Whenever crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, you’re sure to see the old, iconic Domino Sugar Factory on Brooklyn’s waterfront.
The Thomas Havemeyer building was originally constructed in the early 1800s, operating as a sugar refinery warehouse. According to the New York Times, the factory was pushing out 5,000 barrels of sugar a day in the 19th century.
Though its days of refining raw sugar are long over, it’s been under construction to become a 460,000-square-foot rentable office space called The Refinery. The all-electric and net-zero carbon complex will feature 2,800 rental apartments across four residential buildings, 600,000 square feet of commercial office space, 200,000 square feet of retail and 6-acres of public park space.
One of the most identifiable features to the building’s architecture was undoubtedly the Domino Sugar sign. The recognizable sign marked the building for over 80 years. However, the original sign was taken down following the factory’s closure in the early 2000s.
Just last night, a magnificent replica of the original sign was lit for the first time, towering over Brooklyn’s waterfront once again. The bottom part of the two-word sign that reads “sugar” was first fixed atop The Refinery building back in November. Recently, the “Domino” letters joined in position, returning the iconic symbol to The Refinery in all of its glory.
The revitalization of the sign comes from real estate development company, Two Trees Management. “It’s exciting to have a sign back,” Ward Dennis, Domino Sugar Factory historian and Brooklyn native, told the New York Times. “Everybody going up and down the F.D.R. Drive remembers seeing it. Coming across the Williamsburg Bridge, there was always that Domino’s sign to welcome you home.”
The new sign is situated in front of what will be a barrel-shaped glass-enclosed penthouse, added to the 12-story building. The letters of the sign match the same dimensions of the original (“DOMINO” 23’ 10’’ tall, “SUGAR” 9’ 7’), totaling to 43 feet 6.5 inches tall and 65 feet 8 inches wide from top to bottom of the “S.”
Though the replica has stayed true to the original sign’s design, it has been reimagined to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than before.
So next time you’re driving on East River Drive/FDR Drive, be sure to glance up and get a look at this renowned fixture!