New Yorkers have the chance to check out some of the city's cultural and architectural jewels at this weekend's 10th annual Open House New York and many got a rare look Saturday at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
The Brooklyn Army Terminal is a hidden architectural gem that most New Yorkers only see from the road. But many are getting a rare inside look as part of this year's Open House New York.
The terminal was a military depot and supply base during World War II. It was commissioned for World War I but the war ended before its completion.
"The structure is incredible," said one visitor. "The build of it is so solid and you can really see how funds were used and the manpower."
"I think it's interesting considering that we don't build things this big anymore," said another. "It's quite impressive."
The massive five-million-square-foot complex was built in just 17 months. Millions of soldiers passed through here, including a famous one who was drafted. Elvis Presley's picture hangs near the atrium, where cranes moved supplies between trains and vehicles that would drive onto balconies. The terminal is one of hundreds of iconic and interesting locations open to the public this weekend.
"It's normally closed to the public so we really wanted to have an opportunity to for folks to see this extraordinary building and understand how it has been repurposed," said Ellen Ryan with Open House New York.
The terminal remained active through the early 1970s. In 1981, the city purchased the facility, which is now home to 90 manufacturing businesses.
"Since the '80s, the city has undertaken a number of renovations of the interior of the building to make it suitable for modern tenants and industrial users," said Kyle Sklerov, an assistant vice president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
"It's really to the credit of the city that they have utilized this space that was really vitally necessary during the war time years here," said one visitor. "So it's really impressive."
For more information, go to ohny.org or historichousetrust.org.