The Brooklyn Navy Yard has been in my dreams—ever since flying there right before Christmas at the request of Polytechnic Institute of NYU, also located in Brooklyn. And I’m just returning from a second trip. My old friend Jerry Hultin is the President of Poly, following a stint as Undersecretary of the Navy during the Clinton administration. He’s a progressive, and has already moved the needle at 150 year-old Poly, once the shining technical star of the New York area in the 1960s and now rebuilding. It just affiliated with NYU and is on it’s way to becoming an official school in that system. Students from all over the world come here to get a good technical education.
Jerry painted a stimulating picture of possibility. “We want to explore being part of a new media and information sciences complex there on the site of the old hospital, and think your Presidio experience would be helpful,” he said. He knows that The Grove facilitated all the public visioning workshops at the time the Presidio decommissioned and became a national park in the late 1980s. I read the Poly Media Center prospectus and put in a letter of support. But the Presidio was in San Francisco, on a spectacular site at the foot of Golden Gate Bridge. This is Brooklyn, looking across at Manhattan, humbled by terrorism and an economic meltdown arguably a direct result of its excesses on Wall Street. What's really wanting to happen here I wondered?