NY TIMES | Our Move into the Brooklyn Navy Yards

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Presidential Debate Stage in Brooklyn Reflects Changing Economy

By Patrick McGeehan

When Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders take the stage in Brooklyn on Thursday for their ninth Democratic presidential primary debate, they will stand amid a shining example of how the American economy has been reshaped in their lifetimes.

The site, the Duggal Greenhouse, once thrummed with workers assembling components for the most sophisticated warships in the world. Now, it is a clean, well-lighted space rented out to investment banks and pop stars. Beyoncé and Madonna have rehearsed there.

From a distance, that evolution may seem like another attempt to put lipstick on a fading industrial legacy. But upon closer inspection, the Greenhouse is part of a concerted effort by New York City officials and a collection of entrepreneurs to revive a historic hub of American enterprise: the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The 215-year-old Navy Yard was the birthplace of some of the nation’s most celebrated and ill-fated military ships, including the U.S.S. Missouri and the U.S.S. Arizona. At its peak, during World War II, it employed about 70,000 people.

Today, only about 7,000 people work at the city-owned Navy Yard. But officials say that number could increase to 17,000 in four years, with the help of growing companies like Russ & Daughters and Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers.

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