I have this list of about 20 abandoned places on Long Island I want to photograph. I did the Bayshore roller rink last month, and now I finally got to the Brooklyn Water Works building.
You can view the whole set here. I’ll be adding more.
July 27, 2008
Brooklyn Water Works, Freeport, Long Island
I had been wanting to photograph this for the longest time; you can see the ruins from the Long Island Rail Road right before the Baldwin station and every time we passed it I would say, let’s go there. So today, we finally went.
I had assumed there would be no way in and we’d have to climb a fence or duck through a hole somewhere, but what I didn’t know is that the building backs up to the Brookside Preserve. We just walked down to the preserve opening, took the trail around to the building and lo and behold, right behind the creek, the fence around the building just stops, as if in mid sentence. We were free to roam.
This used to be the Brooklyn Water Works Building. According to the Nassau County website:
"The Brooklyn Water Works Building, which stands just south of the preserve, was constructed from 1889-91 according to a plan by a well-known Romanesque architect of the time, Frank Freeman. Water was supplied via a conduit to Brooklyn from 1891 until the mid-1950s, when New Yotk City began relying solely on the reservoirs in the city’s northern suburbs."
The building was in operation until the 70′s, when the County bought it. The county then sold it to a developer who was going to turn it into condos. In 1985 there was a fire which destroyed most of inside of the structure (you can still see remnants of that fire in the ruins). It was then sold in 1986 to someone who wanted to turn it into a nursing home. As far as I know, the County once again bought the land, but I can’t find any news item that says what they had planned, if anything, to do with it.
I love abandoned buildings and that this one goes back to the 1800′s makes it even better. I usually get a feel for the place, I soak up the aura the past has left and imagine what it was like when the building was in use all those years ago. However, the beer cans and graffiti really take away from that.
Here is a photo of how it looked in the past.
More pictures later.