A New Partnership

text goes here

Naval Cemetery Landscape

The former Naval Hospital Cemetery had been behind a fence, inaccessible to the public since it was decommissioned in the 1920s and the known remains were removed to Cypress Hills.

Now the site will come out from behind the fence as a new open space of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. This site has been designed as a natural area populated exclusively by native plant species that will provide visitors with an escape from urban life.

Through partnership with Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), Brooklyn Greenway Initiative has designed and funded the restoration of the site and will break ground in late 2014.

The project is a collaboration between BGI, BNYDC, the Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort), TKF Foundation, Marvel Architects, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Langer Research, GRANT engineering, The Green School environmentally themed high school, and Brooklyn Housing and Community Services (BCHANDS) an operator of assisted living facilities for populations including the chronically homeless.

Design (link to renderings)

A key condition for the site’s design is a deed restriction against ground disturbance. Through consultation with community stakeholders the team has sought to achieve a design and program of human use that is consistent with its former use as a burial ground while capturing its potential as a natural area that offers opportunities for awe and reflection away from the built, social and electronic environments. The site will be accessible only from the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Visitors will travel across a native black locust boardwalk that hovers above the ground through a meadow designed and planted to maximize the amount of life activity that occurs there. The initial planting layout seeks to evoke prior uses of the site as a cemetery and farm. Plants have been selected for their benefit to pollinators, other insects and birds and for their seasonal color, complementary textures and food they provide to wildlife. The boardwalk will meander around the perimeter of the meadow and pass through a grove of native black cherry trees that will provide a sense of enclosure and natural shelter. The perimeter of the site will be lined with a complement of native tree and shrub species that will block out views of buildings and other aspects of the built environment.

Research (link to research design doc)

The project is one of six nationally funded by TKF Foundation to help document the beneficial effects of nature to various populations. Our focus is on youth who are in high school, a time when they are making many of the decisions that will affect their life trajectory, and on vulnerable populations challenged by life in NYC’s complex urban environment. Christopher Weiss of Langer Research will conduct the research program. Chris was formerly Director of the quantitative research masters degree program at Columbia University. The research will result in a peer reviewed published study. Together with the other five TKF funded projects, it will build on a growing body of science that demonstrates the important role nature plays in the development of human intelligence, social and emotional capabilities and capacity for regeneration and healing.



Funding has been provided by:

TKF Foundation

NYS Department of State under Title 11 of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund

NYC Council Member Steve Levin

Former NYC Council Member Letitia James

Media (link to these docs)

Architects Newspaper – New Life

Architects Newspaper – Drawing a Line

L Magazine – What to Do with that Old Cemetery (link to article)

Research Press Release

Slides (link to cemetery PPT doc) Design (link to renderings)