Another jewel has been added to the cultural crown of Kings County; Brooklyn, New York. The Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92 had its opening ceremony on Thursday, November 10, 2011 and its opening day on Friday, November 11, 2011. After more than 200 years, the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard (BNY) has opened its gates to the general public. Opening the BNY on Veterans Day seems a fitting tribute to the men and women who have served our nation.
BLDG 92 will function as a visitors center, museum and so much more. The original exhibition is entitled The Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past Present and Future. That title succinctly conveys the themes of the exhibition and the mission of The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (the not for profit corporation that manages the yard on behalf of the City of New York). The aim is to preserve and celebrate the rich industrial past of Wallabout Bay and the Naval Yard; to bring attention to the success of this model of sustainable urban industry and innovation, and finally and most importantly, to provide employment and training opportunities by facilitating connections between the employers in the Navy Yard and job seekers in the local community.
I must disclose that I am celebrating this opening as an employee of the museum and as a proud Brooklynite. I believe this is a worthy endeavor that will have a positive impact on the local economy and the quality of life within the community.
The institution is housed in what once was the US Marine Corps Commandant’s Residence; with a modern extension added. The building earned the Platinum standard, the highest designation of the U.S. Green Council. The renovation of the Commandant’s Residence is a model of adaptive reuse.
Inside BLDG 92 the history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard; New York and the United States unfolds through the personal stories of former and current workers. Audio and video presentations; hands-on activities and many artifacts merge to engage visitors of all ages.
Our first visitors came from around the corner and across the country. Workers, who walked out those gates 30 or 40 years ago, came in with their children and their grandchildren. Many had lips shaped into smiles and others had eyes filled with tears. People, who have lived in the shadows of the walled campus for years, finally got the chance to see what was hidden behind the high walls. It was amazing. This was not a dusty, museum experience. This was a family reunion. I’m so glad I was invited.
P.S. Do checkout the related article link to see spectacular architectural photographs of the building.