Posts Tagged ‘building the bomb New York City’

A West Chelsea warehouse with a nuclear past

January 16, 2014

On the prime West Chelsea block just off the West Side Highway and north of Chelsea Piers sits a stretch of handsome warehouses.

West20thsignOnce run by a company called Baker and Williams, these warehouses played a key role in the creation of the atomic bomb.

This is where the heads of the Manhattan Project—the code name for the building of the first atom bomb in the 1940s—decided to store tons of uranium.

According to this federal document, approximately 219,000 pounds of uanium from Africa by way of Canada was stored here before “distribution to U.S. government reservations.”


It wasn’t until the early 1990s when the government cleaned the warehouse of residual uranium. “Workers removed more than a dozen drums of radioactive waste, according to the Department of Energy in Washington,” wrote The New York Times in 2007.

Of course, it’s not the only site in the city that played a key role in Manhattan island’s namesake project.

Research was conducted at Columbia University, administrative headquarters established at 270 Broadway, and an engineering office (set up to acquire crucial bomb-making material) existed at Fifth Avenue and 29th Street.