Gowanus: Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station

July 29, 2009 -

In the midst of this summer's debate about superfunding Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, plans may be quietly proceeding to reopen a sanitation facility on the canal's southern end. Bids are now being accepted to refurbish the Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station, which has been closed since 2001. If reopened, the facility would process tons of Brooklyn garbage by dropping it into barges moored on the banks of the Gowanus.

According to the New York City Council, the Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station was closed when the landfill it delivered trash to - Fresh Kills on Staten Island - was phased out in 2001. This massive two-story steel shed has been decommissioned ever since, although sanitation dumptrucks still park on its upper level. Like the recently demolished sanitation depot on Kent Avenue, it is a humble, functional municipal structure.

A Glorified Shed

In 2006, a new plan for New York City's trash was implemented and The Gowanus Lounge reported that the Hamilton Avenue station would "likely be recommissioned again, ensuring that a very ripe and funky smell indeed will waft through parts of Gowanus... the South Slope, Sunset Park and Red Hook." In 2008, the Department of Environmental Conservation issued a permit valid until 2013 for the facility, and in April and May of this year, numerous bid opportunities to refurbish the structure were published online. Today, construction has not yet begun at the facility, which remains a quiet refuge on this polluted industrial waterway.

Solitary Dumptruck

Safety Blocks

Abandoned Exhaust System

The Dropoff

View to Dumptrucks

Northern Barge Bay

Southern Barge Bay

On The Gowanus

The Harlem River: "New York's Forgotten Waterfront"

July 24th, 2009 -

A forgotten two mile stretch of Manhattan waterfront property sits at the edge of industrial Inwood. Mostly hidden from sight behind chainlink fences and razorwire, this section of the Harlem River is surprisingly accessible. From the Broadway Bridge to Swindler Cove, the riverbanks are riddled with hidden beaches, pocket parks, fishing holes, crumbling piers. forgotten inlets, and abandoned boathouses. These hidden spaces border a maze of MTA railyards, Sanitation buildings and bus depots.

The Harlem River tidal straight connects the Hudson River and the East River. Eight miles long, it is spanned by 15 bridges, most of which connect Manhattan to the Bronx. Its waters are navigated by New York's famed Circle Line and are bordered by busy transportation routes like the Harlem River Drive, the Major Deegan Expressway and the Metro-North Railway.

Yet despite supporting this huge amount of daily traffic, the Harlem River was dubbed "New York’s Forgotten Waterfront” by the Columbia University historic preservation program. Their 2004 report states that "while the Hudson and East Rivers are commonly recognized for the grandeur of their scenery and structures, the Harlem River figures less prominently in the collective consciousness of New Yorkers." The report goes on say that "as other parts of Manhattan’s waterfront become increasingly homogenized... The Harlem River... remains a heterogeneous stretch of old industrial buildings, parks infrastructure and residential developments."

For other photos from this expedition, visit The Vacant Beat and Something Found.

Broadway Bridge Fishing Hole

Dead End Street

Fisherman's Perch

University Heights Bridge Mattress

Umbrella Pit

Boathouse Ruins

Abandoned Pier and Boathouse


Shelves and Cove

Empty Bar and Restaurant

Cutty Sark

Tiki Bar

Sailing Ship