Dec 7, 2008

Red Hook Grain Terminal

Saturday I spent a few hours in the Red Hook Grain Terminal in Brooklyn. It was chilly, but worth braving the cold for a chance to walk around in this amazing structure. The terminal hasn't held any grain in over 40 years and was still in remarkable shape, save for the small canal-side huts which have had the bottoms drop out from them. (I made my entrance into the terminal through this missing floor area while the early morning tide was out)


To describe the terminal, lets work our way up from the bottom. The ground floor is compiled of several pillars and in the ceiling are the bottoms of the numerous silos where unloading of the silage took place. The funnel shape of these "silo bottoms" reminded me of chameleon eyes - the center of them, like a pupil, pitch black with infinite depth. Peering up through the bottom of these silos, you're able to make out day light at the loading holes 10 stories above. Carefully walking up 10 stories on a rusty metal staircase will bring you to the next floor. On this floor there are holes, roughly 3' wide EVERYWHERE. To fall into these would mean certain death. A few grain carts are scattered here and there on a track system. It's clear that the grain was carted over to the silo of choice and then dumped. Taking another rusty metal stair case brings you to the main loading area. Here, there are two or three additional silos with pivoting troughs made for distributing grain into the grain carts on the floor below.

A frigid wind from the waterfront rattled corrugated tin and clanged swinging doors and piping. I only spent a few hours at this site. I had a great time being there and experiencing the atmosphere and left when I felt I'd sampled enough. I'm sure I'll go back again.

Here is a 3 minute video I put together from yesterday's venture:

3 comments:

zeytin said...

Incredible, the vastness of the building is incredible.

Seinberg said...

Chameleon eyes - totally. When you said that, that's immediately what I saw.

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Joan Stepsen
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