Hudson River Psychiatric Center

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Catskills, Institutional

After last week’s legal kerfuffle, all I wanted to do is get out and explore… originally, my trip to Poughkeepsie was for a very different purpose, meeting with my prospective lawyer, who had successfully saved a few explorers from terrorism charges already, for dealing with what could have been a life changing amount of court dates, but that disaster never came to fruition, and I wasn’t about to cancel my trip! So I found a college friend and, amazingly, two more experienced explorers who were willing to show me around, and turned the weekend into a surprise adventure. There’s only one obvious thing to do in Poughkeepsie, and we were about to do it.

I’ll have to admit I was a little bit, no, maybe a lot, scared of this one. While it probably wasn’t justified, I’ve always been paranoid about asylums, as if security there is more intense, or just more of them, than any other abandoned buildings, and with the property having just been sold last week, there was potential for it to be even worse than normal. With the help of our guides, we were marched directly into the Kirkbride to explore the best known (some would say overdone) main building. After a few minutes together on the top floor, they went off to climb things, leaving us to be the tourists and take photos of everything in sight!

It immediately became obvious there was no way we could see all this in one short November day!

All this furniture isn’t cheap! Someone must have decided it was too heavy to move…

Somebody had a bad day. It’s a bit small to read here, but this was a firing (with immediate hiring at any other facility in the state, for greater pay) letter from the civil service board, for someone who wasn’t quite pulling their weight but had earned tenure…

This seemed like it would be the way to the next section of the hospital. Unfortunately, it only leads to a locked room. It seemed like a good idea at the time… but now we realized we were lost. As paranoid as I was about going back outside into the (absent) security, I sent us looking desperately for tunnels, which we may have found blocked, and trying in vain to reach the rest of the group, and we wasted an inordinate amount of time trying to get into another ward before finally going outside and just doing it. After I probably made an idiot of myself to two explorers I would have loved to meet up with again.

These are always a bit unsettling… I’m glad I’m not climbing around with the other explorers!

When you see it…

We spent a while trying to find the morgue, and eventually did find the right building, but the entrance took quite the climb, or a ladder we didn’t have. So we settled for a maintenance shed and what turned out to be the campus power plant for our last building (I hate how it gets dark before 5pm!)

Now this is how to spend a weekend! So much better than meeting a lawyer and planning for my own demise…

One Flew Into The Cuckoo’s Nest

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

Once I heard the front door was open, and it didn’t even take climbing, the decision was made for me. I had to go in. I’d only been waiting for this place to come down to my level since I started exploring, and for the first time in at least five years (other than a close call where all I managed was to pick the worst, wrong-est possible day to walk right in the front door, climb to the roof and see a parade of every law enforcement agency in the county!) my fat ass could fit into the Terrence Building. Of course, I would have preferred to get in during the day, but especially on a place like this, beggars can’t be choosars. We started on the roof just as night fell, taking in the expansive view and watching for any signs of security that could ruin our night (there was none).

One of the few pieces of equipment left behind when Rochester Psychiatric Center moved (to a sprawling two-story campus next door) was the operating room lamp. Probably because the OR got a lot less use with the end of the lobotomy era…

This seemed a lot more sinister than it actually is. Upon further investigation, it’s a steam autoclave for sanitizing dirty scrubs and linens.

No, we didn’t set off some giant alarm. I was just experimenting with a red flashlight.

The basement is much bigger than any other floor of this hospital, or at least seems that way… I suspect the “shelter stops here” sign represents the edge of the building, and the point past which would no longer have protected the inmates (and more importantly in those times, the employees) of the hospital from the Bomb.

That awkward moment when the world is ending and all you want to do is take a shit.

This guy is EVERYWHERE!

And finally we found it: the morgue.

And I didn’t even think to take an autopsy table selfie. I must not be a real UERer.

Goodbye, Iola

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

[continued from previous post]

And just like that, I met a real explorer. Three real explorers, actually. I might be able to make a comeback after all. I’d hoped this would happen somewhere I hadn’t already been so many times, and I might get to see a new, interesting location somewhere, but at least I have my foot in the door again!

We continued from the house into Building 7, the corner one at South and Westfall.

The tunnels, and even the basements, have flooded since last time I was here, making these cages an even more miserable place. This building was the county corrections headquarters, which really makes me wonder what these cells were. Drunk tank? Training area for prison guards?

There was too much water in the tunnels to bother with, unfortunately, so I never got the chance to say goodbye to the green room and the rave tunnel. So we just walked through the grounds to Building 5, the old children’s ward and by far the worst trashed part of the campus.

Oh, it’s this guy again. I’d love to know who’s behind these. Especially because he’s also responsible for this:

‘Scuse me Iola!

Which describes how I’m feeling all the time…

The two real explorers; Kurt and Jolene, who came all the way from Massachusetts to see this place!

