This video profiles Red Hook’s semi-abandoned grain elevator. The enormous structure was built in 1922, just in time to become obsolete. Ports in New Jersey and further south were able to store and ship grain much cheaper than New York and use of New York’s canal system was already in decline due to improvements in road and rail infrastructure which made transporting goods over land a cheaper option. It was in use (at a loss for the most part) until 1965. In the 90’s locals used it like a park in summer, taking advantage of the stunning views from the roof of Brooklyn, the Hudson bay, Ellis Island and Manhattan.
I wish it was still used as a local hang-out as it really is amazing up there but today it is fenced of completely, the area around it being used as parking and storage space for trucks and shipping containers – the same technology that made the grain elevator obsolete.
When I collected the footage used for this video I envisioned it being used as part of a larger piece about the area where a narrator would talk over images giving context and creating some sort of narrative (I had been watching Patrick Keiller and Chris Marker films). I found however that narration disrupted the experience of the images and never quite said the right thing. This lead me to use sound as a way of juxtaposing the buildings past with its current state of abandonment.