Archive for February, 2013

Office Space

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Albany, Industrial

The last stop on my Albany adventure for this year, this warehouse in Menands seems to have been a casualty of the recession. While it was originally a national leader in magazine printing (Williams Press, contractor for the northeast printings of Condé Nast magazines), a decline in the print business forced Williams to close in 1999. The next tenant, judging by what still remains, must have been a moving/storage facility for Manhattan offices, containing neatly stacked regiments of furniture from the likes of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, undoubtedly hidden away, perhaps on pawn, until the recession thawed, but left out to the weather when those once proud and massive firms failed (and possibly the warehousing firm along with them).

Row after row of shrink wrapped furniture

And a failboat, up on blocks in its own floor of the warehouse

This giant mural (of Gutenberg?) is in a pitch black room that was once the corporate boardroom and is now piled high with trash

But wait! There’s more!

Let’s play danger carts!

Abandoned sunsets are the best

Scrap Pile Hospital

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Albany, Institutional

This was one of the few places in the Albany area I’d researched, and the only one any local explorers would help me out finding. As you might expect, it sucked. Genesee hospital was torn to shit, but this one, Seton Hospital, took it to an entirely new level. Anything of any value was missing, anything that could be smashed was, and most surfaces that would hold paint, were covered in graffiti. Making matters worse, it was a cold, rainy, February morning, an unphotogenic day for a downright ugly hospital, and I was dragging around a pounding hangover from round after round of Belgian Landmines the night before!

(insert obligatory lonely chair)

This is about all this place was…

The operating room. There should be a surgery table here. There isn’t.

Posted on order of the Ministry of Silly Signs

At least there was a morgue. First one I’ve ever seen, for that matter.

Fallen Giants

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Albany, Industrial

By the time I was thoroughly fed up with my fool’s errand in Albany looking for people to explore with (and had the first few of many drinks on Lark street), I decided I may as well at least explore something before the weekend got any worse. Out by myself (which never happens) and in absolutely no mood to get caught, I went back to the one place I knew I could get into, AlTech Steel, for some night photos.

Even when it was still alive I’d have to imagine this place was incredibly drab. Industrial wasteland hardly does it justice now, rows of quarter-mile-long steel caverns that once contained the grating sounds of heavy industry, and still hold the metallic, chemical air of the brownfield.

For the last 20 years these buildings have become the territory of explorers and taggers, the only signs of life left are a few vivid pieces of graffiti

This one is probably my favorite

Especially since you can see it all the way clear through the largest warehouse.

The very visible hand pointed me this way, into another warehouse just like the last one

…until the whole building shook with the roar of a freight train right next to it at full speed!

It’s been a while since I made a pi tunnel. All these clippy numbers on the ground were just asking for it!

I can’t say I enjoy being stranded very much ever, but being piss drunk in an abandoned building while it happens makes it that much less awful

Even if every photo I took absolutely sucked again

Except maybe this one–

And this is the point where I just said fuck it, wandered back to Albany, and drank more. Even though Poughkeepsie was a total bust and Watervliet wasn’t all that much better, I’d only have to wait a few more hours for my friend to be back, and to have a better exploration tomorrow. Or so I thought, waiting there until the bar closed, downing Belgian Land Mines trying to forget about my wonderful “friends” in the UE scene, wondering how my actual friend would ever find me with a dead phone. Then somehow that worked itself out too, and by 4am we caught up with each other at the local drunk-food dive, and things started to be almost OK again, and all I had to show for it was 8 less facebook friends, and a few gigabytes of absolute photo-shit.

Lost In Capital City

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Albany

Another awful Saturday with(out) awful people. I’d been planning a trip to see Hudson River psychiatric center in Poughkeepsie for the last few months, and thought I found a group of people to go with. Then starting Friday night, one after another backed out, the last two while I was already on the train east, and I tried spamming any possible explorers I knew, begging and bribing anyone to go with me. Of course no one did, and at least 6 new people blocked me on facebook. By the time I got to Albany I realized it was beyond hopeless to go any farther, and I might as well just stay stranded in Albany all day until my friend there was back in town.

Shame on you, Pedro Arana, Rich Whiddon, Rich Zoeller, Rodney from Desolatestates, “Urban Xploration”, Sean McGrady and Steven Bley. Fuck all of you. I know it was all part of the plan to leave me stranded. And I know it’s almost all explorers, not just you fucktards.

