Staten Island Rail Sheds: From the New York Times Magazine

Millions of New Yorkers traverse the city’s vulnerable subway tunnels each day. But here, beneath the Hudson River, an abandoned former pierside apartment on Long Island Sound shines as a cautionary tale of modern…

Staten Island Rail Sheds: From the New York Times Magazine

Millions of New Yorkers traverse the city’s vulnerable subway tunnels each day. But here, beneath the Hudson River, an abandoned former pierside apartment on Long Island Sound shines as a cautionary tale of modern life on the New York City waterfront.

The wooden box, which overlooks the Hudson, sits on the gravel-lined shore and was used as housing for city dockworkers until the 1960s. It was once the informal headquarters of a community of Native Americans for whom the Lower Hudson was a natural habitat. Today, it is still a common sight for boats, as fishermen and pleasure boaters seek out the dock’s silent, shivering fort. It has become a shantytown for chronic homeless. Residents say its crumbling wood helps them sleep at night, whether at its ruins or inside a newer apartment nearby.

It’s a strange, vulnerable place to live, and until recently, it was without water, gas, electricity or any other electrical means of subsistence. This series of pictures by Dave Mastronardi of XXi will remind us why this storied public space represents the end of the trail of hope for those who could not afford to move to other parts of Manhattan. But as long as the old housing facility stands, we, as New Yorkers, will keep coming back.

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