Thursday, December 20, 2012

Social Services Building in Yonkers

     There's an interesting connection between this building and Glenwood Plant, though it is rather personal.

     When me and my exploring partner went to Glenwood, he suggested we go to the nearest hardware store and don construction outfits to blend in with the construction workers that were cleaning the plant. 

     Now, I have never needed a disguise while exploring and didn't plan to start that day. I suggested we wait, looking for something else to do in the meantime. Just our luck that we stumbled upon a building that looked like it was under construction/being remodeled. After not finding any obvious means of entry at the front, we walked through a gate that led to the water.

     Strolling casually past the cameras and "No Trespassing" signs, we made our way to the back of property, and the warm summer air followed us to an abandoned house surrounded by work trucks.

     Now, we had several doubts about this site. Why all the work trucks? What if every worker was on lunch break, ready to come back in ten minutes? 

     Slowly, we peeked our heads inside a cabin, and found it was empty.


Before we left, I noticed a yearbook addressed to a boy named Andrew in a locker. It is always interesting to find a piece of someone's history while exploring, and I looked through the yearbook trying to deduce what I could about this Andrew fellow, and the type of life he had in school. It was like being a detective.

Eventually we moved on from the small house to our main target: the social services building. A mess of pipes and wires led to a door, and some of these wires propped that door open. We entered very cautiously...what if these were alarm wires? We stepped silently around the corners to ensure we didn't bump into any workers, which might have happened at any given moment. 

To make matters all the more suspicious, we saw absolutely no signs that any other explorers had ever entered the complex before. It was pristine. Since it was so quiet, every sound was augmented, from the low humming of an alarm in the background (which we learned to ignore and grew accustomed to) to the creaks of the building, which always seemed like workers to us. We were vigilant, ready to dive into one of the side rooms just in case we would need to hide.

There were no signs as to whether or not the site was abandoned, and infiltrating a live site, such as this may have been, would warrant a more serious punishment than infiltrating a forgotten one.

As we explored the building further, we still stepped with caution but dropped much of our initial fear. Flashlights illuminated our dark paths as we discovered small theaters and electrical control rooms. Signs on walls too difficult to remove led us to do more detective work: we could discern that the building was intended for social services offices, and there were clues that it may have been shut down as early as the late 90s. 

After the dark, quiet, dusty roam around the building, where few artifacts remained, it was nice to step out once more into fresh, warm, inviting summer air, breathe a sigh of relief knowing that we would no longer have to deal with the prospect of being caught there, and walked over to Glenwood Power Plant..

Monday, December 17, 2012

Burnt Down House In Caesar's Bay

Not an interesting place by any means, but a good spot for anyone looking to start exploring, I suppose.

There are very few shells like this in the city. It is almost reminiscent of NYC during the 70s and 80s, or modern day Detroit.

This is quite easy to find; I merely stumbled upon it one day. If you're in the are you'll probably see it.

You can still smell the smoke from months past here.

The only similar shell I have stumbled upon was out in the Rockaways.

Anyway, there are many more locations I have visited recently much more interesting than this, so I will be posting more frequently and make room for some pretty cool stuff.

Friday, December 7, 2012


     I have chronicled rusty layers of abandonment, high stakes paranoia-inducing infiltration, and places simply off the beaten path. This is one of the latter.
      This summer, I took a bus ride to Staten Island. As we rounded the borough, which has some interesting attractions, I searched for a ghost town within New York City known as Bloomfield, extensively covered in Nathan Kensinger's wonderful photo essay.
     Once it was clear that I was the only person left on the bus, the driver began to direct a vigilant eye to me.
    "Where are you going?" he asked suspiciously.
     "Place called Bloomfield," I responded truthfully.
     "Hmm, never heard of it," he answered.
     Bloomfield is such a well kept secret, apparently, that even transit personnel, who are required to be very well acquainted with the geography of the region, barely know it exists.
     I got off the bus and relied on dumb luck, walking in the direction that I believed Bloomfield was. There were no maps to consult. I walked along a large square of forest for a while, eventually doubting that I would ever find the place. Then, suddenly, I saw it.
     New York City's ghost town. An alleged mafia dumping ground (given the fact that it is so far removed from the rest of the world, it seems possible.) Emptiness, where industry conflicts with nature.

I found these flowers on the way.

Empty streets. I saw only one person who wasn't a worker here.

Approaching the railroad track.

The din of buzzing machinery persists here.

Old newspaper.

Nature v. Industry

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Abandoned House in Far Rockaway

Short little writeup.

During the summer I planned a 45 mile bike ride, round trip from my house to Long Island.

This first shot was somewhere in the Rockaways, which, since the hurricane this October, has seen better days. What strikes me about it is how this could be Miami or Virginia Beach yet it's right here in NYC.

While biking to Long Island, which I had only explored once when I went to Kings Park Psychiatric Center, I found a small abandoned building. Glass littered the floor and I entered with caution.

I went down and found a man scolding me; I didn't remember or care much as to what he said, I was glad he wasn't a squatter or gang member. I hopped on my bike and left for Long Island.

The winds whipped up the salty air blowing from the mighty Atlantic Ocean. After crossing the bridge, I realized how greatly different NYC and the rest of the world are. After staring out into the mighty Atlantic, I biked around, friendly folks all smiling at me. This amity is something I do not encounter on a daily basis here at home. I would love to tell you this is where the story ends, but as we know, life isn't that simple.

Back in New York City I ran over a metal umbrella part that someone had littered across the road. It punctured my tire and I ended up having to carrying the bike 8 miles from Queens to a friend's house in Brooklyn, chilling there for a while and then calling it a night, taking the subway back the rest of the way home.

The next day, as I walked across the bridges of New York City, a sense of great soreness spread through my legs and arms from how much I had strained them from all of the biking, running, and carrying I did the previous day.

To redeem this failure, I later went on a successful 50 mile bike trip to Fort Totten.

And keep posted; I plan to have many more of these long biking journeys in the future.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coney Island Playland Arcade

     It is a sad but necessary fact of life that structures deteriorate. It is often best to see an abandoned building in its prime: walls of pristine paint before vandals can get to them, metal fans, hypodermic needles and ancient books before looters can get to them. Unfortunately, in the case of the Playland Arcade in Coney Island, I had arrived much too late.
     Many interesting items could once be found within the Arcade, such as disco balls or carnival prizes, left alone by the explorers who silently photographed, and went on their peaceful way. I arrived in Coney Island a few days after the hurricane, and the Arcade was nearly utterly demolished, a shell of its former self. Apparently the wind and the waves tore the boarding down, so anyone could come in.
     Coney Island is based on a principle of pleasure, stimulation, Hedonism. The makers wanted those who came to lose themselves in the sounds of the pounding music, the flashing lights, the smell of hot dogs wafting through the air. In contrast, I got sparse sunlight climbing down a collapsed rooftop, the scent of a ruined abandonment, and the lonely sounds of the wind pushing the waves onto the shore.
     The only remnants that hinted of the Golden Age of Coney Island were the festive and funny decorations on the wall, once so vibrant, left to pathetically fade into the walls.
     It is a sad but necessary fact of life that people deteriorate. Perhaps this is what I find interesting in the Playland Arcade. It reflects our inevitable fate, the one that you and I must endure.

                                This next series of shots assesses the hurricane damage.

                                 In a city that never sleeps, the busy station had to be shut down.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I couldn't resist going out and getting some shots. Some shots were taken by climbing across the suicide gate in Denyse Wharf.