Thursday, April 16, 2015

Houses of Admiral's Row - Brooklyn Navy Yard

Aerial photo of Admiral's Row
Google Aerial of SW Corner of Brooklyn Navy Yard at Flushing and Navy

Brooklyn Navy Yard Houses - Quarters B
Quarters B
Brooklyn Navy Yard Houses - Quarters D
Quarters D
Brooklyn Navy Yard Houses - Quarters E, F and G
Quarters E, F & G
Brooklyn Navy Yard Houses - Quarters H and C
Quarters H & C
Brooklyn Navy Yard Houses - Quarters I
Quarters I
Brooklyn Navy Yard Houses - Quarters K and L
Quarters K & L
Known as Admiral’s Row, the collapsing houses along Flushing Avenue in the Brooklyn Navy Yard once housed high-ranking naval officials and their families.[1] The homes were built between 1864 and 1907 and include elements from various architectural styles that were fashionable in the 19th century.[2] Although various styles were incorporated in the design of the quarters, elements of the Second Empire style are the most dominant.

The Navy Yard closed in 1966; however, the residences along Admiral’s Row remained occupied by national guardsmen until the 1970’s. Once the houses were abandoned the copper pipes were looted, homeless sometimes squatted in the buildings and feral dogs roamed the site.[3] After the redevelopment of the Navy Yard began, the homeless and feral dogs were evicted and the site was secured. However, since the 70’s neglect of Admiral's Row has been constant and nature continues to ravage the structures.

Preservationists from Fort Greene and Pratt have lobbied for the restoration of Admiral’s Row while the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, who owns the site, has tried unsuccessfully to have a shopping center built where the houses currently sit.[4] Although, according to Curbed another request for proposal (RFP) to develop the site into a grocery store was issued last July.[5] Included in the RFP is the requirement that one of the houses and a nearby woodshed be restored while the rest of the former residences are to be razed.[6] The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation has done an admirable job promoting the preservation of other structures within the yard but when developers propose demolishing historic, albeit dilapidated houses to build a placeless “suburban shopping center” it’s no wonder that they are at odds with preservationists.

The Video above, from Vimeo user 2e, shows the interior of the houses along Admiral's Row

  1. White, Norval, Willensky, Elliot, and Leadon, Fran AIA Guide to New York. Oxford University Press, 2010
  2. A Short History of the New York Navy Yard Acme Book Binding, 23 February, 1941
  3. Bleyer, Jennifer "Hopes Fade for Aging Beauties of Admiral's Row" New York Times (print) 21 August, 2005
  4. Crawford, Amy "Prat Professors Seek To Reconcile Competing Plans for 'Admirals Row'" Brooklyn Daily Eagle 4 March, 2008
  5. "Plan to Redevelop Admirals Row Lives" Curbed July 2014
  6. Geiger, Daniel "Brooklyn Navy Yard's Admiral's Row Back in Play" Crain's 7, July 2014


  1. Very cool! Will you keep us posted on how things play out with restoration or demolition on these?

  2. Hmmm, not sure my comment went through...will try again.

    Thank you for this site. I am very sad to see that the preservationists appear to have lost this landmark. IN 1965, I was friends with a boy who's father was Commandant of the Eastern Sea Frontier and lived in Quarters A, just north of Admirals' Row. We "played" throughout the Yard in the few months we were friends. Steven's father retired that summer and they moved to Florida. Steve also was friends with some of the children who lived in the Admirals' Row houses. As I recall, there as a small parade ground where your entered the Yard through the Sands Street Gate. It was quite pretty and when you were there it was hard to believe you were just a few feet from the surrounding ugliness. thanks again.

    1. Hi John, Thank you for sharing your experience in the Navy Yard. It is always nice to get a perspective on a locations past from someone who was there.

  3. Great stuff, thanks for sharing!!