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The RKO Keith

The RKO Keith is one of NYC’s most infamous abandoned buildings.

Located at a main intersection in ‘downtown’ Flushing, Queens, The RKO Keith has stood abandoned and severely neglected for well over 20 years now – a fact that is almost surreal given its prime location and current real estate value (assessed at $2.5 Million in 2013 – Rated as worth $5.6 Million by PropertyShark – and recently sold for $30 Million).

Built in 1927, the theater originally opened as the ‘Keith Albee Vaudeville Theater, though it was soon simplified to ‘RKO Keith’. It cost $750,000 to build and it was run as a ‘subscription house’ – whereby patrons would acquire a subscription of season tickets.

Slowly the RKO Keith fell on hard times. According to the NY Times “…by … [ read more ]

New York Dock

Red Hook contained one of NYC’s tallest abandoned industrial buildings, with one of the best graffiti galleries and a rooftop view unparalleled in awesomeness. Today, it is being converted into apartments.

The New York Dock building at 160 Imlay street is one of two twin warehouse buildings. It was built in 1912 for the New York Dock Railway, and utilized for the storage of goods that came in via ship and were subsequently shipped out via truck and rail. (NY Dock was a railway with terminal tracks on the Brooklyn waterfront – those tracks came right up to the rear of this building).

As is often the case, Brownstoner has a nice writeup about this building’s history. The original tenant for this building was Montgomery Ward, the first mail order company in the united States (the … [ read more ]

FR8 Chronicles 16 – Island Stomp 2

Benching freights allllllll day.

Abandoned 1925 vintage Staten Island Rapid Transit car 353 – 2003.

In 2003 me and Rebel SC came across this very long abandoned Staten Island Rapid Transit car.

According to some transit fans, this ME-1 type subway car had been left rotting in the abandoned ‘Travis’ freight yard along the West Shore Expressway. It had sat there since at least 1973 (being the year that Staten Island’s old subway cars were replaced with R-44 cars). For many years there were 2 other ME-1 cars with it – the 388 (which was eventually moved to Brandford and 366, which is preserved at Seashore. There was also a small locomotive whose current whereabouts are unknown (I believe it was a switcher for the nearby power plant – it was last … [ read more ]

5 Pointz Explored

5 pointz. It’s more than just a name of a building in Long Island City. It is an idea, a symbol, and unfortunately, soon to be nothing but a memory. As explorers, it was our sworn duty to explore and document its interiors before it was gone. As an L.I.C. native with a lifetime love of graffiti, there was no way in hell I would be stopped. Before I get into our unabated hours of adventure in 5 pointz, let me drop the history for anyone that doesn’t know.

This building began life as the Neptune Meter Company – a company that manufactured water meters at this location until the early 1970s (check out the link for the full Neptune history – it’s awesome nerd candy). After they vacated, the building became home to a variety of small businesses and “the crane street (art) studios”. Food carts were stored & serviced towards the rear of the building, while artists studios shared much of the space … [ read more ]

Certified Concrete, L.I.C.

Certified Concrete owned a ready mix plant in LIC, ‘Under the Kosciuszko Bridge’ according to the NY Times.

Unlike Certified’s other locations, the L.I.C. property was either bought by or rented out by a construction company well over a decade ago. Over the years this company cleared out much of the ready-mix production facilities, though at the western edge of the property one might find this large aggregate sifter – which is the most noticeable relic from this properties ready-mix history.

Pulp Fixion 14 & 15

Here’s a double, sry 4 delay.

[ read more ]

Canadian National Railway Camp Cars in the Bronx

Under a highway in the Bronx, one might find this curious set of seemingly abandoned railroad cars. These aren’t just any railroad cars though.

These two cars were part of a ‘work train’, tasked with repairing railroad tracks. Such equipment isn’t uncommon on railroads, but these two are unique in a variety of ways.

First up, they are painted for ‘Canadian National’ – a railroad that doesn’t come close to NYC. The boxcar is a very old, modified 40 foot boxcar (modern boxcars are far longer these days). One end has been equipped with a doorway. While the car was empty, it is labeled ‘Welding Car’ on the side – which of course explains it’s role as a enclosed, rolling welding shed.

The second car is the one that really brings the mystery on. It is a camp car. Camp cars are much like cabooses – most railroads have gotten rid of them. Where Cabooses were used for train crew comfort, camp cars were used as mobile hotels for track workers doing repairs in remote areas. Nearly every … [ read more ]

R28 cars 7926-7927 at Fresh Pond & Sunset Park in 2006

In the early 2000′s the Illinois Railway Museum bought two R28 ‘Redbird’ subway cars. By 2005 they were stored at the Cross Harbor yard in Sunset Park. Within a few months they were moved up Fresh Pond yard.

I’m not 100% sure why they were stored in either of these freight yards (perhaps they were going to be shipped out via rail, but were rejected for movement by the major railroads outside NYC), though they ultimately were shipped out via truck to the Museum – where they have been outfitted to draw power from an overhead trolley line, and restored to operational condition.

Before they left town, they sat on an old freight siding within the yard where ACC crew & SaneSmith caught up with them and tagged them up. The graffiti was painted over before the cars were loaded onto trucks and shipped out west in 2007.

FR8 Chronicles 15 – Island Stomp

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