Inside the Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers, designed by the same architects as Grand Central
Frequent travelers on the Metro North’s Hudson line are familiar with the string of derelict and functioning factories, power plants, stone yards (and even a crumbling castle) along the route. Gaining access to explore the ruins seemed like an impossible dream that could only be realized by constant and frequent perusal of sites like Untapped Cities. The Glenwood Power Plant was initially covered by Untapped in 2012 and we immediately decided to fit the power station into our summer bike ride plans. Two summers later, we finally made it.
Upon receiving a commission by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad leadership, architects Charles Reed and Allen Stem designed the power station. Reed and Stem are the architectural team that designed Grand Central Terminal, the Yonkers Train Station and the abandoned Michigan Central Station in Detroit. Developer Ron Shemesh and his company Glenwood POH started the process of clearing and cleaning up Glenwood Power Plant in July of 2012, and by early November had officially announced plans to build a hotel and conference center all while leaving the integrity of the buildings and both smoke stacks intact. As of August 2012, construction was slated for 2014 completion.
“It’s going to be a huge convention center!” said the Metro North train conductor as we gazed at the façade of the abandoned power plant in front of us. Scaling the fence to gain access took no time at all and once we were on the property it was obvious that construction crews had been there in the very recent past. Lots of boots, work gloves and random pieces of machinery were strewn about the place.
Undeterred, we entered the main building and spent the next five hours exploring every poorly lit corner and water logged alcove, some that were safe and others that weren’t so safe. A lot of things have changed since construction began. Whole floors and walkways had been removed along with most of the actual turbines. Be very careful if you attempt this yourselves, as you’ll probably be as eager to climb the shaky ladders and walk along rusted the catwalks as we were.
For now, Glenwood remains a graffiti writer’s dream canvas. The list of established writers who have come and left their mark is like a who’s who of local and some not so local writers. KUMA, DART, Trapstar, and the DCEVER Smart Crew are just a few of the writers who also ventured the Glenwood. Sadly, for the artistically inclined, time is definitely running out.
What would be the impact of destroying a building with such a storied history in a town like Yonkers? Would anyone even notice? As it stands now, some people see it as a blight on the waterfront while others see it as a potential future home for condos, or hotels and a convention center (as is planned). What do we lose and or gain as a society when places like Glenwood and Michigan Central Station are demolished? In Beacon, just some 30 miles up the Hudson is DIA: Beacon, an enormous art space that was built in the former Nabisco factory. Would Yonkers be better served to have some sort of art organization occupy the space or does Yonkers need another hotel? As of right now Glenwood’s status on Landmark Preservations’ list of places to save is, and has been since 2005, pending…
Read more from our column on abandoned places in NYC.