National Guard Gives Up on Another Brooklyn Navy Yard Building

04/25/2011 3:46 PM |

The Flushing Avenue-facing side of Admirals Rows Building B.
  • The Flushing Avenue-facing side of Admiral’s Row’s Building B.

While the National Guard has been steadily lowering expectations that it might actually fulfill its promise to fortify and preserve the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Timber Shed, the only Admiral’s Row building it planned to restore has also fallen into an irreparable state.

According to the Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Patch, a National Guard letter sent to local politicians last Thursday states that so-called Building B (a former officer’s home) is now too damaged to preserve.

Building Bs formerly stately interior.
  • Building B’s formerly stately interior.

A Municipal Arts Society report on the Admiral’s Row preservation campaign (PDF) says of Building B:

Its design is attributed to architect Thomas U. Walter. It appears to have been built before 1859 and is one of the oldest of the quarters in Admiral’s Row. It does not appear to match one of the buildings in the 1859 view though; possibly indicating that it was significantly altered soon after or about 1859. This quarters is the largest single residence in Admiral’s Row and the one with the highest level of detailing.

Which, presumably, explains why if any of the former officers’ homes merits preservation it should be the largest and most grand, but the National Guard letter says otherwise. Much like the decision to not repair the Timber Shed before transferring the property to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Building B’s partial collapse seems to have sealed its fate (though the Navy Yard says it can repair both). In the letter, Colonel Clark Presnell writes, “Part of the north wall of Building B has collapsed. The mortar that holds the wall together has completely dissolved, rendering the entire wall unstable.”

So, when will the absurdly long bureaucratic process of transferring the property from the useless National Guard to the preservation-minded Navy Yard be complete? Maybe by the middle of the year.

(Brownstoner; photos; Municipal Arts Society)