Toxi City: Exploring Brooklyn's Industrial Legacy


East Williamsburg/Bushwick

This morning I started on Maspeth Avenue. Despite its contamination, it too was part of the real estate boom. It has its share of empty condos.
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The former Equity works site, now the site of a recycling facility, was already busy at 6:30 am. Trucks were lined up on Maspeth Avenue waiting to dump their loads inside. This site has not yet been tested but it has the potential to be truly toxic.
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As I walked by Rewe Street, I shot this. It is one of the most inhospitable parts of the area.
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The next site that I visited became toxic because it was a dry cleaning facility, Popular Hand Laundry, 88 Ingraham Street. While the area is industrial with a cement factory on the block to the west, the presence of the art community is also visible. The current building occupant is Astor Row, an art consulting business.
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I had also planned to go to 121 Ingraham Street, which had been an illegal dry cleaning facility. I knew that there was a men’s shelter on Johnson street because one day when I was shooting in the neighborhood, a man came up to me and asked for directions. I had a map and was able to help him. When I looked down the block, there were 20 or 30 men in red and blue jump suits and quite a number of vans. My guess was that they were participating in some sort of program where they were being taken from the shelter to parks to clean for the day. Due to the crowd and all the activity, I wasn’t able to find the site.

The McKibben Street site, a former chemical works, is right up the street. It has gotten considerably overgrown since I was last here in March. As far as I can tell from looking at those photos, this is some new stuff that has been dumped.
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A bunch of stumps had also been dumped on the street. It was hard to tell where they were from.
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It is just sad here.
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