Sugar and the Brooklyn Waterfront

From the New York Sun

The Waterfront That Sugar Built
Abroad in New York
August 16, 2007

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently named Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront as one of the 11 most endangered historic sites in America — a fact I noted in this column a few weeks ago.

The postwar decline of New York Harbor’s waterborne commerce and its associated industries led to a wholesale reimagining of the waterfronts that once were the very lifeblood of the city’s economy. Consequently, the physical heritage of the industrial past — tangible reminders of what made New York great in the first place, as well as buildings of often remarkable architectural quality — appears fated to disappear, hence the concern of the National Trust.

Much attention focuses now on the Domino sugar-refining complex just north of the Williamsburg Bridge. Advocates of preservation believe that the complex, or parts of it, deserves landmark designation and that the owners might adaptively reuse the buildings in interesting and socially beneficial ways. Others contend that while some small part of the complex might be worthy of designation, we ought not let obsolete structures stand in the way of new uses better suited to New York’s needs of today.

The Waterfront Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint and Williamsburg makes the case for the preservation of Domino, and provides a wealth of information about the plant, at

Posted Under: Brooklyn, Waterfront Development, Williamsburg

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