Industrial Remnants of the 20th Century

I was stuck in traffic on the Henry Hudson Parkway the other day, and my thoughts turned to some of the abondoned structures that sit on the Hudson river. One of them is a big spaghetti like mass of metal; another is some kind of elevated metal room/office/house-like thing.

Many of these structures are in an obvious state of disrepair and look as though they haven’t been used for years.

What the heck are these things? What were they used for? And why haven’t they been scrapped?

They are certainly ugly and possibly dangerous - why keep them around?

Just guessing, but they’re probably warehouses, docking facilities, etc. and they’re probably still in use, which is why they haven’t been scrapped. They may look awful, but it’s amazing how bad buildings can look and still be perfectly useful. :smiley:

That’s some pretty valuable real estate you’re talking about there–I’d be surprised if it truly were being occupied by nothing but vacant buildings. Somebody somewhere is having some income generated by them, I’d bet, especially because even if the buildings are vacant, they still have to have property taxes paid on them.

Or it’s possible that somebody’s just waiting for the right real estate deal to come along, and then he’ll sell out, and you’ll see some glossy developments going up.

Also, demolishing buildings costs money, which is why my neighbor’s falling-down garage is simply being allowed to fall down by itself. :smiley:

luc, you’re going to have to be a little more specific if you want firm answers, bud. But here’s my best guess.

The spaghetti thing is the rusting remains of the skeleton of a storage building that sat on a dock that burned down.

The room/office/house thing might be a vent for the Lincoln or Holland Tunnel. If so, it is very much in use.

Most of the abandoned structures in or near the river(s) belong to the city or state. Doing ANYTHING with them – if the municipality is so inclined in the first place, which it often is not – requires sifting through lots of red tape.

(stuyguy sits seething, thinking about the nutjobs that stopped Westway.)

Vallejo, California used to be a large shipyard. Over the last 10 or 20 years they’ve fallen on hard times. So it was with considerable relief that they agreed to dismantle an aircraft carrier. Lots of jobs for lots of people – hooray! Then it was discovered that the health hazard risks had been considerably “underestimated”.

Old structures, particularly ones for which no records exist, can require great expense to safely demolish. (Answering the OP.)

This problem is so severe that for some time the Western countries sent things to be scrapped to third world countries, and let them suffer with the pollutants.

There’s actually an article about this in the lastest WorldWatch. This link doesn’t have the text, but there’s a pretty suggestive picture about what safety precautions aren’t being taken.