Sunset Park Brooklyn Waterfront
Sunset Park is a neighborhood on the western Brooklyn waterfront roughly bounded by Prospect Expressway (17th/16th Streets) on the north, Greenwood Cemetery on the northeast, 8th Avenue on the east and 65th Street on the south.
European presence in the area began when the Dutch arrived in the 1600s, but the area remained largely undeveloped until Irish immigrants began arriving in the early 19th century. Scandanavian immigrants joined the Irish in the second half of the 19th century.
The first major shipping development on the Brooklyn waterfront was the creation of a shipyard in 1781 by John Jackson and William Sheffield further north in Wallabout Bay. The U.S. Navy bought the shipyard in 1801, creating the New York Navy Ship Yard, later known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Commercial development of the waterfront continued slowly until the 1840s when the Atlantic Docks complex opened north of Sunset Park in Red Hook with a 40-acre basin containing 100 dock spaces and 20 acres of four-story warehouses.
Despite all this development to the north, Sunset Park's waterfront industrial development was restricted by the distance from the city's commercial center in Manhattan, lack of railroad freight service, shallow conditions just offshore and the absence of a deep water channel that would permit passage of large ships. This limited investment in the waterfront to small shipyards and manufacturers, such as the small Bush and Denslow Manufacturing Company oil refinery. However, as Manhattan's docks reached full capacity at the end of the 19th century, pressure for expansion of shipping capability from Brooklyn spurred new development in Sunset Park.
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