Abandoned Buildings on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (AKA 7th Avenue)


IMG_2529These are some pictures of two old, abandoned buildings we saw on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (which is also Seventh Avenue). I have no idea what these buildings were originally built for, but the narrower one had been repurposed at least once. The arched openings had been sealed over with concrete blocks that had narrower doors set into them, equipped with drop-down security gates found on most stores in New York City that were built within the last twenty or thirty years. I got an approximation of an address (2341 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd) for the narrower building from Google Maps and then searched for property records, but all I found was a record listing the place as a “Theater/Performing Arts” venue. I couldn’t find any information on the other, larger building.


I like abandoned buildings. I always have. One of my earliest memories is of me and my brother exploring an abandoned building in a small town called Bell, in Germany, where we were living temporarily while waiting for on-base housing. I loved castle ruins too. It’s fun to see historical artifacts in a museum, but it’s a very different experience when you’re looking through a place where people used to live their lives, trying to put together an idea of what might have happened there.


As a bonus, I realized that in the background of some of my photographs is the Abyssinian Baptist Church. The congregation that eventually constructed the church at its current location, which was completed in 1923 at a cost of roughly $334k, was established in 1808 as a result of a walkout from the First Baptist Church in lower Manhattan, when black parishioners were told to adhere to segregated seating. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who that portion of Seventh Avenue is named after, was a pastor at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which was named in honor of the place of origin of most of the founding members: modern Ethiopia.

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