Archive for 2012

Flying Fish Hospital

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

Genesee Hospital closed in 2000, and most of it was either demolished into a vacant lot, or renovated into offices, medical and otherwise. One building in between escaped either fate, and is sitting there wide open. It seems there was some effort to scrap and demolish it already, as almost all signs of being a hospital are gone, but for the time being it’s still that rarity of an accessible new building right in Rochester. At some point I need to go back here during the day but it just gets dark too damn early here…

This “tunnel” is on the roof of the hospital, connecting the stairwell with the elevator and heating structures on the other side of the roof

This room is probably the first place I ever saw when I was born.

The upper floors are scrapped out and boring. The only redeeming thing about them is the rooftop view!

3rd floor, things are getting a little bit better

Getting my brain probed. There’s a lot of weird in there…

Rorschach Mold — what do YOU see?

And normal mold. Toxic black flavor, I believe.

At 2:38 on some day back in 2000, the last nurse or orderly or janitor left the hospital, and turned out the lights once and for all

This looks way too much like a deconstructed clown face. So creepy…

(it’s actually an ad for McDonalds yogurt parfaits… look closer!)

Housing Is A Human Right

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Activism, Rochester

Almost a year after Occupy Rochester fell apart, we’re at it again! Marching to City Hall to address the problems with housing in this city, and let them know how defective of an institution it is. Did you know that Rochester has more abandoned, foreclosed or simply unoccupied houses, than it has ever had homeless people? What about that Rochester has slum lords, and the city does nothing about it, even though they hold onto abandoned and underutilized properties as investment, evict rent-paying tenants, and try to sell the houses for a profit? Or that it is illegal in parts of the city, and most of the county suburbs, to grow anything other than grass as a front lawn? Taking back our city will take far more than a protest, or an election, but we can at least begin to move in the right direction!

An Evening Of Culture

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Finger Lakes, Institutional

Bernar’r Macfadden, eccentric fitness guru of the last century, was arguably the inventor of the culture of diet, exercise and weight loss for health that is so prevalent today. Before the actual health benefits were known, or even suspected by the mainstream medical community, Bernar’r promoted alternately vegetarianism and a predecessor of the Paleo diet (raw food, including red meats) as the natural diet of the human animal. This, combined with strenuous outdoor exercise, became the foundation of Physical Culture, and the beginning of a lucrative career for Macfadden as America’s first fad-diet shiller. Promoting his Physical Culture, Macfadden created a publishing house and a variety of magazines, some of which still survive today. An extremely prolific writer, he also released over 100 books, including “Virile Powers of Superb Manhood”, “Physical Culture for Babies”, “Strenuous Lovers”, “Calisthenics: Strengthening the Eyes”, and “Constipation: Its Effect and Treatment”. Presumably, people bought and read these, as by 1902 Bernar’r was a millionaire, and opened a chain of Physical Culture Hotels, resorts where paying guests were subjected to his every whim, in the name of health. The first, and longest lasting, of these hotels was in Dansville, in a building previously used as an institution for Civil War veterans, and a sanatorium, prior to being a health resort. Its guests included multiple presidents, Lucille Ball and Katherine Hepburn, among other celebrities of the day, as well as touring jazz artists and big bands who would play rooftop dances for the guests, but much like the Catskills resorts, the next generation lost interest and by about 1974 Physical Culture fell into disuse. While the property is still privately owned, there are no legitimate plans as of 2012 for the collapsing castle.

Bluebird Of Friendliness

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Amusement, Catskills

Once we finally found the stairs (which are not obvious in any way), we arrived in the iconic pool. The only resort with a full-size Olympic pool indoors, Grossinger’s used it not only for recreation, but also for championship competition, hosting Olympic qualifying in swimming in 1956, as well as championship boxing, and early development of Alpine skiing, having been held in the resort’s glory days. The pool area itself is a relic of its time, built in space-age modern style.

Unfortunately every year nature and vandals eat up more of it… although it was always unlikely at best anyone would want the place, it’s still sad to see it go in this way.

And then, just as I was about to leave the pool, she showed up:

I never would have thought I’d wish I had bird seed with me… this little bird let me walk right up and take pictures!

Overall, the 1993 wing was in the worst shape of anything on the property.

