Hauntingly beautiful. That’s what I think when I pass old abandoned buildings. When a building begins to fall apart. When people decide to stop caring for it. When it finally succumbs to the elements, I can’t help but be a little sad. Old beautiful buildings that are falling apart have a history. They’ve seen things that we modern humans running around on our cellphones and typing way on our computers can only wish we had been there to see. I think of that whenever I see a picture of the old train station in Detroit or a crumbling castle from Europe. If those walls could talk. What’s amazing about a building though is that even without a mouth it talks. The beautiful architecture, even the decay tells a bit of a story. Walking through an abandoned, slowing collapsing building is probably the last place you’d ever find me, because quite honestly I don’t want to be one of those bizarre pathetic pieces you hear on the evening news–“a 26-year-old fell through the floors of an abandoned building on Tuesday after being frightened by a large rat which led her to shriek, which caused a loose brick to hit her on the head”–so I prefer to stare at these buildings from the safety of the sidewalk and frantically snap away on my camera, because even the outside of the building has something to say.
In New York of course nothing stays abandoned forever. It’s torn down or converted to something brilliant, maintaining at least some of the story that makes the place special. Famously in Brooklyn is the Empire Stores Warehouses in DUMBO. The building itself hearkens back to the manufacturing and industrial glory age of the City. But, as the neighborhood continues to get a face-lift, converting old abandoned warehouses into shops, cafes, and more, this once great coffee megalopolis–and the only surviving brick storehouse in Brooklyn–will also be getting a new purpose. And supposedly soon. So while, you can’t gawk at it from the inside or crawl through the maze of halls and rooms that it use to be, the shell of the building will continue to have a purpose and a life. It will go from hauntingly beautiful, in the decrepit state so many have become accustomed, to just another cool building in DUMBO.