Revisiting a ‘haunted castle’ 30 years later

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When I hear “Domino Park,” I think of the small park on SW 8th Street in Miami, where the old Cuban men play dominoes, but there’s a new Domino Park in Brooklyn. It’s the site of the old Domino Sugar refinery.  They created a new park and ultra modern condos are going up along the park, you can see it in the rendering above.

What I love about Domino Park is the old, haunted? Domino plant itself. You can see it in the photo below and you can see it sort of renovated above. Apparently they are going to leave most of it alone. It was built in 1856. Domino Park will redefine the neighborhood just as Gantry Plaza Park redefined the Long Island City waterfront a hop skip and a canoe ride up the river. I visited Domino Park this week with my cousin Roni we checked out the neighborhood and had lunch. This is near where I was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a quite different place than the Brooklyn of years ago.

I love this old building in all its decreptness and always have since the day I came upon it in the mid 1980s. I was lost in Brooklyn and ended up right in front of the plant. It was blacker then, full of soot and scarier and bigger. I turned the block and there it was, all Harry Potter-like. I didn’t know what it was but I was intrigued. I couldn’t get in, but the front gates were open and I stared at it for awhile. I’ve thought of it so many times over the years and each time we passed it when on the Circle Line boat ride or on a Ferry, I would stare at it, imagining the inside.

Now thirty years later, I’ll be able to go into the old building, in what looks like an glass-enclosed bar/restaurant on the roof. That part is not complete yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I feel the old plant is haunted. It sits right next to the Williamsburg Bridge and is so easy to get to, it’s right on the waterfront, a few blocks from the center of Williamsburg hipsterhood.

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Newsboy selling the NY Herald

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1910. Jerald Schaitberger 7 yrs. old, of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. as he helps to sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. Photo taken 9:30 P.M. on October 8, 1910.
Photo by Paul B. Schumm.

 

A moment in time

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Look at this photo. It’s Broadway in NYC, in 1902. I can stare at this photo for a long time and just sort of fall right into it.

I have to find another template for this blog so that the photos appear larger (if you click on the right mouse button and hit “open image in a new tag” it will open much larger), but anyway, look at the one guy closest to Santa. He looks to be about 25 or 30 years old, perhaps born in 1872 or 1875 and at the prime of life – dapper, cool, looks like he has money. I like how his pants cuff falls onto the shoe. And now he is gone. Dead.

This period in time captured here and “alive” forever, yet everyone in the photo is gone.

This looks to be near Macy’s. Isn’t that the New York Herald in the back left?