Sunset Park: Empire Electric

December 16, 2009 -

Built in 1892 as a power plant for the Brooklyn City Railroad Company, this stately red brick warehouse has survived for 117 years in Sunset Park. It was sold to Empire Electric - a distribution and repair company for electric parts - in 1951, according to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and has been abandoned since at least 1998. The entire roof of the structure was reported "missing" in 2002 by the Department of Buildings. Inside, trees, reeds, berries, ferns and moss have clawed out footholds. Layers of graffiti create indecipherable murals on the walls.

Though stripped down to an impressive skeleton, this warehouse appears to be structurally sound. Exposed steel ribs support huge hoisting apparatus and massive pillars are anchored in stepped-pyramid concrete foundations. Despite its appearance of permanence, the future of this historic structure remains unclear. In 2004, the local community board voted in support of buying and demolishing the building to make way for a nearby park at Bush Terminal. Multiple signs outside offer the building for sale.

For more photo essays from Brooklyn's Sunset Park please visit Bush Terminal (2007), the Brooklyn Army Terminal (2008), the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (2009), S & S Machinery (2010) and the 68th Police Precinct (2011).


Steel Ribs


Roof Shards

Fern, Graffiti, Staircase










  1. Thanks so much for posting this series of images, Nathan. Each one says so much.

  2. This series leaves such a beautiful lasting impression!

  3. these are great photos - thanks. Some guys showed us how to get into this warehouse to take photos - it really was amazing at sunset, and the graffiti was superb.

  4. Nice collection! Can I post a few on ?

  5. This place was the training facility for the armed Merchant Marine seaman during WWII. Commerce ships were outfitted with naval guns to ward off U-boat attacks. Down the block by the sanitation truck garage, there is a yardarm/flagpole from the WWI era USS Brooklyn.

  6. I have resided 3 blocks away from empire electric for 5 years and it recently has caught my attention when I observed graffiti on the outside since I am a fellow graffiti artist. I found a way in and explored the place. I fell in love. The graffiti was all faded and the good ones were gone over by scribble scrabble. So me and my graffiti friends planned to beautify the factory with huge murals. Which I recommend you,nathan. To go back and see what magic and life we have put into that building. Its a whole new vibe with vast murals with characters and amazing colors. When I went there the vibe was just old and forgotten. As soon as you step in you feel the excitment and the life it has now. We completely covered every inch of that factory with muralsssss!!!!!! Don't believe me go check it out. I recommend everyone to gooooo asap.

  7. Unfortunately this building will not likely be around much longer. My company is currently working with the NYSDEC to conduct a cleanup of known contamination at the site. This cleanup may very well end in the destruction of this building. I was at the property last week and documented much of the artwork. I posted the pictures to my Instagram account at GAVINO10478. Feel free to view the pics there. It will be a shame that pictures may be all that remains of this beautiful artwork and historic building.