David Allee Explores Brooklyn's Abandoned Domino Sugar Factory

David Allee Explores Brooklyn's Abandoned Domino Sugar Factory

In 2012, photographer David Allee was given permission to explore and photograph the abandoned Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photographing for over a year, Allee covered the 90,000 square foot factory, documenting the abandoned equipment, graffiti, and pervasive sugary residue, describing the smell of the factory as “crème-brûlée mixed with mold and rot.”

The Domino Sugar Factory was built in 1882 and was, at one time, the largest sugar refinery in the world, processing over half the sugar consumed in the United States. After a 20-month labor strike in 2002, the plant two years later and has sat abandoned ever since. Allee says his series seeks to convey the complicated, and sometimes difficult, history of the factory; “There is this obvious evidence and physical residue of the messy, chaotic, and seemingly violent process of refining sugar…there was a visceral sense that the work that took place here was torturous.” Ironically, he says, “everything is literally sugar coated.”








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This spring, a one-and-a-half billion dollar redevelopment plan was approved by the City Council, meaning that a large portion of the factory’s complex will be torn down to make way for new buildings. The central refinery will remain intact; being renovated to house office space.

All images used with permission.

Via [The New Yorker]

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James Nedresky's picture

Back in the 80's (pre-photography) I had a studio in an abandoned turn of the century brewery that felt and looked much like this. But this place is truly incredible! Great that they allowed pictures like these to be shot before much of it gets torn down. Pre-high tech industry meant that everything was built to withstand most anything, except time. Great shots.

So you ran a hieroglyphics studio?...

I've spent way too many hours in here. Domino Corp. sent me a stapler/letter opener for making this stop motion in there - https://vimeo.com/61254689


Does anyone know if you can access the site without having to break in? I'd like to go check it out but dont wanna be arrested

Lee Germeroth's picture

Those are some sweet photos! *Ba dum dum tisk* haha But seriously they are great! I love photographing decrepit and falling apart structures.

Just think, that place was a roach den probably since it opened.