Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Third & 23rd

Last week the Brooklyn Historical Society blog posted a picture of the Tebo Yacht Basin, off Third & 23rd Street, described by the Brooklyn Eagle as “a Brooklyn hospital for disabled vessels and a famous wintering place for the aristocracy of the sea.” The Tebo Basin, in operation in the nineteenth century, was taken over by Todd Shipyards around 1916, and in addition to its luxury yacht business, was contracted to repair Navy vessels.  Tebo Yacht Basin had its own football (soccer) club, from 1918 to 1921, at which point it was merged with the Brooklyn Robins Dry Dock club to become Todd's Shipyards F.C. A 1928 aerial view shows the basin teeming with vessels, and the ghostly spectre of the Williamsburg bank building (almost completed?), a giant in the low-lying Brooklyn lansdscape. An undated Library of Congress shot shows the basin from a pier's end view:

The basin is considerably quieter today. I walked down to the water (carwash on one side, cement works & NYPA gas turbine facility the other), through an open chainlink fence, past an empty checkpoint booth and a number of security signs. I stood, under blue September skies, gazing at the grand ruins of the Grain Terminal across the bay.  Later a middle-aged couple appeared and we chatted. They were recent Greenwood transplants from Manhattan, having decamped from the Village, after a longer time in the C/D East Village of the 70s/80s. Nice people, and the meeting seemed one more sign of the odd mosaic of neighborhood change.  But too fine a day to go down that road for long.  Enjoy the moment!  The air seemed fresh and clear (even with that gas turbine facility close at hand?).  The water gleamed.  A stretch of shoreline was briefly mine.  I loved the city immoderately.

Note: The link to the Todd Shipyards picture is no longer working - I'll try to put in another one shortly.

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