The USS Monitor, built here in Greenpoint by Continental Ironworks in 1862, was one of the first iron-clad battle ships in the US Navy. During the Civil War, the Monitor took part in the “Battle of the Ironclads,” and money from the building of the Monitor contributed to the building of the Church of the Ascension (127 Kent Street).
Given The Monitor’s deep role in the industrial, naval and ecclesiastical history of Greenpoint, and the United States itself, lifelong Greenpoint residents George and Janice Weinmann have been advocating for a museum dedicated to the boat since 1996.
The couple secured land for the museum on Quay Street at the Monitor’s construction site in 2003, and scored a grant from GCEF to fund the museum in 2015. The project requires a restoration of the ecological shoreline at the Quay Street property, and the museum has been working with design and engineering firm AECOM to make it happen. On Wednesday, June 13, friends of the Monitor Museum teamed up with AECOM to host a public info meeting about the current status of the project.
At the info meeting, AECOM explained that the project’s GCEF funding is dedicated to restoring the ecology of the shoreline, and ultimately to connect the land to neighboring Bushwick Inlet Park (also still in its planning stages.)
The ecological restoration is so important to the Monitor Museum Project, because the site used to be a swamp. The swamp was originally filled in with rocks, and now site is sinking. To restore the shoreline, AECOM will employ Riprap engineering, and will plant a variety of greenery including smooth crabgrass, red oster dogwood, marsh elder, and willow.
After the shoreline is secure, the Monitor Museum itself will being to take shape. The museum will be the size of the footprint of the Monitor itself, not including access ramps to the site. The ultimate goals of the project are “community, education and ecology.” The project as a whole will create community green space at the site, educational programming related to the Monitor, and the ecological restoration of the land itself.
If you’d like to see how things are taking shape at the Monitor site, and learn more about what’s in store for the museum, the site will be open July 14 in conjunction with City Water Day!