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Camera Obscura

Where I find outdoor calm and solitude in New York City

It might seem odd to find solace in a cemetery during a global pandemic, but Green-Wood has always been more than just "a sacred city of the dead."

NYC has a plan to clean its sewage-filled waterways. Does it go far enough?

Critics say the latest plan to address sewage overflows in NYC, which dump millions of gallons of sewage into the city’s waterways every year, is "barely a drop in the bucket."

A decade of destruction in New York City

New York City has lost countless cultural and historic institutions in the past decade

Exploring Staten Island’s hidden North Shore Branch, eyed for a new bus line

The MTA wants to build a new bus rapid transit line through a forgotten stretch of the Staten Island coastline

Brooklyn gained a Wegmans, but lost the 19th-century mansions of Admiral’s Row

For many Brooklynites, the destruction of Admiral’s Row and its extensive woodlands represents a tragic loss

What does the future hold for the East River waterfront?

The city’s billion dollar plan to make the East River waterfront more resilient has a neighborhood up in arms.

Encroaching development threatens a crucial Staten Island wetlands

Soon, more than half of the Graniteville Swamp may be bulldozed to make way for a 28-acre development

In Greenpoint, new waterfront parks will transform the Newtown Creek

One of Brooklyn’s most polluted waterways will soon be home to a new network of green spaces

Exploring Shirley Chisholm State Park, NYC’s nicest park built on a toxic dump

Shirley Chisholm State Park is now open in Brooklyn on a site that was once occupied by two toxic landfills.

As Red Hook’s industrial history is demolished, what comes next for the neighborhood?

The remaining vestiges of Red Hook’s industrial past are slowly being lost to development

New York’s massive storm surge barrier poses an ‘existential threat’ to city shores

"By the time the surge gets here, it’s already too late"

‘Don’t ever leave’: A native New Yorker reflects

New York native and Gothamist founder Jake Dobkin dispenses advice in his new book, ‘Ask a Native New Yorker’

On Staten Island, a massive barrier will rise to protect against climate change

New York City’s latest efforts to fight climate change underscore the reality that the city is facing a very tenuous future

Brooklyn’s most endangered buildings

Across the borough, many different types of structures are threatened with demolition

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Exploring NYC’s hidden corners with photographer Nathan Kensinger

Kensinger’s Camera Obscura column is a cultural artifact of a period of major change in New York

What will it take to bring the Bronx’s Tibbetts Brook back to life?

Daylighting Tibbetts Brook would mark the symbolic end of centuries of industrial pollution and neglect

A walk around Anable Basin, Amazon’s future home in Queens

The tech giant’s incoming HQ2 will erase the unique industrial landscape around Anable Basin

As Industry City gears up for rezoning, locals question who will benefit

A rezoning proposal seeks to create 1.3 million square feet of new commercial and industrial space

Exploring the wilds of the Bronx’s Hutchinson River

A hike along the Hutchinson River is a study in contrasts

A remote corner of Staten Island braces for major changes

Wetlands remediation and the presence of a new Amazon warehouse are transforming Staten Island’s west shore

Would an enormous storm surge barrier save NYC’s coast—or destroy it?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a radical fix for storm surge along New York’s shores

How will rezoning transform Governors Island’s evolving landscape?

Like most of the rapidly changing waterfront of New York City, this liminal landscape may soon be radically transformed

Sandy-ravaged Staten Island neighborhoods are subject of new short film

In ‘Managed Retreat,’ Curbed columnist Nathan Kensinger explores a forward-thinking response to climate change.

Exploring Inwood’s wild shoreline, now threatened by rezoning

The recent rezoning of Inwood, one of Manhattan’s "last affordable neighborhoods," has the potential to dramatically reshape the neighborhood

NYC’s new waterfront parks represent the erasure of its industrial past

The old working waterfront has almost completely disappeared as the city realizes its new vision for the coastline.

At Storm King, artists contemplate the threat of climate change

Contemporary artists have filled the 500-acre sculpture park with pieces that tackle the changing natural landscape

Saying goodbye to the old Essex Street Market

A stroll through today’s Essex Street Market is still a comforting visit to an older Manhattan.

Can the Gowanus Canal’s industrial past be saved?

As a neighborhood rezoning looms, many of the industrial structures around the Gowanus Canal are threatened.

In Staten Island, a remote wilderness is threatened by encroaching development

Touring the urban wilds of the Sharrotts Shoreline on Staten Island’s southern end.

Exploring Brooklyn’s last remaining dry docks

As New York’s once-industrial waterfront becomes more residential, one shipyard remains in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Exploring the last vestiges of Greenpoint’s post-industrial waterfront

For those who once found inspiration in Greenpoint’s gritty dead-end streets, these may be the last days for wandering freely along its abandoned coastline

What happens to Jerome Avenue after its rezoning?

The physical changes will be enormous, but the accompanying social changes could be even more disruptive.

As Columbia University moves into Manhattanville, its industrial past is erased

The vernacular architecture of West Harlem is slowly being eroded as part of Columbia University’s long-awaited expansion

The life and death of Willets Point

Over the past few years, block after block of this once-vibrant Queens community has been demolished.

A survey of Canal Street’s changing landscape

How has the city let such a vital artery become so corroded?

Visiting 10 historic NYC buildings slated for demolition

How many other structures will vanish this year?

Exploring Staten Island’s newest park, a toxic dump turned wetlands habitat

The newly opened Brookfield Park brings manmade parkland and a wetlands habitat to what was once a toxic—and illegal—dumping ground.

Hiking the wilds of New York City's longest stream

One of New York’s most pristine waterways is Staten Island’s Richmond Creek, whose banks are lined with wild overgrowth.

What will it take to bring Spring Creek back to life?

The small waterway on Brooklyn’s outer edge has been on the decline for decades. Can it be saved?