Pretty, Vacant: A Slideshow of Abandoned New York

"Pretty, Vacant: A Slideshow of Abandoned New York"

In October 2009, I was invited by the Open City Dialogue lecture series to present a selection of my photographs of abandoned New York. In a presentation titled "Pretty, Vacant: A Slideshow of Abandoned New York," I traced the evolution of my photography of New York City, beginning with the San Francisco Navy Yard, which has long been a source of inspiration. The presention explored Red Hook and Brooklyn's industrial waterfront, before expanding out into a variety of sites around Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens.

The lecture was previewed by Time Out New York, which described the photographs as "eye-opening (and sublimely beautiful)." The lecture was also a pick of The NY Times, which wrote "photographer Nathan Kensinger is an inveterate trespasser, climbing around the city’s abandoned buildings and decaying waterfronts to chronicle them. His work... uncovers some of the last unseen parts of New York." In a related article, Flavor Pill wrote that these photos "evoke nostalgia for a New York that most of us never witnessed."

Please note: the slideshow above is a slightly condensed version of the original presentation, and does not include narration.


  1. this amazed me. i feel it in my chest. thanks.

  2. I have often felt there was beauty in these areas which others consider blighted or trashed. I love the doorways, the forms, the thought of what might have been and what once was...very thought provoking.

  3. thanks for posting this--i tried to go to the slideshow but by the time i got there the back room of the bar was literally too packed for me to fit through the doorway...

  4. thank you. the "renny" ballroom casino, bar downstairs on corner of 138 st and the movie house were part of my growing up. when they closed the movie house first, then the ballroom and lastly the bar a big part of the neighborhood died. your photos break my heart. i pray the ballroom will be restored.if that happens the ghost of that once beautiful place will rest in peace.