Waystation For The Weird

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Long Island

It didn’t take me long to get started with 2015. While the TV appearance ended up being a disastrous failure, with Seph Lawless getting the spot I’d been aiming for, and the producer letting me know that he followed up with me by mistake after our interview, I had a few leads to follow and the potential for some huge adventures in the not too distant future. And especially in the winter, I get a horrible chronic case of wanderlust, and make lots of impulsive plans – this time, to spend a weekend in New York City and Cleveland to finally meet a few people I’d been hoping to for months by now. I spent Friday night getting traditionally hammered at my work’s belated Christmas party, furiously planning a trip to Europe, and finally catching the Chinatown bus to New York City on an exceptionally frigid night.

After a little mishap in the train station (The ticket machines are WHERE?!) and breakfast at a Greek diner, we caught the next train to Kings Park, and got into the asylum easily enough, once I remembered where the entrance was (which only took walking the entire way around the building). We headed straight for the roof, and followed a grating mechanical noise to its source: a wheel on an air duct of some type that has been spinning in the wind ever since the place shut down.

It was a beautiful day on Long Island. A bit too cold for sleeping under the stars on this roof this time though.

The asylum is exceptionally trashed, but that just comes with the easy access, and it’s still got enough natural decay and colorful graffiti to be worth the trip.

After a while in that building, I led us into the tunnels, hoping to get to the main tower without the risk of getting caught out on the grounds, especially with the relatively fresh snow available for tracks. We got thoroughly lost, and tried a few crawly passageways, but every path was either a dead end, a circle, or led to the power plant. So we explored the power plant instead, which appears to be Eric’s natural environment.

Someone went “Office Space” on the office. The graffiti has a bit of local flavor too – Downer has gotten to just about every building in Rochester too

The main machine room is still my favorite part though. It’s my first power plant, and probably my last one, considering how secure most of the abandoned ones are around here.

We tried for much longer than it ever should have taken to find a reasonable way out of this building, without making too much noise breaking and exiting, or having to make a preposterous climb out. It wasn’t about to happen, so then we tried the tunnels, got lost all over again, and finally just left the way we came, and took the most direct path we could to the tower.

There was a new fence, and some new boarding up, in the year and a half since I’d been. I still gave it a try, and was on the wrong side of the fence when the park police showed up. It was obvious what we were doing, and we had cameras and tripods and a lot of stuff that wasn’t crowbars and spray paint, so we talked our way out of it easily enough, but we managed to be the lucky winners of “Let’s Get Caught At Kings Park!” for the day. We got scared and we got out, didn’t even try any other buildings after that, and went back to Brooklyn earlier than planned… until next time, I guess.

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

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!