Gallery: PICS: Mysterious Tree-Topped Former Factory in LIC is Almost C...

Long Island City is known for being more grey than green, which is precisely why we were blown away when we spotted this ivy-enrobed building there one day. Much more jungle than concrete jungle, the verdant cube sits right on Vernon Boulevard and is a stark contrast with the industrial nature of the surrounding buildings and steely Queensboro Bridge behind it. Entranced by its greenery-wrapped exterior, we crept up to get a closer look and upon bending our heads back realized that there were trees of all shapes and sizes growing out of the roof! But what exactly was this mysterious building? (We saw of a few signs but they were almost completely obscured by the prolific ivy.) Read on to see what we were able to unearth about the green-roofed edifice's origins and what goes on in there today.

As wild and verdant as it looks today, there once was a time when this building was a plain-faced brick building and home to the Albra Metal Foundry. Here’s what it used to look like way back when. The original building dates back to the 19th century, and the foundry was one of several metal factories in the Long Island City area that catered to the needs of NY’s riverfront manufacturers.

So what is the building today? Well, we snooped around for quite a bit but it was honestly kind of difficult to see much with the ivy (and without looking like criminals casing the joint). Luckily some online research revealed that one of the main occupants is The Foundry, a breathtaking event space (seriously, look at it, it’s amazing) named for the former life of the building. Further web-sleuthing uncovered a few more tenants, mostly in the food industry. However, we can’t be positive that those businesses are still there since those pics were taken in 2006, and the building is so completely wrapped in ivy now that many of the signs are no longer visible.

If you take a look at the photo above of where the roots of the ivy originate, it’s pretty clear that a person or persons deliberately planted it with the intention of covering the building, and we’d love to know why. If you have any information, please send it to editor@inhabitat.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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