July 29th, 2010 -
The San Francisco Naval Shipyard was declared a Superfund Site in 1989 and is a now a 936-acre dead zone on the San Francisco Bay. Accordingly, it has long been a source of inspiration for my photography. There are many strange things to see in the yard, which is also known as the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. It contains the remains of both the former "World's Tallest Industrial Escalator" and the former "World's Largest Crane." It houses an abandoned diner located across from an abandoned cryptology & periscope building. Gamma radiation is seeping up from the ground and unknown pesticides are floating in the air, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
One of the strangest things inside the shipyard is the abandoned San Francisco Police Athletic Club. Also known as Building 120, this was once a canteen and enlisted men's club, according to the SF Planning Department. As recently as 2002, it was a thriving boxing gym, home to a "stable of amateur fighters," according to SF Weekly. Today, however, the building feels like a sealed time capsule from 1985. Out back, there is an empty swimming pool and a rotting Tiki bar. Inside, dozens of dusty weight lifting machines have been left to rust. An old arcade game sits next to a full-sized bar. Military posters line the walls. Several rowboats sit near a crowded work station. The floor is littered with certificates and badges from The Widows' and Orphans' Aid Association of the Police Department.
Its not clear when the Police Athletic Club was closed down or what the future of the building will be. This past Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to move forward on a massive redevelopment plan for the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The plan "calls for 10,500 residential units, along with 320 acres of parks and open space," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Much of what remains in the shipyard will be demolished.
For more photographs from the shipyard, click here.
July 29th, 2010 -
July 23, 2010 -
The Paymaster Building is a humble two-story structure inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Also known as Building 121, it was "built in 1899 to serve as a bank for military and civilian personnel at the Yard," according to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC). More recently, the building was home to the Rose Solomon Company, which manufactured Jewish burial shrouds. Known as Tachrichim, these shrouds are "white and entirely hand-stitched" and "swaddle the entire body, including the face, so that the deceased is both clothed and protected against the gaze of other people," according to Wikipedia. The Rose Solomon Company was at least 100 years old, according to one Jewish funeral website, and sold "Israel dirt" for $2 a bag.
Today, the Paymaster Building is nearly empty, with few reminders from its manufacturing past. The BNYDC has been gutting many of its historic industrial buildings in recent years, including Building 1 and Building 128. In 2007, the Paymaster Building was scheduled for "a gut renovation," according to The New York Sun, as well as a "restoration of the building's historic exterior." It will soon house the offices of SurroundArt, an art handling business located at the nearby Perry Building, an award-winning new "green" structure that has "a wind turbine... a high-performance thermal envelope, waterless urinals, a storm-water harvesting system, a natural ventilation system and recycled materials," according to the Brooklyn Eagle. "The aging 19th-century Brooklyn Navy Yard is being renovated and readapted to serve as a green manufacturing center," according to NY1, but it remains unclear if the Paymaster Building will also be transformed into a "green" structure.
For more photoessays from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, click here.