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Sens. Schumer & Gillibrand pitch in to save Admiral’s Row’ buidlings near Brooklyn Navy Yard

Sens. Schumer & Gillibrand pitch in to save Admiral’s Row’ buidlings near Brooklyn Navy Yard

NY Daily News 03/02/2011

BY Erin Durkin

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are jumping into the fight to save the crumbling Admiral’s Row buildings, a stretch of historic homes near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The two senators have written to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, urging him to immediately allow navy yard officials onto the property for much-needed emergency fixes.

“Admiral’s Row is a national landmark, but for too long it has wasted away, forgotten in the dustbin of history,” Schumer said.

“It appeared we had an agreement to preserve these historic buildings – but bureaucratic hurdles are now getting in the way,” he said. “I hope the Army will … allow the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. to save these buildings before it’s too late.”

Preservationists want to save the two buildings as the last remnants of a once-majestic row of homes built for officers and their families, since the rest of the houses are set to be demolished to make way for a supermarket and industrial space.

The 1830s-era Timber Shed is in such bad shape that it could soon collapse without emergency repairs. Building B, a former naval residence, is also in bad condition.

The National Guard reversed course last month and said it would not fix the Timber Shed, believed to be the last building of its kind in the country.

Officials at the city-run navy yard, which is set to buy and develop the property, say they will do the work, but the Guard has so far balked at letting them in.

National Guard program manager Kristin Leahy said officials haven’t decided whether to let the city fix the building. She said they’re not sure if it’s safe for workers to go inside and are worried about liability.

“I understand why everyone is frustrated by what seems to be a long process,” she said. “Health and safety … is still an issue of grave concern.”

But the elected officials said the historic buildings should not be allowed to crumble because of red tape. “There is no time to waste,” said Gillibrand. “The Army must speed up the process.”