If any of you go back, it’s the one corridor of the hotel where the floors are seriously scary. You won’t want to go any farther than this.

Toward the top of the hill, approaching the clubhouse is the resort’s power plant, which has been cleared of almost all its machinery.

I think this ballroom has seen its last dance!

This enormous space was either the boxing arena or the conference room, as far as I could tell

Are you itchy yet?

This chalet looks out directly over the golf course, and adjoins the maintenance building. I got a very distinct feeling I shouldn’t be here.

Or especially here!

Just as I ducked out of here, two golf carts of course workers came in. We didn’t stick around long enough to know if they saw us…

Lives of the Rich and Famous

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Amusement, Catskills

When it closed abruptly in 1985, Grossinger’s Resort had just began its sixth major expansion, and attempt to reclaim the title of “World’s Largest Hotel” from the Concord and a few up and coming contenders in Las Vegas. With a declining tourist business in the Catskills already, and the scattering of Jewish families out of Brooklyn and into the rest of the northeast, the Borscht Belt’s days were numbered, and the few remaining resorts intensified their competition, building unsustainably to build market share and go down in history as the Greatest. Among frequent guests in the 1980s, vacationing here as well as performing, Evandor Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Barry Manilow and Bill Murray were Grossinger’s mainstays, and Arnold Palmer was there at what became the hotel’s final days, planning his redesign of the golf course for a 1986 season that would never arrive.

Once the property left the hands of the Grossinger family, it passed from developer to developer, alternating phases of demolition, reconstruction and languishing abandonment. By 1993, golf was booming in the region, and the course reopened, along with the clubhouse restaurant, tennis club and one building of the decaying hotel, hardly a shadow of its luxurious former life. Without the entertainment and culture of Grossinger’s’s glory days, the hotel failed in less than a summer, leaving only the golf course behind, as it remains to this day. Reaching the golf course requires driving straight through the abandoned resort complex, creating an eerie feeling for the golfers, but a perfect excuse for us exploring, and plenty of traffic to blend in with on what should be deserted roads.

Entering from the first, obvious, open door, this sight and an arresting stench of decay and rot are your welcome as newly arrived guests.

Nature has taken over here, with moss and even some fully formed plants occupying many of the bathrooms

How long has it been since you’ve seen a computer with a monitor like this?

Play room

October 1984 — program for a late season Saturday, including an Evandor Holyfield bout

Where the front desk used to be, only a reflecting pool now

Take a seat at the bar…but we haven’t had that spirit here since 1985

Approaching the pool… this was, believe it or not, part of the wing that was open in 1993, pressed into use as a makeshifted lobby.

Due to the architectural changes in the late stages of the hotel, despite being directly under the pool it takes a lot of wandering around to actually reach it from here.

…continued in part 2

I Walk Along Darkened Corridors

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Amusement, Catskills

This was my second try at what is without a doubt the creepiest place I’ve ever explored. I’m still not sure why, but something about the Paramount Hotel is about as “haunted” as an abandoned building can get. Its history isn’t particularly dark; the hotel expanded and contracted from 1905 to 2000, run for 93 of those years by the Gasthalter family, before burning partially in October 2000, while full to near capacity with 350 guests of a conference on Judaism. While everyone evacuated the hotel without casualties, 1/3 of the hotel had to be removed, including the lobby and restaurants. A new ownership group tried to revive the Paramount and reopen it in 2004, but went bankrupt the night before the hotel was due to open, and it has sat abandoned ever since, slowly decaying after its missed opening day.

This furniture seems to have been awaiting placement in the rest of the rooms … or being scrapped for future use

Probably the least glamorous of the Catskill pools I’ve seen

…even before it became a chemical dump

This seems to have been a rather utilitarian outdoor pool? Or just a place where they never got around to rebuilding?

Room 92 still has its ‘opening’ day inspection checklist

And it’s still kind of, sort of intact

With a Gideons’ bible open to the book of Revelations.

And right about then, we noticed we weren’t alone (again!) and got the hell out of there. We came back in the morning just to see if anything had changed; it turned out to only be scrappers who left a pile of metal on the driveway.

Compared to the other resorts, this one even looks a bit off from the outside.