Berenice Abbott, Warehouse (Yuban), Water and Dock Streets, Brooklyn, New York, May 22, 1936
Located in the part of Brooklyn that is now called DUMBO, the Empire Stores warehouse once housed the Yuban Coffee Company, importers of coffee from South America. The structure was part of a once-bustling waterfront that had already experienced steep declines by the 1930s. Abbott photographed the building as part of her Changing New York series, only a few years before Yuban vacated the premises in 1939.
While much has changed in the surrounding area, the Empire Stores warehouse sits very much as it did in the 1930s, despite 70 years of disuse. Today the structure is surrounded by some of Brooklyn’s most important cultural institutions—St. Ann’s Warehouse, Galapagos Art Space, powerHouse books—but as of yet no one has come up with a plan to repurpose the historic structure.
The building is now part of The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Endangered Buildings Initiative.