Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sands Street Gatehouses - Brooklyn Navy Yard

Postcard of the Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street Gatehouses
Historic Postcard of Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street Gatehouses
(circa 1905)
Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street Gatehouses prior to restoration work
Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street Entrance Prior to Restoration
(photo: courtesy of The RBA Group)
Photo of Current Condition of Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street Gatehouses
Current Photo of Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street Gatehouses
The Brooklyn Navy Yard's medieval style Sands Street Gatehouses were built in 1896. There is not an architect of record for the gatehouses but they were likely designed in-house by one of the Navy's shop architects. The original, large four story design published in 1893 was hailed as "one of the handsomest buildings of its type in the country" by the New York Herald but shunned by the architectural establishment which mocked the design and the Navy's shop architects.[1] However, the design critique become irrelevant when the construction budget was slashed from $50,000 to $20,000 and the building was reduced in scale to the existing miniature brick and marble fortress.[1][2]
Photo of Sands Street Gatehouses with view into the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sand Street Gatehouses
Sometime after the completion of the gatehouses they were enlarged with second and third floor additions and the turrets were "beheaded". However, in 2013 the portion of the Sands Street Gatehouses that front Navy Street were restored to their original state as part of the larger Brooklyn Navy Yard renovation.[1][2] To date the Navy Yard renovations have included solar lighting, permeable pavement parking lots, new storm sewers, bio-swales, street repaving, bike lanes and historic building restoration.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street gatehouses are located on the western side of the yard in Vinegar Hill. Similar to the neighborhood around the Navy Yard's main entrance, the area was once the site of tattoo parlors, taverns and other establishments of ill repute. The areas sordid reputation led to the prohibition of Navy personnel from patronizing the area.[1] Today, the land adjacent to the Sands Street entrance is dominated by Farragut Housing projects.
Tow Pound Sign in front of Sands Street Gatehouses
Brooklyn Navy Yard Tow Pound Sign
N.Y.P.D. Tow Truck leaving the pound from their Sands Street entrance.
NYPD Tow Truck
If you are a car owner and you have seen the Brooklyn Navy Yard's Sands Street Gatehouses it was probably on a not so great day for you. The first time I laid eyes on the castle like structures I was there to get my car out of the Brooklyn NYPD Car Pound. $200+ dollars and a $110 ticket later my car was free and I was in a bad mood. Regardless of the reason, if you find yourself in the neighborhood, I recommend a visit to the Commandant's Housea Federalist style mansion that "outshines Gracie Mansion". It is a stunning site, especially given its location. To get there, follow Navy Street north until shortly after it turns into Hudson Avenue and turn right onto Evans Street. You will find the residence at the end of Evans Street.

  1. Gray, Christopher "Got Drunken Sailors? Reroute Them" New York Times. online. 22 November, 2012
  2. Cate "Navy Yard's Sand Street Entrance Almost Done" Brownstoner. online. 11 June, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment