Just in time for Christmas, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams marked the anniversary of Motiva Enterprises’ December 23, 2003 donation of land to the Greenpoint Monitor Museum by announcing an agreement with the City to preserve the site for the future construction of an institution dedicated to the Civil War-era ironclad warship and its role in local history. The site, along Bushwick Inlet, marks the location that the USS Monitor was constructed and launched.
Since the 2005 rezoning, the threat of eminent domain has hung over the Museum’s head, impacting its ability to pursue grants and funding streams that would make it possible to build the museum and a dock for research vessels, as well as achieve the goals of flood protection, public access, and shoreline restoration.
Over the last year, Adams and Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna worked with the Museum, the City and local residents to advance preservation efforts. Those efforts finally succeeded with the receipt of a letter from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation that affirmed that the City does not plan to purchase the property on Quay Street.
Adams noted the importance of the USS Monitor to the historical legacy of Brooklyn and how this agreement was an acknowledgment of the need to invest in the cultural infrastructure of Greenpoint.
“The legacy of the USS Monitor is the flagship of Brooklyn’s rich military and shipbuilding history, which we must maintain for future generations,” Adams said. “I am proud to work with hard-working and ardent supporters of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum in their pursuit of an educationally rich and environmentally friendly institution that will tell an important chapter of this community’s story to the residents of Brooklyn and beyond.”
As a result of this agreement, the Museum was able to become one of five projects selected to be funded through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF). The $599,200 grant will support the development of a final ecological design for a green/living shoreline restoration and stabilization at the Museum site, as well as the incorporation of that process into the education programs conducted at local schools by the Museum.
“It’s been an extraordinary year of great achievements for the Museum, which is dedicated to preserving and teaching about Brooklyn’s rich history,” Reyna said. “[This] news, along with the recent award to build out the museum, is a fantastic accomplishment for everyone involved, from our partners in government to community stakeholders.”
For two decades, Janice Lauletta-Weinmann, President and founding member of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum and husband George Weinmann have tirelessly worked towards their goal of a museum at the Quay Street site, dedicated to the history of the USS Monitor. The lack of a building has never slowed their passion for raising awareness of the ironclad’s Greenpoint history. The two have spoken and presented in local schools, bringing an additional sense of community pride to local students. Letters of support from the children of PS 110, The Monitor School and PS 31, Samuel F. Dupont to Mayor de Blasio played an integral role in the positive result, according to Lauletta-Weinmann.
“I thank Borough President Adams and Deputy Borough President Reyna for their success in ending the threat of eminent domain on the museum’s land,” said Lauletta-Weinmann. “We look forward to celebrating the Museum’s 20th anniversary in 2016 with the commencement of the engineering design for a restored shoreline, flood protection, public access to the Museum’s land and an enhanced education program incorporating this engineering project, made possible through the GCEF grant.”
In May, Adams and Reyna helped unveil the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s USS Monitor Trail Marker at the historic launch site, part of an effort to link historic sites for the vessel in New York, North Carolina and Virginia.
For more information about the Greenpoint Monitor Museum, please visit http://greenpointmonitormuseum.org/.