Book Review: Brooklyn's Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery by Paul Raphaelson

Brooklyn's Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery by Paul Raphaelson tells the story of what was once the largest in the world, shut down in 2004 after a long struggle. Most New Yorkers know it only as an icon on the landscape, multiplied on T-shirts and skateboard graphics. Paul Raphaelson, known internationally for his formally intricate urban landscape photographs, was given access to every square foot of the refinery weeks before its demolition. Raphaelson spent weeks speaking with former Domino workers to hear first-hand the refinery’s more personal stories. He also assembled a world-class team of contributors: Pulitzer Prize–winning photography editor Stella Kramer, architectural historian Matthew Postal, and art director Christopher Truch. The result is a beautiful, complex, thrilling mashup of art, document, industrial history, and Brooklyn visual culture. Strap on your hard hat and headlamp, and wander inside for a closer look.
Brooklyn's Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery is a look at something I had never thought much about, even though I am well versed in the state of manufacturing in my local area. The Domino sugar factory, abandoned and in disrepair is something haunting to look at. I was very interested in the information about the factory and the struggles to keep it afloat, and the perspective of those directly involved in the factory. The idea that the building was set for destruction is sad, but the state of it and the empty rooms was simply depressing, but still somehow beautiful. The combination of photography and information is poignant and enthralling. It offers readers a look at the history and importance of the building and former business. The book is a great coffee table book for those that appreciate industrial art, and the stark beauty that can be found in these images of this factory after being abandoned, but before demolition. 
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