Toxi City: Exploring Brooklyn's Industrial Legacy

Red Hook

Posted in Brooklyn,Gowanus Canal,Red Hook by Robin on April 7, 2011
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As I walked down 2nd Avenue towards Red Hook, I noticed that the railing along the Pathmark parking lot serves as another kind of parking area. There were at least six shopping carts locked to it, a visible trace of the homeless that bring recyclables to the bottle exchange outside the Pathmark. I have heard nothing about plans to remediate this portion of the Metropolitan Works site. To make the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal meaningful and lasting, something must be done about the coal tar under this site.

When I arrived in Red Hook Park, the soccer team on the field took a break. I had been hoping to photograph some of the play but instead, I looked for signs of spring. A small tree next to a larger one, very close to the Chemtura site was beginning to flower. This manufacturer’s plant was built on historic landfill. I am not sure about the park itself.

Some landscaping work was going on in the Ikea parking lot which was built over a dry dock. Since this site was remediated before Ikea was built, I assume all the soil where these manicured grasses are grown was put down by Ikea.


Brooklyn Bridge to Red Hook

Posted in Brooklyn,Brooklyn Waterfront,Dumbo,Red Hook by Robin on January 25, 2010

This is iconic Brooklyn. I started by walking out onto the bridge.

And then down into Brooklyn Bridge Park one of the few places where the public is invited to the edge of the water along Brooklyn’s edges.

The park has become a favorite spot for wedding photography. This hummer limo was parked on Washington Street while the wedding party took photos at the base of the Manhattan Bridge.

Tremendous progress is being made on the south side of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Furman Street.

Red Hook.

When you cross Degraw, the scale changes and you are in a neighborhood where people live.

There is a little bit of shipping left in Brooklyn.

It is not all ruins.

These old wharves, right outside Ikea, part of Erie Basin are part of the brownfield site called U. S. Dredging site. Ikea cleaned up its portion of the site. 25 additional acres are underwater.

April 26th-Gowanus and Red Hook

Posted in Brownfield,Gowanus Canal,Red Hook by Robin on June 8, 2009
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Early on Sunday morning, I found a parking lot on 6th Street open from which one gets a good view of the Whole Foods site.

Then I walked around to 2nd ave. This view is looking towards Ferrarra Brothers on the other side of the canal.

This sumac is starting to grow at the end of of Huntington Street at the edge of the canal.

The site called Gowanus Village is in the background. Its primary contaminant is PCBs as it was the Nassau Electric Railroad Powerhouse.

In the afternoon, I went with Nina to Red Hook. It was midday and hot. I was doubtful I would get anything shooting in the direct light but we went into the undeveloped lot right next to Ikea, accessible from Columbia Street, which I assume was also part of the U. S. Dredging Shipyards. In the far corner of the lot was a makeshift shelter surrounded by shopping carts. My guess is that someone lives there. This would be his or her view.


The site has some small indications of its former use.

Working Waterfront, Past and Present

Posted in Gowanus Canal,Red Hook by Robin on August 24, 2008

I walked down the the Gowanus and across the Hamilton Avenue Bridge. I got a different view of Benson Scrap metal. I like this photo because it gives a sense of chaos spiling out of order.

Then I walked thru Red Hook and out Columbia Street. The views of the Brooklyn waterfront were awesome at that time of day. I am including this photo of the grain elevator rather than one that has the Williamsburg Bank Building in the background because the color is better. This is the abandonned waterfront.

Then there is the waterfront as it is being remodeled for commerce and recreation. Ikea lights up these old cranes at night. They look spectacular.