Brooklyn's Water Front Pre: 1912

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In a few years, according to present ratios of increase, New York will be the largest and most important city in the world, not only in population, but in manufactures and general wealth. Within a few years, too, not more than ten, Brooklyn will be the premier borough of New York.

Hence, Brooklyn is destined to be the key t o the world's greatest metropolis. There are three reasons for this: its location, its area and its water front.

Manhattan island, or "Old New York," has reached its physical limits in portage, docks and piers, as well as in manufactures. Brooklyn, now connected with the mainland by an extensive system of tunnels, bridges and ferries is the logical selection for all future harborage development of great magnitude.

This borough is practically surrounded by the greater harbor of New York, its shore lines measuring out 132.65 miles and enclosing an area of seventy-eight square miles. Within this area is now a population of nearly 2,000,000 and manufacturing establishments with an annual output of commodity having an approximate value of $1,000,000,000.

Bush Terminal

The tremendous possibilities of Brooklyn's water front is therefore quite obvious. In the South Brooklyn water front have recently been completed the largest docks in the world, made of steel and concrete and extending out 1,500 feet into the water, having a depth of forty and fifty feet. These docks have twice the capacity of the greatest docks on Manhattan Island. Each could dock on either side two Lusitanias placed end to end. And yet this is but the beginning. In addition to tremendous investments in public and private docks along the East River, the Upper Bay__Erie Basin, Gowanus Bay and Canal, Atlantic Basin, Wallabout Bay, Newtown Creek, etc., plans now under way for further development on a gigantic scale forecasts a total cost of about $150,000,000. The greatest enterprise of this nature, in which the Federal, State and City governments have been engaged for some years in preliminaries through commissions and engineers, is the development of Jamaica Bay into a subsidiary harbor and port of New York. It is estimated that the consummation of this project alone will cost from $50,000,000 to $75,000,000.

Jamaica Bay, protected by a natural barrier from the Atlantic Ocean, extends into the south-eastern section of Brooklyn with twenty-five square miles of water surface and twenty-five linear miles of water frontage more water surface and more water frontage than about the entire island of Manhattan.

The work already begun in creating this harbor, involves first, the dredging of deep, wide channels from the ocean; the silt and sand thus obtained being used in filing in and reclaiming for purposes of utility 8,500 acres of marsh lands on the water front; and second, the building of city docks, piers and tenantable factory buildings and warehouses.

The docking of ocean liners and coastwise vessels in Jamaica Bay, as against the facilities of Manhattan island will save from three to five hours to freight and passenger traffic. To the portage commerce of New York, which is now about $3,000,000,000 a year and increasing at the rate of more than 25% per annum, this advantage is incalculable, especially in view of the greater expansion in traffic which these facilities will insure.

Jamaica Bay has also been selected by the Commission as the logical terminus of the 1,000-ton barge canal, the great waterway into the north west territory now being constructed at a cost of $100,000,000.

Though the public and private docks in the South Brooklyn water front with the immense Bush Terminal establishment of docks, factories and warehouses, now being built and projected are the largest units of their kind in the world and involve several score millions of dollars in cost, these take a secondary position to the Jamaica Bay enterprise. Among the most important docking and terminal establishments along the East River and Upper Bay, including the Bush Terminal, are the New York Dock Company, Eastern District Terminal Company and the Palmer Docks. Two-thirds of the great warehouse and manufacturing industries of the borough are within a mile of these distributing points. The Brooklyn manufactories, therefore, have every point in their favor. A water front tramway for traffic, articulating with Jamaica Bay, South Brooklyn, the East River and Newtown Creek docks, and the great continental mainland north, west and south is also in a partial state of development.

These great enterprises have largely passed the stages of dreams, talk, commissions and preliminary work. They are already begun, partly in operation and their final completion, with more or less variation in plans, absolutely assured: and people who sense the ultimate achievement, realize that Brooklyn in the near future too is destined to be the greatest commercial center, not only of the western continent, but of the world.

Chiefly among the water front enterprises are the great sugar refineries, petroleum plants, granaries, iron and steel mills, paper and textile specialty manufactories, which for years have made Brooklyn famous, the Wallabout Market, which gathers products from the truck farmers of Long Island and by water from new Jersey and other points, and the nation's Navy Yard, where some of the great dreadnaughts and other naval craft have been built.


Website: The History
Article Name: Brooklyn's Water Front Pre: 1912
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Brooklyn, the home borough of New York City: its family life, educational advantages, civic virtues; physical attractions and varied industries. Brooklyn: unknown, 1912.
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