Brooklyn Army Terminal & Turnstile Tours

NYC’s public transportation is like the blood of the city. A lot of native folks never learn to drive and a lot of the ones that do hate it. Driving isn’t second nature to us; trains, buses and taxis are.  On December 20, 2005, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 went on strike. That not only put a damper on holiday shopping – it was cold and made it hell to get to work.

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Luckily, I skipped work most those days but there was one day I had to go in. Victor’s coworker picked up a bunch of people and drove us to the Brooklyn Bridge and we walked to work starting from the Brooklyn side. I walked to West 17th Street and 7th Avenue and Vic had to walk to Whitehall Street in downtown Manhattan. We met up and took the Wall Street ferry home. At the time they had a ferry going from Wall Street to Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park and since that day I’ve always been curious about it.

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Recently I learned about “Turnstile Tours” and to my excitement they have off the beaten path tours. They visit industrial sights (Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal), have food cart & immigrant food tours. They are well researched, engaging, and we weren’t bored at all. This tour satisfied the WWII buff in me.

Brooklyn Army Terminal was designed by Cass Gilbert in 1918 and finished in 1919. Gilbert is best known for designing the Woolworth building.

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The complex was the largest military supply base back in WWII.

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The average building is made to hold 50 pounds per square foot. This building was made to handle 300 pounds per square foot.

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The Terminal has been re-purposed into a large complex of warehouses, piers, docks, offices, cranes, and rail sidings. It sits between 58th to 63rd Streets.

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It’s best to wear closed toe shoes on this tour. Part of it walks you through a non renovated part of the building. There’s lots of dust, bird poop, and some debris. Unfortunately I was wearing Birkenstocks and my feet felt pretty dusty by the end.

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RIP deceased bird. This was the only one we saw.

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Peak out at the harbor.

The King shipped out of here to go to Germany when he was drafted in the late 1950s. He’s the most famous draftee.

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Building B was designed to allow trains to pass through and unload cargo. The black lines you see on the floor were once train tracks.

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Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to go in the atrium. It’s usually a part of the tour but we got locked out due to renovations. The tour company wasn’t informed about the change. Andrew, our guide, called around to see if he could get permission to have the guard let us in. He tried hard and his efforts were much appreciated but it didn’t happen. Since this happened they offered 2 free tickets to any tour in the future. That’s amazing customer service.

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Train tracks line part of 1st Avenue.

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Brooklyn Army Terminal back in the day when the it was utilized by the Army.

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NY harbor.

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We really enjoyed our time with Turnstile Tours. Everyone in our group either lived in or once lived in NYC.

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4 thoughts on “Brooklyn Army Terminal & Turnstile Tours

    1. Thank You! We’re hooked on this tour group. We’re going to go on the harbor cruise with them for fleet week when all the ships come in – that will be interesting.

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