This sign was a leftover from one of many times Costello and Sons tried to sell the place before finally developing it themselves into a multi-million dollar boondoggle.

These pavilions were the adult treatment wards. Before it was understood that tuberculosis was a bacterial infection, fresh air cures were the treatment of choice. Which meant that these windows would have been open year round to chill the patients and try to shiver the TB away with the frigid Rochester breezes!

And finally we ended up on the roof of the main building again with some bourbon, relishing one last time exploring drunk at Iola… this was the end.

They Paved Paradise And Put Up A Costco

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

I never thought I would see this day, when the end is near, if not here, for what has become my favorite abandoned place. Not the most spectacular (but close), not the biggest (also close), but certainly the most meaningful to me, for all the times I’d been. I’ve probably spent as much time here, between all the tunnel parties, all the actual exploring, the week I spent squatting Building 1 with Anna for the hell of it, and the nights that I’d just get a few friends and some beer and Jim Beam and forget about how fucked up it was with Laura, as in any other place I’ve ever explored.

So when I heard that work on the Costco project was finally under way, and there were already bulldozers and levelers on the property, I knew where I had to go. Unfortunately I’m still kind of in the middle of moving and most of my belongings, including my tripod, are in a storage unit but I tried to do the best I could, since I’m pretty sure I’ll never be back here. Most of the time I’m not only afraid of exploring by myself, but also find it a miserable experience – here, though, it felt more like a calling, that I had to come back one last time and experience it on my own terms. Iola was almost a second home to me, as much as an abandoned building could be,

Building 1 is nearly lost to nature, thoroughly surrounded by trees and ivy. When Iola was still a sanitarium, this was where the nurses lived, and the most ornate building on the campus. Its life as a county office saw it first as a preschool/day care, then as a veterans’ outreach office.

This inviting entrance will only be around for a few more days… I’ll miss it so much.

Well, it looks like the taggers finally made it here. Not that it matters, when there’s nothing left here but the wrecking ball.

It’s hard to believe with all this decay that the office only closed in 2010.

It has begun. One of the three pavilions is already gone.

I wonder if this is one of the Philly trolls I know? And who is Merk anyway, I’ve seen those tags all over, come to think of it.

Somewhere right under here is one of the happiest places I’ve ever been, the Green Room of the tunnels. (see my pictures from 2011 for why…)

Well, this is weird… Building 8 exists. Somehow I’ve always missed this in all my past explorations. 50 times or more here, and I didn’t even know this house was here, it was surrounded by so many trees before!

It wasn’t the most interesting place, (it was just a house), but Iola never ceases to amaze, just for showing me an entire building I’d never seen.

And while I was in here, something unexpected happened. A WILD EXPLORER APPEARED!

[to be continued]

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.

I Love The Smell Of Asbestos In The Morning

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Long Island

And what a view it was to wake up to Sunday morning!

We didn’t even really explore this building much during the night, but in the blazing morning sun, it was a sight to see.

This building was in even worse condition than the state park ones, but I don’t even care, I like the further extremes of decay more than I ever would a pristine place that looked like it just closed last week.

After this building, with it still only being 8am, we wandered back along the bike path into town for coffee and breakfast (bagels with lox and schmeer at a delicious Jewish deli, for authentic Long Island flavor). Just as we were leaving the bagel shop, I felt a horrendous crack! come from my foot, at random, on a step that seemed just like any other. I thought maybe I’d just pulled a muscle and cracked a foot like one can a knuckle or jaw, and tried to walk it off on the mile and a half back to the asylum. It didn’t work, and just hurt more and more. But I wasn’t about to lose a chance at an asylum, even if I had no chance in hell of running or even quickly walking away from trouble. And building 93 was right there for me to hop and stumble through!

We started in the mechanical rooms at the top, looking out at Long Island Sound

As you can kind of see in the center of this picture, the flywheel on the blower is still spinning rapidly, I would assume from the temperature or pressure gradient through the building, since the air conditioner has been off for decades!

Building 93, as the iconic tower, seems to have taken most of the human damage out of anywhere in Kings Park. There is something to be said for following in the footsteps of so many past explorers and non-explorers though.

These oddly angled chairs are something of a theme in downstate NY exploring. I’ve seen them in two Catskill resorts, and apparently there are some at Hudson and Rockland too.

I didn’t go into most of the rooms with my foot bothering me more and more through the afternoon, so there’s lots of pictures of asylum corridors instead.

I brought the foot into urgent care yesterday when it refused to get any better — X-rays were inconclusive but I probably got a cuboid stress fracture. Which sounds much worse than it is. It should only be 2-3 weeks until it’s back to normal as long as I try to stay off it and don’t do much hiking or climbing or jumping (i.e. exploring). So, yet again, I won’t be going to Detroit this weekend.

Many more photos here