Nathan Kensinger

In the last decade, Brooklyn’s waterfront has undergone a massive transformation.  After an unprecedented amount of rezoning under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, many neighborhoods—from Williamsburg to Red Hook to Coney Island–have faced demolition to make way for developers. In Brighton Beach, one of the city’s last bungalow communities has been torn apart.

The Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach, now mainly known for its Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian communities, was once the city’s summer resort, dating back to the 1880’s. Evidence of this past is hidden just off its main shopping strip, where a small collection of 1920’s summer bungalows still exists.  Built on the former site of the Brighton Beach racetrack, they are clustered into a 7-block-long area, accessible via a grid of narrow footpaths. During an unregulated development boom that began in 2001, many of Brighton Beach’s bungalows were torn down and replaced by condominium towers. The 2008 economic collapse stalled this process, leaving the neighborhood scarred by incomplete construction projects. Today, many bungalows are hemmed in by condo towers and face blank walls that rise 100 feet, blocking the sun. Others have had abandoned, half-built towers sitting in their backyards for years. Many bungalow owners have abandoned the area, leaving their property to arsonists, squatters and drug dealers, who have taken over homes sealed only with flimsy plywood. These photographs, taken in 2009 and 2010, document what the New York Daily News has called “the last days of the bungalow.”

BIO: Nathan Kensinger is a documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work explores hidden urban landscapes, off-limits structures, and other liminal spaces. Kensinger’s photographs have been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and in recent solo shows at the Brooklyn Public Library and UnionDocs.


White Picket Fence, 2009, Digital Print, 11X14″


Pedestrian Footpath, 2010, Digital Print, 11X14″


Abandoned Bungalow in Snow, 2010, Digital Print, 11X14″


Arson Fire Damage, 2010, Digital Print, 11X14″


Bungalow and Condominium Towers, 2009, Digital Print, 11X14″


Demolished Bunglow Foundation, 2009, Digital Print, 11X14″


Abandoned Plywood Bungalow,2009, Digital Print, 11X14″


Warning Keep Out Poison, 2009, Digital Print, 11X14″



Photos © Nathan Kensinger 2012. All Rights Reserved.
No reproduction without the written consent of the photographer.





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