of the terminal.

Buildings in the BAT Complex

When I finally made my way inside the gate on 58th Street, I saw that the complex was made up of many other buildings that were behind the massive one I could see from 2nd Ave. To the right were these very pretty arches, which on going closer I realized were a footbridge coming in from the ferry terminal on the other side.

The main complex also had a Building A and a Building B, with massive loading docks in between, railroad tracks and all. There were cars going up and down on this road, so it doesn’t look like the railroad tracks are actually being used.

Building B

I had to go in to Building B, which had what seemed like a regular entrance, and then I had to walk through a courtyard to come upon this stunning atrium above an amazingly interesting structure, train tracks, train and all!

The train seemed to be decorative as it was all locked up, and the train tracks had an art installation as I descrive below. The structures on the side all had staggered balconies in what seemed to be warehouses, or office space, or a combination of both, and given this was a Saturday I could not tell just how many of these were actually inhabited. For the most part I was the only person inside this space till I got to the Fabscrap facility.

There was also what seemed to be the remnants of an art exhibit, or a valiant attempt at one that was now falling apart, on the train tracks.

There were also partial names of places on some of the walls on the sides, such as what i am assuming is Portugal and Balkans in the pictures below.

History of Brooklyn Army Terminal

So, with my curiousity sufficiently piqued, I had to figure out what Brooklyn Army Terminal was all about as I have never seen a complex like this. I learned that BAT was built in 1918, and served as the largest military base for the US during World War II. These were actually among the world’s largest concrete structures when they were built, which is easy to see. It has undergone muliple iterations, uses and ownership changes over the years, including a military prison and as storage for alcohol during the prohibition. It was acquired by New York City in 1981, and in 1983, Brooklyn Army Terminal was listed on listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today BAT has been repurposed into a modern industrial park, providing over 4 million square feet of commercial space for businesses within its 97 acre footprint, which include notable tenants like American Museum of Natural History (the place sure is big enough to store a dinosaur or two!), Guggenheim Museum,, Fabscrap that I was visiting, etc.

I am amazed that I had not heard about Brooklyn Army Terminal, especially given its importance as a historic and modern landmark that has played a vital role in both the military history of the United States and as an industrial hub within New York. Learn something new every day!


Hanit GyaniAuthor posts

Avatar for Hanit Gyani

Hi, I'm Hanit Gyani. I am a full time professional by day, and a blogger by night and weekend. Welcome to my blog, aka my passion project, Gotta Love New York.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *