The Tanks: Waterfront’s Layered Industrial History


Hidden in plain sight in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – one of the world’s most creative neighborhoods – are breath-taking relics of the waterfront’s layered industrial history. Ten 50 ft. tall decommissioned oil tanks have the potential to be re-imagined as part of a truly 21st-century park, worthy of Brooklyn.

Gardens, performance spaces, playgrounds, oyster hatcheries, art installations – the possibilities to reuse these structures as public amenities for community use are virtually endless if the industrial legacy is embraced. And yet, these historic tanks are in imminent danger of being demolished by New York City without proper consideration.
The Tanks is a grassroots initiative of activists and interdisciplinary professionals that have been advocating to save these structures since 2015. Through years of research with their environmental and design consultants, as and community engagement, they have determined that adaptive reuse is more sustainable, resourceful and creative than demolishing and rebuilding.
The Tanks offer an opportunity to imagine a dynamic, interactive, and educational public space that is more affordable, safe, practical and ecological. This documentary (short) film is a tool for advocacy, to inform the citizens of the value of preserving the tanks and to garner support for a public process.

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