Archive for May, 2013

Backup Plan Hospital

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

Yes, I went back to this place yet again. It was the start of a new season in the Concrete Collective, and we were aiming high, trying to get into the Terrence Building. Of course, we missed the brief window of it being open without climbing like a parkour monkey, just like every time, so we went to the one place we knew was still open, the Genesee Hospital. Things had changed quite a bit in the last few weeks though, the side door was wide open now, and the inside was full of plastic sheeting and asbestos warnings. So it looks like we’re losing this one soon too.

I’m kind of surprised no one has smashed this yet.

There are work lights scattered throughout the hospital now, creating some new shots in the darkened corridors, and making night exploring a lot easier.

Root canal time!

This empty space used to be a warren of horrendously moldy psychiatric rubber rooms. Now it’s just a blank concrete hall.

Common Knowledge

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Residential, Rochester

When looking for a place to explore, never discount the obvious. Anyone who has seen this building enough times would notice the lights are never on, and the windows are broken, on the first two floors. This one is only an elevator ride away from me – the building where I live, 111 East Avenue, used to be the Sagamore Hotel, one of the most luxurious places in the city in the 1920s and 30s. Among the more interesting historical uses of the building, the penthouse once housed W2XRT, among the first television stations ever built, going on the air in 1938. After the war, the hotel was converted into apartments, and the building more or less left to rot for the past 70 years, becoming an artists’ and students’ haven across the street from the Eastman School. The second, tenth, and half of the first floor are sitting abandoned, and no one really bothers with them, they’ve been in a perpetual state of near-renovation for what looks like at least ten years. I wouldn’t be surprised if their days are numbered though with yet another new owner taking over the building, and a wave of evictions and rent hikes throwing out most of the people who already live here. And now that I’ve gotten my own notice to be out by the end of July, I figure I have nothing left to lose even if I did get caught here.

This entrance once belonged to the Monroe County Democrats’ office, before they moved to an industrial park on the east side.

Being a semi-active building (and UE layer cake), the decay isn’t particularly extreme here, and looks more like aborted construction. But what can I expect, for a place 30 seconds from home?

There used to be some government offices here too. Locked door? no problem, just go around the side.

…and run into construction workers smashing down some walls in what used to be a subprime mortgage brokerage. They threatened to call the cops but I told them I live upstairs, and I can’t get evicted twice anyway, and they let me go in peace.

The penthouse was the most interesting part by far. I’m not sure if this is original, or when it was added, but I could imagine this lobby having been the entrance to an experimental, and distinctly classy, TV station 60 years before Reality TV was even a concept. This was a time when it made sense to put the TV studio across the street from the Philharmonic, when radio was the entertainment of the masses, and television featured mostly classical and jazz music, live theatre, political talking heads… and boxing, fought in an improvised studio ring.

Even the ornately stenciled ceiling remains, evocative of the ceiling tiles at the old Eastman Theatre before the new renovations there.

And finally, from on top of the studio roof, a view of the East End.

Missiles? What Missiles?

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Buffalo, Industrial, Military, Niagara, Underground

My friend came in from Ithaca this weekend for some exploring, and after some Friday night drinking and draining (making use of his crow-wrench tire iron that I took by mistake almost six years ago and *still* forgot to return), we thought we should try some new places out in Niagara Falls, see if we could find a “missile silo” someone posted on UER about a month ago. It didn’t go according to plan at all, we went around in circles looking for it, found a few fenced off vacant lots, and finally something that looked like a plausible base.

I think there were missiles under here at one time (back in the 60s, at the latest). Unfortunately, all that’s left is about a 10 foot drop into stagnant mosquito water. No missiles, and no structures solid enough to explore down there.

At least there was a shed to explore? A serious waste of effort is all this was.

So we continued on to Niagara Falls, and went to one of our old favorite spots instead, the Tesla power plant.

We climbed to the top, but there wasn’t much of any view out the window.

And someone had been using it as an epic paintball field.

There are certain ingredients which are, whether we try or not, absolutely integral parts of our adventures. Along with the tire iron, there’s the inevitable car trouble, getting a special kind of lost, attempts to sing along to “Ásilos Magdalenas” with more passion than vocal range, and our life-long frenemy Mother Nature always trying to fuck shit up on us yet again. This time, on a beautiful May afternoon, we saw Her wrath in the form of a thick, sopping fog in Buffalo’s main drain that prevented any possible photos that didn’t look like this:

But, before we left, the steam cleared out, and we cooked up a piece of pi.

Fuck Mighty Taco.