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Empire State Dairy at 2840 Atlantic Avenue. Photo by Edrei Rodriguez

It is unlikely anyone is better versed in the pastoral murals of East New York’s long-closed Empire State Dairy than architectural historian and writer Michael Padwee.

Below, he tells us why these little-known architectural treasures should be appreciated and saved from demolition.


(Photo:East New York Project)

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Originally Empire State Dairy, then Borden’s Diary Factory
Address: 2840 Atlantic Avenue
Cross Streets: Barbey and Schenck Streets
Neighborhood: East New York
Year Built: 1914-1915
Architectural Style: Very simplified Medieval German-inspired factory building
Architect: Otto Strack
Other Works by Architect: E.W. Browning Company Building, 11 W. 17th St, Manhattan; Pabst Theater, Kalvelage House, both in Milwaukee.
Landmarked: No

The story:
When we think of important landmarks that should be preserved, we think of buildings like Grand Central Station, or the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, or Gracie Mansion. If we really appreciate architecture, we may expand our list to buildings like the Eagle Warehouse in DUMBO, or the Riverside Apartments in Brooklyn Heights. It’s not very often that we consider factories on these lists, because factories are usually utilitarian, no-nonsense kinds of buildings that aren’t usually known for their architectural or even historical worth. But there are always exceptions to the rule, and East New York’s Borden Dairy Factory is one.