Fun pictures of New York City


Now think on this for a moment. NYC has some of the world’s most expensive real estate. How fucked up does the planning system have to be to leave vast swathes of land like this abandoned?

10 thoughts on “Fun pictures of New York City”

  1. bloke (not) in spain

    Looking through the pics, the majority of the sites seem to have been in the public sector. Maybe that’s your answer.

    There’s one image of Brooklyn’s Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay shore. Puts me in mind of the Thames. It’s the same at Wapping. Everything you’re walking on is history’s detritus. Took a Brooklyner for a stroll along there at low tide & she tuned up a perfect medieval pot. Just lying there surrounded by broken clay pipes & oyster shells. Oh she did go home chuffed.

  2. They are hardly “vast swathes” – it’s a building here, a space there. Most of them aren’t in Manhattan (or commutable parts of Brooklyn), which is where NYC’s high-value property is concentrated.

    There are some interesting stories behind them though. The abandoned building of Public School 182 has been owned by a non-profit for the last 29 years, and charities don’t pay New York’s swingeing property taxes. I’d hazard a guess that the same applies to the hospital with its abandoned building. Some of the others are used, just not for their original purposes – there’s a theatre being used by a furniture company as their stockroom. The “Gowanus Batcave” site has environmental issues: any interested developers are waiting to see if the government coughs up clean-up money. So yes, that’s one failure of government. Most of the rest are undergoing redevelopment.

    As we all know, slap a land value tax on all land (including that held by charities, by the public sector, etc.) and it’ll concentrate minds wonderfully.

  3. Bloke No Longer In Austria

    I saw Sharknado 2 on TV last week. I was appalled at NYC’s lack or preparedness for such a disaster, so this just confirms the City’s poor administration.
    I bet they aren’t ready for a Zombie Apocalypse either.

  4. Yes, it’s an odd mixture.

    The first one, Northern Brother Island, doesn’t have bridge links and is now owned by the local government as a bird sanctuary. A bridge or tunnel would require a lot of expense for a relatively small site.

    The second, Letchworth village, is New York State not City and seems to be a fairly low-development area.

    Then, as others said, a former school, owned by a charity for nearly 30 years, they did try to redevelop but were stopped by building conservation campaigners.

    The Harlem Ballroom has been owned for decades by the Abyssinian Baptist Church.

    The “homemade submarine” sounds fun.

    The “batcave” is “on the shore of the notoriously toxic Gowanus Canal”.

    The factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – it seems that was a very run-down area with low property prices until the last decade, so not surprising that redevelopment is only recently taking off. Chunks of London like that, round the City Road for example.

    Staten Island Farm Colony – public sector (a former poorhouse), they tried to redevelop it but were stopped by environmental campaigners, now “greenbelt”.

    Creedmoor State Hospital – public sector again – declining loony-bin – they’ve sold off large parts for redevelopment but not all of it.

    Grossinger’s Catskills Resort – New York State, a long way from the City.

    So a mixture of public sector owners where they’ve been over-influenced by anti-development campaigners, what look like rather incompetent charities, difficult redevelopment sites, slow reaction to changing demographics and a few thrown in that are a long way from the City and so don’t have anything like its land value.

    Fascinating though; I wonder what could be done similarly for London?

  5. Bloke No Longer In Austria – I bet they aren’t ready for a Zombie Apocalypse either.
    In NYC? Who’d notice if there was one?

  6. What Richard says. But it’s also partially a consequence of wealth. London didn’t need rubbish collectors until sometime in the 1800s because everything was put to use. Except for dead dogs that is – they were chucked in the Houndsditch.

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