Brooklyn--Where The Future Lives in Retired Buildings
Have you ever heard of New Lab, a huge building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard? We had not. Thanks to one of the great institutions of our fair metropolis, the Partnership for New York City, we were recently introduced and given a tour. And we were inspired. Especially by the elegant reality of recharged structures--like us.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a storied place. Naval warships like the USS Arizona were built there, in massive and gorgeous buildings. One of them is Building 128, the primary machine shop for all major U.S. ships launched during the world wars of the twentieth century. Huge at 51,000 feet, Building 128 was abandoned and left to rot. But its bones were elegant, and ultimately some big thinkers decided to repurpose it, and the Navy Yard, in service to the twenty-first century economy and technology. About a year ago, its nearly 90,000 square feet became home to a truly amazing, highly curated, set of start up businesses.
We heard from five: Piero is creating an interface between machine learning and artificial intelligence; Honeybee is making robotics that go into difficult places: space, narrow pipes, and the human body; Monogram Orthopedics is using robots for surgery (they call it "medical carpentry") and 3d printers to create personalized prosthetics; Future Air makes a beautiful device (correctly named a "sexy circuit board") that monitors inside air; and Lynq invented a location device that relies on algorithms and radio protocols to permit people to find other people even when the lost one is not capable of responding due to a battlefield or skiing injury, autism or senility. All are seeking and finding VC funding. And they are but five of over 100.
The rest of the Navy Yard, still under development, is already home to content provide Steiner Studios, clothing company Lafayette 148, and lots of others. A huge WeWork and WeLive is under construction. The whole place is humming with energy and brain power, and will ultimately employ 17,000 people. The project could not be more exciting. Kudos to all, in including the Partnership.