Bring To Light: The Forgotten City

On October 1st 2011, my photographs from inside the Greenpoint Terminal Market were projected onto the exterior of this warehouse complex in a site-specific installation titled "The Forgotten City." The piece took viewers through the hidden rooms and passages of these warehouses with a series of photographs taken between 2007 and 2011. The piece detailed the history of these buildings, which date back to 1890, and included stories of riots, explosions, fires and squatters. "The Forgotten City" was inspired by my original photo essay, "The Greenpoint Terminal Market Revisited," which was published on this website in November 2010.

This installation was a part of Bring To Light, an outdoor nighttime art festival of light-based video, sculpture and installations on the Greenpoint waterfront. Bring To Light included over 50 artists from around the world, "some of the established auteurs of this artistic genre... and a long list of emerging talent," according to Urban Omnibus. "The Omnibus team, proud civic partner of the event, is particularly excited to check out... the industrial photography of Nathan Kensinger."

Brooklyn Based wrote of the event "photographer Nathan Kensinger has a... interesting project planned for Bring To Light. He’s been taking photos along Greenpoint’s waterfront for years, and will be projecting images that he’s captured of the inside of the Greenpoint Terminal Market onto the side of one of its buildings tomorrow. 'The photographs were taken over the past five years, and will be presented along with the story of the buildings, which date back to 1890,' Kensinger wrote... 'They have a long, dark history: a century ago, a thousand workers rioted in the streets in front of the Greenpoint Terminal Market, in the same streets where Bring To Light will take place.'"

For more information, visit Bring To Light's website: The following are several photographs documenting the installation.

"The Forgotten City"
at Bring to Light (2011)

"The Forgotten City"
at Bring to Light (2011)

"The Forgotten City"
at Bring to Light (2011)

"The Forgotten City"
at Bring to Light (2011)

Governors Island: Manhattan's Ghost Town

September 21, 2011 -

Governors Island is a 172-acre ghost town on the southern shore of Manhattan. Covered in ruins, the island houses an impressive collection of abandoned structures, with empty apartment towers, homes, schools, churches, swimming pools and playgrounds. Half of the approximately 100 buildings on the island are in some state of decay, including a supermarket, auto body repair shop, movie theater and hospital. Many of the other buildings are controlled ruins, minimally cleaned up to allow limited public access. Walking through this deserted landscape is a surreal experience, especially when considering its close proximity to the bustling financial center of lower Manhattan.

After serving as a base for military operations for over 200 years, Governors Island was abandoned by the Coast Guard in 1996. The federal government sold most of the island to New York City for $1 in 2003. Today, Governors Island has come to resemble San Francisco's Alcatraz Island and Japan's Gunkanjima Island, with evocative off-limits ruins dominating the landscape while smaller sections are slowly reclaimed and opened to the public. Artists have been brought in to help colonize the wilderness, creating a variety of installations inside otherwise empty spaces. Often, they are appropriately post-apocalyptic - embalmed wildlife, metal skeletons, animal bones, zombie films. Despite these creative uses, many of the island's structures are slated for demolition, to make way for a public park. Some have been purposefully set ablaze by the fire department to "test new techniques."

These photographs were take between 2005 and 2011, after the island was opened to the public. They offer an update to a photo series from 2003-2004 titled "Governors Island: Photographs by Lisa Kereszi and Andrew Moore," a project commissioned by the Public Art Fund to document the deserted island before it was open to the public. Hundreds of thousands of people have visited Governors Island since it has been made accessible, but the ruins still remain.

For more photo essays from partially abandoned New York City islands, please visit The Encampment on Roosevelt Island (2007) and Ellis Island: South Side (2007).

Living Room (2005)

Rope Swing (2005)

Bulldozer Playground (2009)

Game Time (2009)

Bones (2009)

Fenced Off Homes (2009)

Fire Practice Tower (2011)

Coast Guard Bedroom (2011)

Empty Kitchen (2010)

Raccoon Island (2010)

Abandoned Classrooms (2008)

Blackboard (2008)

Dropped Ceiling (2008)

Hospital Kitchen (2011)

Box Office (2009)

Theater Lobby (2009)

Empty Theater (2009)

Church Interior (2009)

Hospital Lounge (2011)

Hospital Admissions (2011)

Staircase (2011)

Abandoned Hospital (2011)

Water's Edge (2010)