Ikea Rising

Ikea Rising

March 13, 2007 -

These photographs are part of a long-term project documenting the rapid transformation of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Once a lively industrial waterfront neighborhood, Red Hook has been swept up by a development boom which is parceling off Brooklyn's waterfront. The last vestiges of Red Hook's industrial heritage are currently being torn down, including the Todd Shipyard on Beard Street, which is the site of a new Ikea furniture store. For more photographs from this series, view the Revere Sugar Refinery, the Todd Shipyard and the Red Hook Grain Terminal, and read my award winning 2006 essay about Beard Street, Red Hook.

Underneath Ikea

Halleck and Otsego

Rocky - Wild Dog

Grain Terminal View

Ikea Rising

Brooklyn's Industrial Waterfront

In 2007, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Brooklyn's entire industrial waterfront at the top of their list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Places."

I have been documenting Brooklyn's industrial waterfront since 2003 in an ongoing series of photographs which cover the entire waterfront, from the Newtown Creek in the north down to Dead Horse Bay in the south. These photographs include views inside industrial landmarks that have been recently demolished, including the Kent Avenue Powerhouse, the Revere Sugar Refinery, and sections of the Greenpoint Terminal Market, as well as more humble structures like the Hamilton Avenue Marine Transfer Station and the North District 1 Sanitation Garage. They document historic structures that have been slated for demolition and development, including Admiral's Row, the Domino Sugar Refinery, and the Central Power Station of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (aka The Batcave). These photographs also provide a glimpse into the few remaining active industrial areas along the waterfront, including the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Individual photographs from this series have twice won awards from the Brooklyn Library - in 2006 and 2007 - and are a part of their permanent archive. In 2008, the Brooklyn Library exhibited a selection of photographs from this series in a solo show titled Twilight on the Waterfront: Brooklyn's Vanishing Industrial Heritage, while the Brooklyn Museum included a selection in Click! - an exhibit about the changing face of Brooklyn. In 2009, the UnionDocs Gallery exhibited a selection of these photographs in a solo show titled Abandoned Brooklyn. In 2010, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts exhibited a selection of these photographs in a show titled The Gentrification of Brooklyn. Photographs from this series have been published in the New York Times newspaper and were featured in two photo essays I wrote for the NY Times website, in The Local and the NY Region sections.

For more information on this series, please contact me at thegowanus[at]yahoo[dot]com