Anyway, since these miserable people wouldn’t meet up with me (again, for some of them), I wasted a day wandering around Albany looking for places it might be possible to get in Sunday, and trying to find at least something worthwhile to see. And spending most of the time sitting around waiting because exploring by myself is so awful. If this is what you wanted, this is what you cuntfaces get. Especially “Urban Xploration” for making plans and not even having the balls to say he wouldn’t show, just confirming plans Friday night, then everything completely fucking ignoring me as soon as I was actually on my way Saturday.

This is about what kind of a day it was.

787 near the train station:

I wish I could climb. Or fly.

From the front of the same building:

Looks like I was a little bit late here…

Same block, from the other side

Warehouse with some fresh new fencing

Pretty sure this is a HOW/nosm piece. There’s one just like it in the Rochester subway

Cabinet Position

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

I usually try to stay away from going back to the same place over and over again, but when a new one appears and it’s this easy to get to, it inevitably happens… in the past two weeks I’ve been in this damn hospital four times. Ordinarily every time I explore gets its own page, but that would just get too repetitious, so here goes…

TRIP 1 – January 31
I didn’t think I’d even bother to go that night, one of my friends was taking his pledge class into the creepy old hospital. Now, these places don’t get haunted by themselves, so they needed some ghosts and noises and scares to make it the experience he’d hoped for. I showed up a bit late to do much, but I managed to catch up with them on the top floor, and get far enough ahead they wouldn’t see me, into a room with a cabinet big enough to hide in. The plan was simple enough: while the pledges look around the room for clues on their little scavenger hunt, jump out of the cabinet and tackle one. There were only two problems: the pledges never came into the room, and when I was about to give up, the cabinet locked, with me inside. And of course my friend thought I was just trying to scare people when I started texting them that I was in the cabinet in 621 and couldn’t get out. FINALLY one of them thought maybe I was trying to lead them toward a clue, got to the room, and heard me pounding on the cupboard door. I didn’t even bother to tackle him.

TRIP 2 – February 2
On Groundhog day, for the first time, I got to see this building in daylight, a completely new experience after so many times at night. The entrance is exposed enough that going at night just seemed to make sense, but it rarely works out well for pictures so I figured I’d take the chance and bring a group there on a Saturday afternoon. Sure enough no one cared.

I think this crusty old machine is the floor control of an elevator

The scrappers took everything that was worth taking, and left the rest for an obstacle course

Electrical tape graffiti! Whatever we were supposed to sign in to is long gone though.

TRIP 3 – February 3
Why do I always go the same places over and over and over again? Oh well, they want to see it, I’ll show them around. Unfortunately it ended up being for nothing, at least as far as bringing the rest of the UR group, on account of a few “no trespassing” signs out front. Like those stopped the people who laid waste to the entire building for anything of a few cents value…

Nurse, I’m having CHEST PAINS! Where’s the morphine? WHERE’S. THE. FUCKING. MORPHINE.

How did the dragonfly get into the glass block? Why did it have to wait so long to be set free?

While Genesee Hospital promoted itself as a family hospital for pediatric and maternity care, one wing of it was dedicated to short and medium term mental patients. Every once in a while there’s a vestigial tail of asylum to be found here…

UPDATE: Trip 4 – February 15
Looks like I really can’t stop coming here. Whatever. This time we even brought masks so we could wander around the incredibly rotten mental ward without succumbing to the rising stench. I can only imagine what that building must smell like in full bloom in the summer!

Groundhog Day (Again)

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Concrete, Rochester, Underground

The subway seems like it always was and always will be here. It’s been abandoned for 55 years now, and while a piece here and there gets filled in sometimes, it’s unlikely to ever see another train, or really any reuse other than the de facto graffiti gallery it’s become.

Every year since 1994, the Concrete Discussion Group has come here on or near Groundhog day to explore the tunnel and eat Dinosaur Barbeque. This year was the 20th, and, I’m starting to think, last time we celebrate the eventual end of winter and start of another exploring season. There are a lot less of us now, and, worse yet, no flow of new people coming in, and even as it becomes the latest instagram craze, exploration is dead here in Rochester, close to where it all began. But it was as good a time as any to forget about all this for a while, bring out the beer, and just get underground for a while!