metro ice, the bronx, 1990


Amonia pumg pressure gage

working on amonia pump

block ice manufacturing

block ice manufacturing 2

block ice manufacturing 3

block ice manufacturing 4

block ice manufacturing 5

block ice manufacturing 6

block ice manufacturing 7

selling ice blocks

selling ice blocks

buying blocks of ice

Metro Ice was built in 1922. In its time the plant produced 450 blocks of 300 lb. of ice per day. The shift started at midnight and finished at 4pm. Clients comprised the fish market, retailers and individuals. The plant started producing its own electricity with an ammonia compressor after having blown the fuses and being refused to reconnect to the Con Edison power plant.

The top floor was where the containers filled with fresh water were immersed in a brine and ice was formed. The blocks of ice were then sent down for precutting, bagging of ice cubes or sold as entire blocks of ice.

Metro Ice used to feed ice to the New York Railway Depot through a tunnel that no longer exists. Because of its proximity to the railway, the company was able to sustain the shock of home refrigeration and continued to operate until just a couple years after I photographed the operations. The plant was so run down that finding a new location to build a modern ice plant became necessary.