Brooklyn Heights

Future home of anchor at 76 Montague spurs community discussion

January 27, 2015 By Kathryn Cardin Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Following the publication of a recent Brooklyn Eagle article on the future home of the anchor at 76 Montague St., community members have weighed in on the issue. Eagle file photo by Don Evans
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Following a Brooklyn Daily Eagle article that discussed the new tenants of 76 Montague St., who wish to move the 19th century anchor that sits by the storefront, there was much dialogue about the issue from Brooklyn Heights residents and community members.

As stated in the previous article, the original owner of the anchor, Wolf Spille, suggested the anchor be donated to the Brooklyn Heights Association (BHA) — but the BHA expressed its inability to take on a donation of this kind.  

The BHA is not equipped to handle such an enormous artifact,” said Judy Stanton, executive director of the BHA. “If the new owner or Mr. Spille are thinking creatively, they will no doubt find a fitting outdoor location near the Brooklyn waterfront, whether in a public park along the East River or at any number of waterfront event space venues that have large outdoor areas. And there is always the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which might have a good spot for it.”

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However, Brooklyn Heights resident, writer and blogger Claude Scales does not think the Navy Yard is an appropriate place to put the anchor, which has been in the neighborhood for more than three decades.

In fact, Scales said his childhood maritime experiences — including four Atlantic crossings by sea — made the anchor particularly special to him after he moved to the Heights in 1983. Scales, in an article for the Brooklyn Heights Blog published last week, suggested a different place for the anchor.

“I would love to see it remain in the Heights rather than sent off to some distant spot like the Navy Yard,” he wrote in the article. “My notion of an ideal place is at the center of the circle at the south end of the Promenade, near the foot of Remsen Street. It would then ‘anchor’ the south end, just as the armillary globe anchors the north end. This would require the cooperation of the City’s Parks Department, but perhaps with the assistance of the Brooklyn Heights Association and other community voices, we could make it happen.”

Other suggestions have been made regarding what to do with the anchor, which was bought by Spille as a memento to all the early New York Harbor seafarers. A longtime Heights resident suggested the anchor be placed between the flagpole and the Promenade walkway at the foot of Montague Street, saying it would get more exposure, as well as provide an easy move.

Scales agreed, adding that this placement would most likely be better for aesthetic reasons.

“The big obstacle to putting it anywhere on the Promenade is that the Promenade is part of the NYC Parks system, so putting the anchor there is going to require Parks Department approval and cooperation. We may need powerful allies in city government to get that.”


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