Touring the Photogenic Ruins of the CN West Disinfecting Company in Long Island City [PHOTOS]

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 at 11:41 am by
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If you take the N to Queensborough Plaza in Long Island City, you might notice a rather photogenic warehouse sitting pretty vacant just off the main drag. There’s nothing too special about this building on the surface, but it nevertheless beckoned. Herewith, some history and photographs from the West Disinfecting Company building at 4216 West Street.

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The CN West chemical factory was forged on this location in 1883, and specialized in home disinfectants. It was this very company that developed the first “drip machine” to combat restroom odors in toilets. We are all in their debt for this invention. Their motto was, “You can’t spell clean without CN.” Its president and majority owner, Emil Taussig, perished with the Titanic in 1912. But the company would ultimately endure until 1978.

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Two years later, the building morphed into a unique swap-meet-style marketplace called QP’s (Queens Plaza) Marketplace. It was only open on weekends, with vendors setting up shop at various stalls. By the turn of the next decade, though, their popularity declined and the dirt mall shuttered.

After its departure, though, the building gradually fell into disrepair. Full rooms are now completely shithoused, but visible evidence of its past remains. Like locker rooms for QP’s, random tools and construction sundries, and even an old map of the West Disinfecting Company during its 1940s heyday. Evidence onsite reveals that the factory building was also utilized as a storage facility for Modell’s Sporting Goods, which actually purchased the site from CN West back in the day.

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The northern section of the building was briefly utilized as a fringe artist squat beginning in the early aughts. According to Itvsquad, the Modell family donated this portion of real estate to “The Space LIC” for use as its studio, and even shipped in stadium seating for live theater productions. Their footprint remains visible. Whole art collections, 2000s-era electronics, and books are scattered everywhere. It’s truly an untouched time capsule. Its tenure seemingly faded sometime around 2012.

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1918 ad, Photo: American Federationist

CN West still exists, but is now located in Baton Rouge, and goes by “West Sanitation.”

Enough words. Here are some images for ya.

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For more history on the CN West Disinfecting Company, head this way.

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