The Admiral’s Row, located west of Fort Greene in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, is a line of 10 vacant mansions that may be awaiting difficult fates.
The once stately mansions, however, sit on a six-acre property that could be an asset to the United States National Guard, the owner of the estate. Last Spring, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, which oversees the entire Navy Yard including the Admiral’s Row, issued a request for proposals. Submissions ranged from condominiums to retail spaces, but the most favored submission was a supermarket, which would in turn, demolish the mansions.
“If the city don’t take those buildings down, the vines will,” said Vera Hernandez, a resident of 202 Front Street. “We need fresh fruit for the growing kids in this neighborhood.”
The mansions are noticeably unkempt, but that does not stop others from fighting for their preservation. The Municipal Arts Society, a non-profit “membership organization that fights for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation through education, dialogue and advocacy,” strongly disagrees with the National Guard and BDNYC for not trying to preserve the historic space.
“The neighborhood has seen the buildings as a blight,” said Melissa Baldock, a Kress Fellow for Historic Preservation and Public Policy at MAS. “But these are sites that are historic to New York City and I think there is a solution to this problem of produce versus preservation.”
In July, MAS proposed several solutions, which have space allotted for a grocery store and a parking lot while preserving the 10 buildings.
Yet there is another outstanding issue—the local businesses that run along Front Street. “If the city opens up a supermarket, they’re shutting me down,” said Reuben Jimenez, the owner of Dothlomia Deli on Front Street. “What are they going to do about us little guys?”
To learn more about the Municipal Arts Society and their plans, visit: