Archive for August, 2012

Chaote’s Lair

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Industrial, Rochester

The former General/Veteran Foods factory is probably the place with the most dramatic, fastest decay I’ve ever seen. Through a combination of fire, water, vandals, mold and looting, it has gone from ‘active’ (occupied as a residence and studio by an eccentric art professor) as recently as 2009, to squatted in 2010, to abandoned in 2011, to thoroughly trashed in 2012. This is particularly shameful considering how much was left behind here, by the artist and the unknown past occupants; there was an entire library with a few thousand books, a collection of magazines and photo albums, furniture, toys, computer relics from the 80s, all lost to mold.

Everything here is rotten. Everything.

This paper-mush-covered room was once the library… tragic to see so many books go to waste. These weren’t even the ordinary paperbacks, the collection in its prime was mostly politics, philosophy and hard literature, and would have been easily worth saving if its fate could have been known.

The second floor had two lofts, or perhaps a residential loft and an artist’s studio.

Apparently I have a copycat. I didn’t do this one, but i certainly approve.

Total destruction here… this place is rotten beyond saving

The third floor, once warehouse space, became a last-ditch effort to stop the water, with tarps and buckets set out to try to stop the leaks. Needless to say, from what you’ve already seen, it failed miserably, sealing the fate of the Flint Street building.

Niagara Fell

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Amusement, Niagara


The TripAdvisor reviews said it all: “words can’t describe the awfulness”, “we got locked INSIDE”, “please stay at this hotel and RUIN your entire vacation”. It’s no wonder that between woeful management and upkeep, a terrible economy, and the fact that the hotel itself was a lie (“Fallside” doesn’t mean “walk half a mile through the ghetto or drive and pay a $20 state park toll”), the Fallside closed for the last time in the fall of 2008. While there was an apparent attempt to revive the place, judging by the signs proudly proclaiming new management and “Major Brand Chain Coming Soon!” on the roadside, the Fallside fell to the homeless and scrappers, and the optimistic signs were plastered over with Niagara County condemnation notices. While the street facing parts of the building looked almost ready to revive, the back corner told a different story: windows broken, boarded and smashed through again, letting us walk right into the restaurant and bar.

As one might expect the Fallside was built in the faux-classy style of so many other tourist traps, pretending to be five-star on a third-class budget, with all the tacky porno-kitsch it entails, making a mockery of luxury. (Note the carpeted ceiling tiles.)


I wonder if it was mold that did the place in, or if this happened after abandonment? The entire building was excessively hot and humid, with a tangible stink in the air… not terribly different from the TripAdvisor complaints, actually!

Imagine this stage filling up night after night with third-rate smooth jazz.

Or, evidently, loungey piano playing


Oof. Anyone bring their mask?

Night Audit – Inn on the River 12/1/08
Inn on the River was not the name on any of the signs. I wonder if this was done by a potential future owner?

And finally, a rooftop view of the hotel. This tower was the “falls view” portion, although even then the view consisted of a little bit of mist on the horizon.

When Life Gives You Columns

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Buffalo, Industrial

…you make colonnade? Or not? At least I had an unexpected opportunity to explore with Ian one more time. Although, more realistically, it turned into a chance to stand on the sidelines while he explored. His goal was one that I shared interest in for sure, but probably not the right physique, or state of mind — climbing the Buffalo grain elevators. While they originally had stairs, due to a rash of suicides in the early 70s right after they were abandoned, none of these stairwells are complete, with the stairs up to 30 feet or so cut out, leaving only the brackets that once held iron steps. So, while Ian climbed and took roof shots, I spent a morning walking around looking at columns. So many columns.





Column me maybe?

The next place we went, a warehouse or factory thing, Ian didn’t even want to get out of the car. Which I guess goes to show how different our tastes are. I’m not sure what this place even was, but it’s pretty far gone now, and getting started with demolition.

No Justice, No Peace

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Activism, Rochester

Finally getting to my pictures from the march last week… for anyone who hasn’t been keeping up with current events, the Saturday before last was a terrible one for justice in Rochester, and oppression from the RPD. A peaceful anti-capitalist march was trapped on the East Ave/Inner loop crossing, and 18 protesters arrested, some violently. At the closing of the Puerto Rican festival, RPDs in riot gear began breaking up a crowd with no provocation, setting off a police riot that led to 32 more arrests. Finally, barely 12 hours after the march, a punk show in an East End basement was invaded without warrant, with excessive use of mace and Tasers, and 14 arrests for alleged disorderly conduct. Now was the time to act — 64 arrests in one weekend, of law-abiding citizens, set off by police force. Our demands would be simple: the departure of Chief Shepard, a civilian layer of accountability for the RPD, and charges dropped on the 64 arrests of the weekend. While the actual effect of our march seems to have been minimal, if nothing else, at least it served as an affirmation of free speech, and an assertion of our right to protest and assemble… as much as we were expecting and even hoping for a riot and the outright disgrace of the RPD, the fact that this went as smoothly as it did is also a very encouraging sign for future demonstrations


Mosquito Coast

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Amusement, Finger Lakes, Outdoors

After watching the tower come down, Anna and I continued on to our real adventure planned for the weekend — bike camping along the lake shore. On our way out of town we stopped at the public market to pick up Katie, Jake and Tom, and went on from there to route 101, and about a 40 mile ride to Sodus Point. Our destination: Beachwood State Park, a newly acquired property that was once the boy scouts’ Camp Pioneer (which would be replaced in 1951 with the current Adirondack site), then the girl scouts’ Arrowhead Camp, before closing around 2000.

Just off of 101, the first ruin we’d noticed was this “cobblebrick” construction, probably from well before the Civil War. I’ve never seen anything like this before, probably one of a kind architecture? (normally cobblestones are not the exact same size, and are piled on just as they fit)

And then, the mosquitoes started. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Walking through the camp. their buzz was constant, a teeming, pulsing life to the fields and the undergrowth. We finally escaped the horde in the abandoned mess hall, probably the largest of the surviving buildings

They left the antiquated kitchen appliances right in place. These probably were relics from the boy scouts’ days here, I would not be at all surprised if they’re 60+ years old.

This was the only graffiti we saw in the whole camp. And just before we noticed a rather rowdy group starting to show up.

We had started to claim Yellow Camp for ourselves when these teenage thugs began laying claim to it themselves, saying it was reserved for someone’s high school graduation party. Whether or not this was true, we let them be and went looking for the beach. Continuing past Yellow Camp there are apple orchards, going the other way the trail follows the shore rather closely.

Close to the lake, we found another camp, with a few abandoned cabins in it, and took this one instead.
Not Yellow

After watching the sunset and having a fire on the beach, at around midnight we tried to sleep in the largest of the cabins. Katie, Tom and Jake fell right asleep, somehow, but I was being eaten alive by the worst infestation of fleas I’d ever found. After a while Anna was awake and just as aggravated, so the two of us went down to the beach, and took advantage of our new environment. Just as we nearly fell asleep again, the thugs were back, chucking firecrackers and mortars over the cliff at us. I’m still not sure if they were that oblivious, or if they thought two naked hipsters on a beach made fun target practice, but after about 10 shots or so, one connected, and exploded right in front of our faces! After that though it was an amazing night and morning, at least until we got back to the cabin. All of our belongings were thrown around all over the place, and Tom and Katie left at 5am, leaving behind only a note, “couldn’t take the bugs, got a head start”.

Upon further review, it was clear we had been ransacked. The thieves were classically inept, at best, but still managed to rob us blind! They did their best to relieve us of our clothes, and took my phone, but left two wallets full of cash, and our expensive cameras, completely untouched. We picked up what little remained of our stuff, downed the last beers we’d brought, and went searching for the thugs of Yellow Camp, whom we found almost immediately. As soon as they saw who they were, they broke into a run, and we gave chase as well as we could, only losing then once they’d piled haphazardly into a pickup truck and hauled ass toward the 101.

With our remaining direct actions at a loss, we did the one thing we could think of, and biked to the police station (remember, we can’t call — fuckers took our phones!), and filed a report. The officers weren’t the most helpful, but I’m not sure how much they could have done anyway, when we didn’t know whose party it was, or even who might have been there. The ride home was long, but relaxing and quite interesting, 61 miles along the roads and canal in Wayne county.

This morning, I finally heard from my phone, after a few dozen calls to it, believe it or not — calling the number actually worked, and it wasn’t a thug who picked up, but a fireman. Unfortunately, the battery picked the worst time imaginable to give out: halfway through his address, thirteen thousand, eight hundred and ni….”. I tried to find 1389x of every road in the area and call them, but none seemed to have an extra Droid lying around. At least I tried…

And when all is said and done, a phone was a small loss to pay for an amazing weekend with Anna, and the chance to go bike touring and see a place I never would have otherwise.