Kings Among Runaways

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Long Island

While I was in Zuccotti Park, I got an admittedly very unexpected call from one of the people I’d desperately tried messaging through the night, Yossi from Urban Odyssey, who was completely interested in spending a weekend at Kings Park! So we met in Brooklyn, waited a few hours for people we hoped might show up, and took the ride out there on the Long Island Railroad. Getting in was easier than we expected, with open doors on a building right in a state park!

I felt right at home among the peeling paint, and thoroughly amazed to be in my second asylum, and just a month after Willard.

We quickly figured out we weren’t alone… this critter built a nest in a window frame and watched our every move through the ward. We thought about trying to free him, but couldn’t find a way without risking a rabid raccoon bite.

The place wasn’t in the best condition, but we weren’t expecting much, and got far more than we could have imagined.

As different as we might have seemed at first, it turned out we have a lot in common – two recovering engineers out traveling and exploring. Admittedly, he’s gotten farther than me; I still hope I can live that way someday, escape from society and spend a year wandering around. Until then I’ll settle for this though.

Take only pictures, leave only… shitty URBEX tags? This is not how you urbex.

Neither is this.

Or this.

We stopped in the cafeteria for lunch. They didn’t have what I was looking for. I didn’t expect them to, so I brought my own food from Chinatown. (And no, it wasn’t the durian. That went straight into a dumpster on Bayard St after I took a few furtive bites!)

From there we continued on into the other buildings in the state park section, more of the older patient wards

These corridors connected one building to another, a sign of at least a partial Cottage Plan asylum.

We couldn’t get into this one. It was probably some sort of administrative building, but it’s in full view of the parking lot and park office.

These boards blocked off the next corridor, so it was time to search for alternate methods. It didn’t help that security was onto our case too and waiting for us outside this building.

We eventually got into the tunnels, and fought with the half-flooded labyrinth for over an hour, only to come back out right where we came in. At least the cop was gone… that being said, as soon as we got outside, there was no question that we’d just come out of the asylum, so we had that going against us.

By this time it was almost dark, so we wandered back into town for some pizza, and brought some beer back. After a bit more of a struggle than we’d hoped, and another failed bid at the tunnels, we decided to camp out on the roof of the Quads instead, got drunk on Brooklyn Pennant Ale, and passed out under the clear ocean sky!

Fuck It, We’ll Do It Live

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Finger Lakes, Institutional

Sunday was a day I honestly thought would never come, especially after the fuckery in Poughkeepsie — my first time in a real abandoned mental asylum. Not just Rochester psych, half of which wasn’t even built until the 60s, and the other building which I only saw by permission, but a real explore, a respectable location, and as an added bonus, even a working camera! Willard was actually the third asylum we tried that day, after abject failures at Rochester and Newark, and it seemed I would do anything possible to make it three in a row. I barely had a clue what to do, and it wasn’t obvious once we got there. There were some ominous Department of Corrections signs around most of the complex, and what looked like the Kirkbride surrounded by a prison fence. (It turned out to not actually be a prison anymore, but a mandatory rehab facility to lock away detoxing drug addicts, but that wouldn’t make the wardens any friendlier.) I started desperately asking any explorers I knew online who might have been before, to little avail. I got a bit of advice from a few, but contradictory, and not particularly clear at that, and I couldn’t be sure they were trying to help and not lead me straight into a trap. But even though I had fully given up, my friend wasn’t ready to stop. So, against my fear and objection, while I frantically kept asking and googling for a solution, he led us along the lake toward the building.

Sure enough, the front door opened.

These were some lucky inmates. Look at this view!

Granted, some parts of the building aren’t in the best of condition, but what more can I expect for a first asylum?

The more of the place I saw, the more amazed I was. I could almost understand now why so many explorers obsess over these places.

Peeling paint asylums aren’t cliché.

I wonder where the bowling pin came from? There’s no bowling alley here…

Obligatory UE selfie, probably the first I’ve ever taken?

This is just the iconic shot of Willard everyone takes. But I’ve been here, so I’m taking it too.

Look! I found the tunnels!

Even the bathrooms are worth a picture here…

So many people must have seen this at the beginning of a very, very bad day. I’m not quite sure what these chairs are, they seem more restrictive than dentists’ chairs?

On the way out, we noticed that the wing we’d spent most of our time in was officially off limits. Oops!

These magical beasts live right across the highway from the asylum. We were lucky enough to have one prance right in front of us on the way home!

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.

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!

These Hollowed Halls

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

Nothing too exciting, but it seems like forever since I’ve been exploring. Just another trip to old rotten Iola, that gets just that much older and rotten-er every year… and always manages to escape the next threat of demolition



Someone tore down the centerpiece of the Map Room. If I had any way to bring it home it would probably be on my wall now!


It’s off…

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!)