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.

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.

As I walked by Rewe Street, I shot this. It is one of the most inhospitable parts of the area.

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.

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.

A bunch of stumps had also been dumped on the street. It was hard to tell where they were from.

It is just sad here.


March 8th

Posted in Brownfield,Bushwick by Robin on April 19, 2009
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202-218 Morgan Avenue

This site is owned by FritoLay and its brownfield application is under review. From the driveway of what must be a factory, you can look into this empty lot. On the street side, it is securely fenced.


At the far end of the lot is this abandoned building.

353 McKibbin Street
This site housed a chemical works and is now an empty lot. As I approached the site, I did a double take first thinking someone had left a costume on the street and then realizing that an artist was taping herself doing a performance wearing this outfit.

I also walked along Grand Street and noticed a pair of boots someone had let behind.