New York City is filled with repurposed industrial facilities that have been transformed to mixed use or strictly residential spaces to great effect, but a commentary piece at NYMag.com argues that the key behind the renaissance of the Brooklyn Navy Yard is an adherence to its industrial past, as a place where things are made by people who live and work in Brooklyn and greater New York.
At the Brooklyn Navy Yard, though, industrial buildings are being rejuvenated so that people can do what they always did there: make things...Products made in Brooklyn are adorning homes, protecting soldiers, illuminating streets, and sweetening coffee. Pee into a vial at the doctor's office, and your urine may get sent here for testing. Spend a weekend morning at MoMA, meet friends for brunch, take a nap on your custom couch, turn on the air conditioner, order a gift online, wrap up the evening peering at the sets on Saturday Night Live, and it's possible that every comfortable and leisurely minute of your day will involve a company located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The 6,000 jobs currently located at the Navy Yard are just a fraction of the 70,000 that were once part of Brooklyn's military-industrial waterfront, but the burgeoning economic zone is focused on green technology and being part of a greenhouse environment where environmentally sustainable industrial practices are employed to make the world a safer place in a different sort of way. Today's Navy Yard is less a place of mass production, than a boutique industrial area that commands a premium for the creative energy that is drawn towards and from it. The Navy Yard is not a place that flips its industrial legacy off a short springboard into nostalgic urban decor, but vaults a part of the city into a new economic age where industrial infrastructure is used to multiply the potential of the city's creative energy.
· Justin Davidson: Preserving the Brooklyn Navy Yard Isn't Just About Restoring the Buildings [NYMag]
· Brooklyn Navy Yard coverage [Curbed]