An ornamental pond was constructed as a reflecting pool for a glass conservatory, but when the plan for a structure was abandoned, the water body became the popular model boat pond, inspired by those in Parisian parks.
From April through October, children and boat enthusiasts come to navigate radio and wind-powered vessels across the shimmering waters. It’s such a popular destination that writer E.B. White set the whimsical boat scene in his children’s classic, Stuart Little, here. It was recreated in the 1999 film of the same name. Just east of the pond, visitors can rent a model boat or eat at the outdoor tables of the Kerbs Memorial Boathouse. Conservatory Water provides a serene background for a host of other activities. In the coldest winter months, the pond’s water level is frequently lowered for free public ice skating. (Via)
The Obelisk was built 3,500 years ago in Egypt, in honor of Pharaoh Thutmose III. Located on the east side of Central Park near 81st Street, it is the oldest outdoor monument in New York City.
Calvert Vaux, co-designer of Central Park, created the miniature castle in 1869 as one of its many whimsical structures intended as a lookout to the reservoir to the north (now the Great Lawn) and the Ramble to the south. Belvedere provides the best and highest views of the Park and its cityscape. It’s fitting, considering its name translates to “beautiful view” in Italian.
"Right now, the temperature in Central Park is…" Since 1919, the National Weather Service has taken measurements onf New York’s weather from the castle’s tower with the aid of scientific instruments that measure wind speed and direction. In a fenced-in compound just south of the castle, other data such as the rainfall is recorded and sent to the weather service’s forecast office at Brookhaven National Library on Long Island. After decades of deterioration, Central Park Conservancy renovated and reopened the castle in 1983 as a visitor center. (Via)
All that is left of the glass skylight ceiling is the frame, but what remains is an open air courtyard. You can see the crane that was used to unload supplies, which used to move back and forth along the length of the building. is still there.
A portion of the tracks remain as well, although now cut off from the outside. A train is seen in the last photograph but is not original to the time when the depot was in use by the military. It’s actually an old Long Island Railroad dining car that was brought into the atrium during the renovation of the building. The original intention was for it to be turned into a restaurant for the new businesses that were moving into the building but the vendor pulled out before it opened and AFTER the tracks had been cut off from the outside, so the car still remains. There is still hope that the train may be converted to a restaurant in the future by it’s current food vendor, “Pete’s Place”, which is now located in the lobby.
There are over 70 tenants that currently call Brooklyn Army Terminal their home, such as:
- Chocolatier Jacques Torres
- Lee Spring
- Urban Green
- Marc Joseph New York
- Uncommon Goods
The Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History and the NYC Mayors Office all have space there as well, just to name a few. A complete directory can be found here.
The staggered platforms (balconies) seen on either side of the building allowed for cranes to pick up or deliver items from various levels without interference from the floor above. There were also movable bridges that spanned the individual tracks which could be relocated anywhere they were needed, which provided greater loading & unloading flexibility.
During World War II, the Brooklyn Army Terminal was used as a Point of Embarkation for outgoing troops as well.
Brooklyn Army Terminal was most heavily trafficked during WWII, during which 56,000 military and civilian personnel were employed there. Over three million troops and 37 million tons of military supplies passed through the facility.
The most famous soldier to deploy from Brooklyn Army Terminal was Elvis Presley. He greeted fans and a dozens of photojournalists in September of 1958 when he shipped off from Brooklyn to Germany.
Many of the loading docks in Building B are divided up by region. The trains would pull into the terminal and unload their cargo to the designated area which would then be shipped overseas.
The military decommissioned Brooklyn Army Terminal in 1966, and it had sat idle since 1975, when the few remaining federal government tenants left. The City of New York bought the property in 1981, but two years later, it still lay empty and unused until in 1983 Carol Waag (an artist and graphic designer for the New York City Public Development Corporation (which has since evolved into the New York City Economic Development Corporation, who now manages the site) organized an art show to be held inside the terminal called “Terminal New York”. Once Waag floated the idea of the show, the PDC quickly agreed, considering it a perfect way to showcase a space they hoped to renovate and redevelop as new industrial space.
“Terminal New York” centered around the eight-story atrium inside Building B of the complex, a space previously used to move army supplies from trains that ran through the building into the massive warehouses. Art hung from the balconies, on the walls, and spread throughout the ground floor of the space. Taking inspiration from its past uses, war (and Cold War-era paranoia) themes were present in much of the artwork
The last image shows remnants of that very 1983 art show. A piece of graffiti – “Art Guerra” – remains on a column on the southeastern side of the atrium, largely unnoticed alongside the similarly fading Army-era signage it was likely meant to critique.
You can read more about that art show here.
The complex was also known as the U.S. Army Military Ocean Terminal and the Brooklyn Army Base, as part of the New York Port of Embarkation. It was designed by Cass Gilbert and completed in September 1919. It was the largest military supply base in the United States through World War II. By the time the base was closed in the 1970s, over 3 million soldiers and 37 million tons of military supplies had passed through the terminal. The 95 acre complex had its own railroad line, police and fire departments. When built, it was the world’s largest concrete building. (Via)
The Brooklyn Army Terminal is a large complex of warehouses, offices, piers, docks, cranes, rail sidings and cargo loading equipment on 95 acres between 58th and 63rd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York. It was the largest military supply base in the United States through World War II. (Via)