After a 150-year history of building some of America’s premier fighting vessels from the on down, the Navy Yard was decommissioned in 1966 and is presently the home of 200 private businesses; its six dry docks, one of which is shown above, are still in operation.
Tugboats are repaired and maintained, and ships are still built here, along with furniture design, electronics and jewelry making along with over 200 other businesses; there’s also a NYC tow pound and a water pollution control plant. Sadly, apart from the 1807 Commandant’s House, possibly designed by Charles Bulfinch, on the far western end of the complex, most of the Navy Yard’s old officer’s quarters, some dating from the mid-to-late 19th Century, have been allowed to rot.
Flushing Avenue, though, has a gritty, working class personality and keeps it along the majority of its five-mile length.
This is the land of warehouses, factories, auto collision repair joints, junkyard dogs and tractor trailers short-cutting their way to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
It follows a generally straight line east to west till it gets to Broadway, and then begins a slight but definite trend to the northeast, which gets more pronounced until it flows into Grand Avenue.
Many streets in New York are so lengthy that residents on one section of such a street may not know that their street extends so far away. Albans, Cambria Heights, or Elmont and you encounter Linden Boulevard, it’s the same street that starts out as a trickle in Flatbush near Erasmus Hall.
You’d think that a road with a pedigree like Flushing Avenue’s would be the El Camino Real of Brooklyn and Queens.Fifth Avenue above Marcus Garvey Park is a shadow of what it is in its guise as The Queen of Avenues along and below Central Park.Broadway, meanwhile, keeps a seemingly self-important air as it marches from Bowling Green all the way to Riverdale and beyond.It would eventually lead to Newtown (a large area, known today as Elmhurst and northern Maspeth) and then to Flushing via North Hempstead Turnpike (what is now approximately 63rd Road) and then along either now-vanished roads (Strong’s Causeway, obliterated in the 1950s by the Long Island Expressway) or all-but-vanished roads (Head of the Vly Road, now a short lane called Vleigh Place) into Flushing.The westernmost section is the oldest, dating to the colonial era and earlier; it ran east from the now-filled Wallabout Mill Pond in what is now the Navy Yard east to Bushwick Avenue.NY Times That was from 2006, and the business has since closed… Anyway, at first glance inside the Navy Yard, the place seems like your average rundown neighborhood bar. The TV is also on seemingly just as loud — one of those CBS shows that I’ve never watched on Thursday nights. ) Eventually around 10 p.m., a lot more women are suddenly in the bar… These signs along Flushing Avenue are showing their decades-old pedigree: the old alphanumeric phone number (they sometimes referred to the neighborhood they were located in, but not always).they walk in, talk with the bartender, spend a lot of time in the women’s room. Not too many listings are given as “to let” anymore; the usage comes not from let, “to allow” but let as a form of the word “lease.” Photos: Christina Wilkinson Welcome to the Malcom.At the height of the Navy’s presence in Brooklyn, during World War II, dozens of surplus stores were located near the yard. “We were able to get into different avenues,” said Battleship Mike, noting that in the 60’s and 70’s the Army-Navy look was big with “hippies.”Later, Reliable sold uniforms to workers on cruise ships, to the crew of Malcolm Forbes’s yacht, to budget-conscious students at Pratt Institute and to the Village People (for the group’s “In the Navy” video, naturally).Each time a rival closed, Reliable bought it out and appropriated the old stock, along with some facet of the business.In the colonial era, marshy land and creeks cut Flushing off from traffic from the west, and as there were few good roads into Flushing, carts and coaches had to first go to Jamaica and travel north from there.Flushing Avenue, in the past, was a toll road built to be an alternative to the southern approach.