Every so often a photoshoot location comes along that just blows me away – either for its history, its beauty, or in the best-case scenario its combination of both. We were lucky enough to find a truly stunning one for our BT Men shoot, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share a little bit of history about this place with you here.

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The space shown in these photos  is situated on the top floor of one of what was originally 16 industrial buildings dotting the waterfront along the East River in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Originally called the “Greenpoint Terminal Market”, this complex of 19th century buildings was once an industrial juggernaut, housing multiple maritime warehouse operations, including the American Manufacturing Company – then the largest manufacturer of maritime rope in the entire country.

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At its peak, the Market employeed over 2,500 workers and spanned 6 city blocks. Walking through some of the now-abandoned spaces really got my mind wandering. I love imagining the sights, sounds, and lives that occupied this space during that period.

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In 2006, the complex was engulfed in one of the worst fires in NYC’s recent history – the “five alarm” blaze required 350 firefighters and 70 individual units to extinguish. Much of the complex that stretches along sleepy West Street was destroyed in the fire and soon after demolished. Those few buildings that did survive, however, have been given new life through the help of artists and entrepeneuers who have repurposed many of the spaces as studios or business start-up locations.

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Shooting in this space was a true pleasure and gave my nerdy, NYC-historian side some serious research material to geek out over.

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If you’d like to read more about the history of the Greenpoint Terminal Market (or some of its more recent real estate scandals) – check out this wonderful article from Atlas Obscura.