The San Francisco Naval Shipyard

January 31, 2009 -

For many years, the San Francisco Naval Shipyard has been a source of inspiration for my photographs of New York's industrial edges. As mentioned in an interview with the NY Times, I "grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco, within view of the Navy Yard." The view from my back porch was of the iconic crane in the shipyard, pictured above. This was once the world's largest crane, though for many years, I considered it just another mysterious part of the city's skyline.

In 2006, I began photographing inside the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, documenting the changes it is undergoing. At the same time, I also began documenting the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is undergoing a very similar transformation. Both are former Navy properties that played a large role in World War II. Both have subsequently been sold to their respective cities, and have become a home to both artists and industry. Both are still full of abandoned and unused historic spaces, and are currently undergoing huge redevelopments.

In 2008 San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal G, allowing the San Francisco Naval Shipyard to be redeveloped by the Lennar Corporation. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the project will "remake the combined 720 acres with homes, retail shops and a green office park ringed by 300 acres of parkland - and possibly build a new stadium for the 49ers..." In the meantime, these photographs document some of the historic spaces that still remain in the shipyard.


  1. I wish I had, Moe!

    You ever get out to SF?

  2. From time to time - although my best story is getting kicked out of the Lex for forgetting my ID.

  3. Isn't HP a Superfund site? Clean-up goals in place or not, who the hell would think it's a good idea to build over that shit?

  4. Thanks, Nathan, for documenting this historical site. Images truly capture the yard.

  5. I remember a very nice restaurant at the entryway, it a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay.