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You'd Better Stop and Rebuild All Your Ruins
May 10, 2012 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Two photo galleries of abandoned buildings on Ellis Island.
posted by mattdidthat (19 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
And this.
posted by mareli at 12:39 PM on May 10, 2012


From MeFi's Own nycscout!
posted by jillithd at 12:49 PM on May 10, 2012


And, um, this Project.
posted by jillithd at 12:50 PM on May 10, 2012


In a city where land is so precious, it's amazing to me that a square foot anywhere it allowed to sit with rotting buildings on it. I can't imagine housing here, obviously, but surely a mixed use that provided the funding and drive to keep buildings from collapsing would be possible?
posted by 1adam12 at 12:51 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very cool.
posted by chococat at 12:57 PM on May 10, 2012


Saw this in Projects yesterday and was blown away. I like the idea of preserving the buildings as ruins, like Eastern State Penitentiary.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:01 PM on May 10, 2012


Those are really great, beautiful pictures, and that's a particularly interesting writeup in the first link. However, it brings to mind a quibble I've had with preservationists since childhood, taking tours of landmarks run by the Park Service in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Wherefore "would have been?" Time and again, the phrase is used in reference to an item which was actually used for a described purpose, or a place where the events described actually took place. Why not "was?"

I don't want to distract from the great post here, and the awesome photos in the links. But every time I read or hear "would have been" I expect the logical conclusion, "were it not for [some disruptive event]." Oh, changing language, how you confuse my childish heart.

Just a cry in the wilderness; please carry on and don't let my wailing keep you from appreciating these great projects.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:04 PM on May 10, 2012


Welcome back Matt!
posted by special-k at 1:28 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


In a city where land is so precious, it's amazing to me that a square foot anywhere it allowed to sit with rotting buildings on it.

Also see Governor's Island. Although no one seems very interested in preserving those old buildings.
posted by smackfu at 1:29 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been to Ellis Island twice and both times thought that they should restore and sell those abandoned buildings for people to live in. That little island would be a totally cool place to live!
posted by 13twelve at 1:45 PM on May 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


special-k: "Welcome back Matt! "

Uh, and he disabled his account already?
posted by schmod at 2:00 PM on May 10, 2012


hah, I had *just* finished taking some UK visitors to Ellis island.

Fun fact: Going to Ellis Island is a lot like going to Ellis Island, all lines and security checks and heaving seas and bad food.
posted by The Whelk at 2:14 PM on May 10, 2012


Just because one claims their account is disabled doesn't make it so.
posted by item at 2:28 PM on May 10, 2012


Uh, and he disabled his account already?

No, he just put that in the about section. If it were actually disabled it would be at the top (to the right of the username).

posted by special-k at 3:25 PM on May 10, 2012


Yeah, don't get me started on Governor's Island. When there are so many people in NYC who can't afford decent housing, tearing hundreds of usable units down to provide rubble to build two hills in a park is criminal. Put that on the deal between the Feds and New York, which provided deed restrictions barring the site from being used for permanent housing.
posted by 1adam12 at 3:44 PM on May 10, 2012


Also see Governor's Island. Although no one seems very interested in preserving those old buildings.
posted by smackfu


Former (twice) Governors Island resident here. By and large, the housing the Army and USCG used on the island was crap. Its truly no loss to see it coming down, use for FDNY burn training, etc. All the important historical buildings are being preserved and even some of the housing I lived in (Building 12 - which was mediocre, even new) are still around. I sure don't like all of what's being developed on the island and how its become a concert venue and crappy seasonal art park... but all in all, the island will have a new life while preserving the important parts of the past.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:16 PM on May 10, 2012


posted by special-k Welcome back Matt!

Thanks, you too!

posted by mattdidthat at 7:48 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


About 7 years ago I got to work on a master plan for trying to save these buildings. The idea was to turn them into a hotel conference center. Needless to say it didn't happen but it was great to tour the island and see all the weird spaces. My favorite building, and where I argued the hotel should actually go, was the large building behind the great hall. You can see it next to the water tower in the bird's eye shot. It is freaking huge, is in decent shape, and has amazing views of the tip of Manhattan. It was where they held your luggage and gave you a meal before shipping you west- if you were one of the lucky ones who passed the physical at the Golden Door and got the AOK to be processed in the Great Hall. I also learned that the whole "first stop in America thing" was false- ships would first stop at Manhattan to let off the 1st class passengers then double back to Ellis to process the rest.
posted by T10B at 6:38 AM on May 11, 2012


There's also Stephen Wilkes' photography of the abandoned parts of Ellis Island prior to the stabilization efforts.
posted by gladly at 12:55 PM on May 14, 2012


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