Consolidated Edison Kent Avenue Generating Station
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Around the turn of the turn of the 20th century, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT), an early New York City provider of above and underground rail service, derived electrical power to drive its subway operation from the Transit Development Company. In 1909, Transit Development completed a new powerhouse in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn at 500 Kent Ave. It eventually became known simply as the Kent Avenue power station.
Con Edison purchased the Kent Avenue station in 1959 and made changes to its aging infrastructure to improve electrical reliability to the local subway system. During the 1960s, the Kent Powerhouse ceased generating power, but was used as a power distribution point until 1999, the year it was finally closed. The station was demolished in 2009.
Some Brooklyn residents were upset at the station’s demolition, believing that the building could, like other old industrial buildings in the area, be used for housing, manufacturing, a cultural institution, or open space. But attempts to sell the building proved unsuccessful because of contamination, both inside and out, with toxins that included lead paint and asbestos. Even after the building was removed, the former powerhouse site required soil remediation of asbestos and other toxins.
Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after working in a power plant?
- IEEE: The Railway Power Stations of New York – Kent Avenue
- New York Times: When Spring Cleaning Includes a Power Plant