The Navy Yard skirts Wallabout Bay, a semicircular elbow of the East River. The East River is 14-mile long tidal straight that connects Long Island Sound with New York Upper Bay and seperates the western end of Long Island from the New York mainland. A Federal project provides for main-channel depths of 35 feet from Throgs Neck to the inactive New York Naval Shipyard, about two miles from the western entrance, and thence 40 feet to deep water in New York Upper Bay.The Navy Yard was established by the federal government in 1801. It was the site for the construction of Robert Fulton's steam frigate, the Fulton, launched in 1815, as well as of other historic vessels. During the Civil War, the Yard expanded its operations and its employees numbered about 6,000. In 1890, the Yard's ways delivered to the sea the ill-fated Maine, and continued in operation through the first World War. On the eve of the Second World War the yard was traversed by more than five miles of paved streets, and contains four drydocks ranging in length from 326 to 700 feet, two huge steel shipways, and six big pontoons and cylindrical floats for salvage work. In addition to the numerous foundries, machine shops, and warehouses it has barracks for marines, a power plant, a large radio station, and a railroad spur. The activities of the yard in 1938 required the services of about ten thousand men, of whom one-third were WPA workers. On 12 January 1953 test operations begin on USS Antietam (CVA 36) which emerged in December 1952 from the New York Naval Shipyard as America's first angled-deck aircraft carrier.
The Navy Yard was decommissioned in 1966. Within a decade, it had become an area of private manufacturing and commercial activity. Currently the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation manages and operates the Brooklyn Navy Yard for the City of New York. The Navy Yard, the City's premier industrial park, has over 200 tenants with more than 3,500 employees.