It’s gone: UPS starts tearing down most iconic section of Red Hook factory
Activists tried to save the Lidgerwood Building facade closest to Valentino Park — but to no avail.
UPS has officially demolished the section of Red Hook’s historic Lidgerwood Building that activists were striving to save.
The demolition began the Friday before Memorial Day, leaving residents outraged that the delivery giant had backed down on a promise to consider a proposal from preservationists to repurpose part of the structure.
A bulldozer scooped up giant mouthfuls of debris from a rubble-strewn parcel on Thursday at the corner of Coffey and Ferris streets — the final remains of a foundry constructed in the 1880s.
Red Hook activists pleaded unsuccessfully for a meeting with UPS to discuss saving this end of the property, which faces Louis J. Valentino Jr. Park and Pier.
The Lidgerwood Building stood in a ring of historic 19th-century industrial buildings that surrounded the park and gave it “a sense of time and place,” Carolina Salguero of PortSide New York told the Brooklyn Eagle last week.
The Lidgerwood Building’s demolition is proceeding at a rapid pace. These photos tell the tale.
In the picture above, taken Thursday, rubble is all that’s left of the iconic corner of the Lidgerwood Building.
On Saturday, that same portion of the building was still standing tall above a construction fence, as the photo below shows.
‘Unstable and unsafe,’ UPS said
The red-painted foundry at 202 Coffey St. appeared in countless visitors’ Instagram photos, because Valentino Park is a prime spot for viewing the Statue of Liberty at sunset.
In recent years, the Lidgerwood Building was used as a site for still-photo, movie and TV shoots, including some for “Gotham” and “Boardwalk Empire.”
Bulldozers demolished the north side of the historic property on May 24, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.
A UPS spokesperson told the Eagle that day the building was “unstable and unsafe” and had “significant asbestos” on its roof and exterior.
Many Red Hook merchants were angry about UPS’s destruction of a piece of the neighborhood’s industrial waterfront history.
“Little people don’t matter when there’s big money,” Bene Coopersmith, owner of the Record Shop on Van Brunt Street, told the Eagle.
The Lidgerwood Building is one piece of an enormous development site UPS assembled last year. The company paid $37.25 million for the Lidgerwood Building and $303 million for a cluster of adjacent properties, city Finance Department records indicate.
The Lidgerwood Manufacturing Company, the original occupant of the doomed historic property, made maritime equipment. It was used for constructing docks and also for high-profile projects like building the Panama Canal.
The rapid demolition of the Lidgerwood Building is visible to passengers on NYC Ferry boats traveling from Sunset Park to Red Hook.
Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.
Update (June 3 at 1:40 p.m.): The headline on this article has been edited for increased clarity.
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