The 2008 Red Hook Film Festival

The 2nd annual Red Hook International Film Festival took place in October 2008. It was hosted by the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC) screening room and had free short films, free popcorn, and free Steve's Key Lime Pie. The complete schedule and awards for the festival can be seen here.

As the Festival Director, I made sure to include several great films about industrial New York, including "North Brother" - an exploration of abandoned North Brother Island in the East River, "City of Water" - a great film about the future of New York's waterways, and "Cave Flower" - a love story filmed inside The Batcave on the Gowanus Canal. The festival concluded with several films about old-school New York businesses, including an excerpt from "Counter/Culture" by talented photographers James and Karla Murray, and "Twilight Becomes Night" - a portrait of NYC's dying mom & pop businesses.

The Batcave

New York Waters

Wrigley Building - Rosebank, Staten Island

September 9th, 2008 -

The Wrigley Building is an abandoned 1917 chewing gum factory in Rosebank and part of Staten Island's historic chewing gum heritage. Modern chewing gum was invented on the island with the help of General Santa Ana, the former eleven-time President of Mexico. In 1869, while living in exile on the island, he sold a ton of Mexican chicle to local inventor Thomas Adams. Adams hoped to make rubber tires from the substance. Instead, he created chewing gum. By 1884, he had introduced the world's first flavored stick of gum - Black Jack - which opened the door for future chewing gum kings like the Wrigley Brothers.

The Wrigley Building, referred to in a recent New York Times article about Rosebank, was once used to process chicle. It is not clear when the factory was abandoned, but numerous reports of squatters living in the factory and "kids hanging out in it" date back to 1990. It is now empty, like the abandoned ice factory across the street and the color works nearby. As Rosebank's transformation from industrial to residential continues, this historic factory may soon become a condominium with "92 luxury units."

For further information on gum, read "Chewing Gum: An Unofficial History."