‘A City of Tenacious Ghosts’: A Glimpse at New York City’s Abandoned Spaces
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Abandoned NYC

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Creedmoor State Hospital

Photo: Will Ellis

In Queens, a population of pigeons has inhabited an abandoned ward at Creedmoor State Hospital for decades. Dropping stalagmites accrue under popular roosts on the top floor.

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Creedmoor State Hospital

Photo: Will Ellis

Many of the older structures are splitting at the seams, but there's little hope or interest in preserving them. 

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Creedmoor State Hospital

A spiral staircase leans precariously in the Nurses' Residence.

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Fort Totten

Photo: Will Ellis

Hoary calcite formations suspend from vaulted casemates on the lower level of Fort Totten's Civil War battery, where granite walls grow green with age.

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Fort Totten

Photo: Will Ellis

On the eastern edge of the peninsula, the Fort Totten Post Hospital self-destructs in slow motion. The once-thriving infirmary with a 68-bed capacity exhibits a harrowing level of decay.

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Fort Totten 

Photo: Will Ellis

Some doorways give way to our four-story chasm. Bucking walls, bulging floors, and collapsed light fixtures in the wretched sea-foam green interior. 

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Gowanus "Batcave"

Photo: Will Ellis

The Gowanus "Batcave" was the home of a thriving squatter community in the early 2000s. Today it's being renovated into artists' studios and exhibition space.

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Harlem Renaissance Ballroom

Photo: Will Ellis

The Harlem Renaissance Ballroom was a notable meeting place for the movement's movers and shakers in the 1920s. It once hosted the greatest jazz perfomers of the age, as well as the nation's first all-black professional basketball team.

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Harlem Renaissance Ballroom

A coat check on the ground floor was the first stop for visitors on their way to the ballroom.

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P.S. 186

Photo: Will Ellis

The school is transformed by the seasons. In early July, lush vegetation lends a renewed vitality to the gloomy interiors of P.S. 186 in Queens.

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