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Brooklyn's Shore Line at Work

Brooklyn's Industrial Muscle Ready to be Flexed

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Brooklyn's Waterfront at Work
Brooklyn On Line presents Brooklyn's most important Resource, it's over 30 miles of Shore Line.

In 1642 the first public ferry to Niew Amsterdam (today's Manhattan Island) was put in service. Cornelis Dircksen had waterfront property near toady's Old Fulton Street, and ran service from his garden to Peck's Slip, where he also owned property. As legend has it, in old tree by the water hung a conch shell horn which would call a yeoman from farming duties to a boat stashed in the grass for 3 stuyers paid in wampum.

From this auspicious beginnings was the beginning of Brooklyn Waterfront Industrial start. By 1698, the route was not only considered of great value as a business, but indispensable to the Welfare of the whole of Long Island (properly called Nassau Island). Rip van Dam leased the ferry, now called Nassau Ferry, for seven years for 85 pounds per annum. By 1717 another route was added landing at Burger's Path. With the coming of the Steam Ferry, much chaffing between Brooklyn Village and New York occurred because of Fulton and Cutting had promised a steam ferry for the Farms and people of Kings County. Fulton reneged on the promise and petitioned the City of New York in 1819 to substitute another horse powered ferry boat for the steam powered one, and then raised the fare from 2 cents to 4 cents. It was viewed that New York was milking little Brooklyn. Brooklyn had a good argument.

This dispute about the ferry solidified Brooklyn's civic mindedness, and gave her reason to nurture carefully her water resources. But 1781 ship building began to take hold in the Town. The three Jackson Brothers, John, Samuel, and Treadwell, brought a large piece of property in Northeast Brooklyn and started what would become the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

In 1798 the frigate Adams as the US governments first financed vessel, and by the war of 1812 it would fit and supply more than a hundred ships. During the Civil War it outfitted 416 ships for war time purposes. By the end of the war, 6000 men worked at the docks with a payroll of more than 4 million dollars.

The most important ship in Navel History, the iron clad Monitor was built in Greenpoint by John Ericsson during the war. The iron hull was built at the Continental Iron Works on Calyer Street, and the finishing touches done at the Navel Yard. This boat simply changed the face of world wide shipping and immediately made every other warship in the world obsolete.

Today there are still some 500 Long Shoremen working the Brooklyn Docks, and thousands of others dependent on Brooklyn Shipping for their livelihoods. By 1870 one third of American Grain exports to Europe ran through Brooklyn Docks.

The world of the Longshoreman was a rough one, but a necessity for immigrant families of nearly every ethnic background. The NY-NJ Port authority was created to build a tunnel from Brooklyn to New New Jersey across the Harbor. The Port Authority has done everything BUT...a point well taken in the latest turf war between the two states. As ships are getting larger and larger, New York Harbors only real chance to retain the shipping business is with the building of this tunnel, as supported by Congressman Jerry Nadler and Mayor Guilliani. With the tunnel and improvements on the docks, working class and poor Brooklynites will finally get the fair shake they deserve to move up the economic ladder. The time has come for us to stop playing games with the greatest nature deep water harbor on the planet, and put it back to work!!

Focus on Waterfront Industries and Projects:

  • Gowanas Canal
  • Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • Bush Army Terminal
  • The Port Authority
  • The Brooklyn to New Jersey Rail Proposal
  • New York Cross Harbor Railroad
  • Current Events and Updates
  • Waterfront History
  • Brooklyn Bridges and Tunnels
  • The USS Monitor
Our Hard at Work.  Brooklyn Business and Industry on the Water Front!! BOL proudly sponsors the Growing Documentation of Brooklyn Water Front Businesses and Industries. The Backbone of regional economic growth for generations, we will outline how Shipping, Manufacturing, and Trade continue to pull NY into a future of prosperity!!
Water Front Recreation by the Sea Shore The Welcoming Shores have welcomed haggard New Yorkers for recreational retreat since the 1800's. Starting in "Suburban" Brooklyn Heights, climaxing in the 1920's with Coney Islands electric Dream Scape. Today we have more variety than ever for shore line recreation. From Beaches, On and off shore Fishing, Nature Reserves, Gambling Cruises, Dinner Cruises, Sailing, and more available along Brooklyn's Shores, your bound to find something in it for you!!
The Future of Brooklyn's Waterfront The debate about the Future of Brooklyn's Shore Line has been raging for years. See how things are gonna shape up, and learn about Brooklyn's important role in the future of North American Shipping