Category Archives: brooklyn

Inside the Brooklyn Army Terminal

This past weekend I got the chance to go inside the monolithic Brooklyn Army Terminal in the Sunset Park industrial area. It was open as part of chashama’s open studios for GO Brooklyn (you can read about my experience with that on Hyperallergic), and although I had never been inside before, I had definitely read about it and seen beautiful photos of the space online. I also had researched its history as part of a piece on the South Brooklyn industrial waterfront for Brooklyn Based.

While it now has artist studios and offices in its complex, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, completed in 1919, is one of many warehouse areas that were built up during the two world wars of the 20th century. It was decommissioned in 1960 and the area has quieted down a lot, but there are still reminders of the past. Walking into the interior atrium of the Brooklyn Army Terminal’s Building B is transporting, taking you suddenly into a past when supplies for across the oceans would have been loaded by a massive crane onto trains on the two tracks below, then transported out to waiting ships that departed the harbor.

Here you can see the old crane. The squares on the sides are the old loading docks jutting out from each floor. It reminds me of some sort of futuristic movie I can’t quite place… anyone? Or maybe just a Corbusier dream?

Here’s another angle up at the loading docks. You can see that the windows can open up on each floor, and the atrium above has actually long lost its glass and is open to the air. Although it wasn’t part of the original design, the walkway in the center between the tracks is covered now to protect from the elements.

I would love to come back during different seasons, or during a storm. It’s hard to see just how large the building is in these photos, but it’s sort of like a cathedral of industry. During World War II, the Brooklyn Army Terminal shipped out around 85% of the supplies and troops and personnel, meaning that some 38 million tons of equipment, and an astounding 3 million people left from the Brooklyn Army Terminal complex, which has 11 buildings including Building B.

Along the overgrown old tracks in the atrium are signs left over from when it was a military shipping center. You can see “Korea” scrawled above.

Here’s India.

Here’s Portugal and Azores. The supplies would be been lined up at each sign for each place.

Here is Africa and the “odd countries.”

And the Balkans.

Inside the floors is a little less time travel-y, but still good for some stark industrial photos.

I’ll end with some exterior views of the complex and the pier that goes out into the New York Harbor:

The Brooklyn Army Terminal is open whenever chashama is doing open studios, so stop by sometime! The artists are wonderful and the atrium is something everyone should see if they have the chance.

Sigur Rós in Prospect Park

Summer is winding down in NYC, and I’m thinking back on some of the wonderful outdoor concerts I’ve seen this year. The best would have to be Sigur Rós in Prospect Park. The ethereal, soaring music of the Icelandic band driven by Jónsi’s entrancing falsetto as he slashed away at his guitar with a cello bow was perfect for a mild summer evening in Brooklyn. They played against three screens of dreamy video on which the shadows of the band rose into towering shapes. This was the first time for Sigur Rós to be on tour in about four years, and they played an incredible two-hour set that mesmerized the  massive crowd, with many people sprawled in the grass outside the bandshell. You can listen to the whole performance through NPR, and here are some videos taken by some fellow concert goers to convey some of the beautiful concert:

Surprise Concert at Glasslands: The Antlers

So many of my “I’m just going to go home and answer my week old emails and open month old mail” evenings get thwarted, because there is always some temptation in New York, and this Monday it was a surprise “secret” concert with one of my favorite bands, the Antlers, at Glasslands in Brooklyn. The concert was announced in the morning and sold out in minutes. They’ve reached such a level where they are playing much bigger venues, so seeing them at tiny Glasslands was impossible to pass up.

It was a little sweltering in the space, and of course crowded, but it was an incredible show that worked through their newest material, their 2012 album Undersea, back to Burst Apart and Hospice. It all flowed beautifully together, led by singer Peter Silberman’s forlorn falsetto over the ethereal and lush sounds from the wonderful band. Tim Mislock on guitar was especially impressive (I’m not sure if I’d seen him play with the Antlers before) and even took a walk into the ground, with the photographers for various music blogs trampling through the crowd after. The Antlers ended their set with the powerful “Wake,” that concludes with the earnest chorus that somehow gets me every time: “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you deserve that.” You can listen for yourself, because the prolific NYC Taper recorded the whole thing!

Or here, just watch it, courtesy a steady handed audience member. Enjoy the cloud-like Glasslands art installation above the stage:

And, why not, here is “No Widows,” which you may remember was my favorite song of 2011:

And we’ll end with their popular hospital-set heartbreaker “Two”: