The original Domino Sugar plant in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, New York, was built in 1856. By 1870, it processed more than half of the sugar used in the United States. In 1882, a fire completely destroyed the original building and it was rebuilt in brick and stone.
Finally, after a long struggle, the Domino Sugar Refinery, which was once the largest in the world, shut down in 2004. In 2013, the developers gave Brooklyn based photographer Paul Raphaelson exclusive access to the derelict refinery before demolition work began. He was the last photographer in the building and his book 'Brooklyn's Sweet Ruin' is a powerful record of a New York icon's final days.
As Domino Park opens, in the first phase of an ambitious project to redevelop part of the refinery and a substantial area of land surrounding it, it is fitting to share some of Raphaelson's photographs. Here, in all its colour and chaos, is a prime example of post-industrial America. But as we marvel at its past, we also celebrate its future.
New renderings also published here reveal the remarkable remodelling of the old sugar refinery's waterfront that is currently underway, and being led by Two Trees Management.
© 2017 Paul Raphaelson from the book: 'Brooklyn’s Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery' Photographs and text by Paul Raphaelson, Schiffer Publishing, amazon.com