Inside the Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg

Refinery Interior_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3459

The cavernous interior of the Domino Sugar Refinery’s Raw Sugar Warehouse.

Situated on an eleven-acre parcel of waterfront in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge, the derelict Domino Sugar Refinery remains one of the most recognized monuments of Brooklyn’s rapidly disappearing industrial past. Now, after a decade of false starts, new plans for a modern, mixed-use megacomplex may put an end to the decaying colossus that was once the largest refinery in the world, marking the final passage of a working-class Williamsburg.

In its final moments, the Domino Sugar Refinery slips further into a speedy decay, introducing an element of the exotic to an already unfamiliar environment. Some of the alien interiors are coated with shallow puddles of tar, or dark sugar byproducts rendered the consistency of glue, or apple crisp. Others take on the appearance of an Egyptian temple in the impenetrable darkness, with row upon row of columns supporting the chasm of a vacant warehouse. Tinged aquamarine, the peeling factory floors of the packaging plant might be confused for the barnacled mechanisms of a sunken ship.  The complex is unnervingly immense, presenting a seemingly endless series of floors connected by lightless, labyrinthine staircases. Alone in a factory that once employed thousands, up against its unfathomable depths, it felt like being in the belly of the whale—except it didn’t take a miracle to get me out of there.

The next time you ride down the FDR Drive or traverse the Williamsburg Bridge, take a good look at the sprawling industrial giant that was the Domino Sugar Refinery; it won’t be long before it’s preened and polished into the marketably modern new New Domino—another of the city’s rough edges, smoothed over in favor of gleaming glass. Take a look below at photos inside the Domino Sugar Refinery from AbandonedNYC and read more about the new redevelopment plans by ShoP Architects.

Domino Sugar Refinery_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3520

The landmark Domino Sugar Refinery building as it stands today.

Green Storage Cabinets_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3608

A storage room in the soon to be demolished packaging house.

Locker Room_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3581

This shadowy locker room looked like something out of a horror movie.

Office_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3527 copy

Inside an office space that overlooks the East River.

Eyewash_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3507

An eyewash station in the interior of the factory.

Loading Bay_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3535

A decrepit loading bay of the abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery.

Silos_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3544

Empty sugar silos rust in the abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery complex.

Handtruck_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3524

This handtruck may have been leaning in this spot for a decade.

Packaging Plant Exterior_New York_Untapped Cities_Will Ellis_3613

A view of the Domino Sugar Refinery complex from the roof of the packaging house.

See more photos of New York City abandonments on AbandonedNYC.com, and check out the Abandoned NYC Facebook page.

One Comment