Archive for 2009

Wings of Progress

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Not Abandoned, Rochester

Are they claws? Antennae? Batman? Rochester’s Times Square building is best known for its Wings of Progress
The building, commissioned in 1928 and built as the country plunged into depression, was meant to symbolize, along with the statue of Mercury across the street, Rochester’s position as a technological and economic leader. The bank that built the tower fell in the bank runs of 1930, and it’s held a variety of banks and offices ever since. Obviously, this is a building best left to tours, but if you get the opportunity, I would recommend seeing it.

The basement, which was a bank branch until a few years ago, if by far the most interesting, with its giant vault doors intact

Depending who you ask, this is either the employee entrance to the vault, or an emergency exit


Written by Concrete on . Posted in Rochester

I’d just like to take this opportunity to let some people know how I feel about that UER meet this weekend. I don’t know whether to call it discrimination, bad blood, or just bad luck, but it needs to be known that these people left me in Holley, 23 miles from Rochester, and it only gets worse from there.

It started out like every other monthly meeting, with coffee and bagels and deciding where to go which is mostly bragging about what everyone else found. For once I had something to bring to the table, I’ve got some new drains (photos hopefully coming soon) that may or may not be the deep system finally! Trent shut me down so much from even talking about it (why? I found it myself) that I think I must have been onto something. Everyone seemed a bit bitter by the time we got to Holley, settling on exploring the abandoned high school again even though we’d all been there once. This time it wasn’t so easy to get in, with our door boarded over and the only way in a somewhat open window. A window MidnightGenius and I had no chance of getting in — a perfect window for macman and EvilNick to show off their superior climbing skills. We decided to leave them to their own devices, and for some reason Trent came with us instead, all he was interested in was my drain information, finally. It seemed like we’d be on our way there, and I could finally have a discovery and a shot at full membership, after only 10 months of trying.

It served the climbers right that they smashed their way into a window right in front of the one cop in a one-cop town. Newly signed trespass tickets in hand, they joined us to commiserate their defeat, and we set off for the drain, making one brief stop back behind the school to pick up the tripod Trent left behind when he gave up mid-window on his climb, which he asked me to hop out of the car and pick up. Fucking slime ball that he was, HE LEFT ME THERE, peeling out into the fucking street and driving to who the hell knows where. I tried calling him back, and everyone else in the car. I got hung up on, over and over. And had to call a high school friend who goes to Brockport to pick me up and bring me at least part home.

I found out this morning, they went to my drain yesterday. Right after they grilled me for all I knew left me behind. And that I’m not welcome there anymore, I had better make my own events and hope for the best. I’m just not good enough. Not good enough to see the places I discovered for them. Not good enough to participate in a community that went out of its way to find me. Not even good enough to be part of a public event.

Fuck this. Fuck all of them. Especially fuck Trent for leaving me, and Nick for thinking we can all fucking climb. But mostly Trent, for his ‘discovery’, and making me find my own way home from fucking Holley.

At least I have a tripod now.

Physical Culture

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Finger Lakes, Institutional

While its earliest origins were as a home for injured Civil War veterans and an asylum for children, the Castle on the Hill gained its greatest notoriety as a Physical Culture spa, or ‘healthatorium’. Led by the highly eccentric Bernar’r Macfadden, Physical Culture combined bodybuilding, ascetic fasting and a strict raw food diet. An incredibly prolific writer, Bernar’r wrote about 115 books, copies of which used to be stacked by the thousands in his publishing house (which burned down in 2006) behind the sanatorium. Guests here included most of Wall Street and Broadway in the ’20s and ’30s, at the peak of his influence, but the spa managed to remain open until about 1974, buoyed in its later years by being a filming location for “I Love Lucy”


Not Castle



More photos here.

Introducing IOLA

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

Third meet of the UER season, and a chance to meet some new explorers. NeonTempest wanted to introduce us to this place, the Iola Sanatorium, to show us what “real exploring” was like. Which, to him, meant something like park a mile away with 12 people, and march right onto the grounds in the plainest sight possible. Just to take us straight downstairs into this.


The whole point of going was these tunnels, blocked off with fresh new cinder blocks.


So we get to try another entrance, going through this just to find more cinder blocks.

By the time he’s done with his wild goose chase, it’s almost time for him to go, so we just run around topside aimlessly for a few minutes. Even though we don’t have our permits.

I’d love to know what these giant maps were about. This thing is about 8×10 feet.

All in all, a kind of stupid meet. I think I could have done better, if I could get anyone to follow…

Sykes Datatronics

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Industrial, Rochester

You have dialed 716 458 8000, Sykes Datatronics’ demonstration number for Comm-Net 3000. Press 1 for English. Нажмите 2 для русского.
日本人はを押してください 3.


I’m sorry, 6 is not a valid option. Please hold.


Comm-Net 3000 is a national leader in automated voice response systems. Press 4 to learn more. Press 5 to learn even more. Press 6 to learn more than you ever wanted to know. For all of the above, please stay on the line.


I’m sorry, *HANG UP* is not a valid option. Please refer to the User Guide, or press 6 for an overview of all options available to you. Comm-Net 3000 is very intelligent, with 15 Megahertz processing power and 16 linked high-speed tape drives. Press 7 if you would like to purchase your own Comm-Net system. Press 8 if you would like Comm-Net 3000 to purchase you.


I’m sorry, *FUCK YOU* is not a valid option. I’m glad to hear of your interest in purchasing a Comm-Net system. We have automatically charged $5818.23 to your credit card. Comm-Net 3012 will be arriving at your door at about 4:30 AM tomorrow.

I’m sorry, the Comm-Net system is down for scheduled maintenance. Please call back tomorrow between 9 AM and 5 PM. Thank you.

Buffalo Malt

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Buffalo, Industrial

A Monday afternoon skip class and explore trip with MidnightGenius from UER. Our first target was the giant grain elevators. Then this happened.


While about to give up, we just happened to run into the Buffalo Malt tower.

The place was pretty well trashed and gutted, but at least it was big

Probably the most interesting thing about it was this thing on the roof, with thousands and thousands of glass tubes

This was in the basement for some reason

More crap photos here. I really need to get a proper camera and/or a bit of creativity.