Urban manufacturing in Brooklyn

Destructive manufacturing

FEW factories have a forest in their lobby. But Crye Precision, which designs and manufactures high-tech military body armour, wanted to make its vast new premises at the Brooklyn Navy Yard calming and beautiful for its 200 employees. Many of them now practise tai-chi among the indoor trees. Crye began in a studio in Chelsea, in Manhattan, but moved to the Navy Yard in 2002 because it needed space. It was soon leasing eight units in four different buildings and has now moved everyone under the same roof. Gregg Thompson, the company’s co-founder, who sports the required Brooklyn man-bun and facial hair, says the borough and the Navy Yard have been crucial to Crye’s success. He has no problem recruiting talent locally, from seamstresses to robot-operators, and the yard’s operator has been very helpful as his firm has expanded.

The Navy Yard itself is also growing fast. The 300 acres (121 hectares) on Brooklyn’s waterfront, with...

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