Beautiful ruins of a Brooklyn ketchup factory

It’s a haunting relic of New York’s manufacturing glory days, and it sits less than half a block past the corner of Franklin Avenue and Bergen Street in Crown Heights.


The H.J. Heinz Company moved into this handsome red brick plant around 1920.

HeinzfactorynyplThey purchased it from the Nassau Brewing Company, which had a long beer-making run under various names in a complex of buildings beginning in the 1860s until 1914.

This 1941 photo from the New York Public Library offers a glimpse of the factory, looking from Franklin Avenue, on the far left.

“57 Varieties” and “Food Products” can still be read on the facade, a reminder that the laborers in this building produced a lot more than ketchup.

I’m not sure when Monti Moving and Storage came in to the picture, but they decamped in 2001, leaving their own fading imprint behind.

Today, the factory appears to be occupied by different kinds of makers: furniture designers, artists, and other light manufacturing and design groups, according to a 2007 New York Times article.


And cheese makers too, who use the deep underground vaults leftover from the building’s brewery days as cheese caves, reports a fascinating article in Edible Brooklyn.

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3 Responses to “Beautiful ruins of a Brooklyn ketchup factory”

  1. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    I bet that top floor was added at a much later date than the rest of the building’s construction. Sadly, it is very plain. It is interesting to note how just a bit of added design can make a major difference. Obviously, some of the beautiful building’s wondows were half-bricked-closed. This was done by a master bricklayer who cared about the structure’s over-all design; he added a minor / yet ornate brick crown or frame within the bricked-up area. This is a worthy building and would certainly look far more handsome sans the spraypaint additions at sidewalk level!

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Great observation. I still see it as a majestic structure, a relic of when companies and governments and school boards constructed buildings that reflected beauty or grand ideals.

  3. The haunting beauty of a brick Bronx factory | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] of New York City hummed with the sounds of workers and machinery — producing everything from ketchup to wallpaper to pianos to […]

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