Saturday, September 18, 2010

Photo Essay: Inside Governors Island

After years of skulking around the perimeter of the island and the exterior of its structures, I finally got inside Governors Island today for unprecedented access to a handful of its abandoned buildings.

This is Part One in a three-part series of photos inside Governors Island's now-abandoned ghost town, once occupied by the Coast Guard, whose lawns are now littered with rented bicycles, wedding guests, performance artists, and trapeze students.

These photos are from a variety of structures throughout the island.

The subsequent parts in the series will include more detailed studies of the Officer's Club and the movie theater.

When the island shut down and was vacated in 1994, cleaning crews came in to remove the bulk of the garbage. Fortunately for me, they - and the other maintenance workers and janitors since - didn't take everything, and abandoned buildings have a way of getting dirty even if no one is using them. Paint peels unprovoked. Roofs leak, causing ceilings to shed onto floors and seats below. Mold prospers. Wires unravel. Metal rusts. Gravity takes hold.


Building 12, Section P, top floor


outside Bldg 12, Sec P


Bldg 12, Sect I



Bldg 12, Sect I



Bldg 12, Sect I



Bldg 12, Sect H



Bldg 12, Sect H



Admiral's House (a.k.a. General's House, a.k.a. Commanding Officer's House)



St. Cornelius Chapel



St. Cornelius Chapel


As busy as the park itself is, with long lines for bike rentals and ice cream and ferries to and from the island, it's quiet inside the buildings. The cool, moist harbor wind blows hard outside, and the sun streams harshly though window panes, but there is stillness in the shadows.

Stay tuned for more.

To become a fan on Facebook, click here.