Saturday, February 4, 2017

That's My Bush

Soldiering on from last week kids, with a look at the various Topps offices and plants that were scattered around Brooklyn from 1938-94.

After World War 2 drew to a close, the industrial base of the United States began to return to its previous infrastructure.  Bush Terminal, a sprawling industrial complex located in Sunset Park, just south of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, had been taken over by the government during the war and was being returned to civilian use.  Topps moved in to Building No. 1 in the complex, also known as Industry City, located at 237 37th St on June 1, 1946 as this trade magazine blurb shows:


The eagle eyed among you will note Topps was upgrading the Chattanooga plant as well. We'll visit that operation next time out.

For the next 18 years Topps would manufacture most of their confectionery products at Bush Terminal and as things really started humming in the late 1950's and early 1960's they eventually expanded into space across the back alley at 254 36th St, although I have yet to pinpoint exactly when.  The buildings' back entrances were catty-corner to each other, although I don't think Topps had more than couple of floors in each one, and railroad tracks ran down the alley in between them.  A block to the east those tracks could bring you to the piers on Gowanus Bay or heading south they would connect with the larger freight rail network in Brooklyn. Topps was able to receive raw materials and shipments by rail, truck, barge or ship and send finished merchandise out the same way with very little effort.

Here's an architectural drawing of the Bush Terminal Complex with South facing up (so you can read it properly); I've highlighted the two Topps buildings in yellow just below the middle of the drawing on the left:



The space at 237 37th St was eventually given up, probably when they moved production and packaging to Duryea in 1966. As mentioned last week, they had retained production and warehousing space in the various facilities they had been in starting in 1938 up until the move. 

After production moved to Pennsylvania, they kept executive offices at 254 36th St until 1994 when they moved them to downtown Manhattan, where they remain today.

 A 2013 real estate listing for 254 36th St showed an interior shot of one of the floors:


Much of the area is now being converted into condos and mixed use, it's a hot spot in Brooklyn! Here's an overhead shot of the area today, courtesy of Google Maps; The old Topps buildings are the top two long ones in the middle left, just under Costco in this view (click to expand):


I'll take a peek at some non-Brooklyn facilities next time or maybe the one after.

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