The Reason I Owe You $11

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Fuck It Tour, Industrial, Philadelphia

After the church, I decided, kind of against Christian’s advice, that maybe I should go to the mysterious party after all.

(kind of related complaint: it is incredibly hard to buy beer in PA. You have to go to a beer distributor, and even then they won’t let you buy less than 24 at a time. Whatever, I thought, I’d just have some to share. And get absolutely hammered besides.)

So Christian drops me off there, at the Budd Building, somewhere in a bleak, industrial part of the city. I can’t help but think I’m in the absolute wrong place. It’s that same kind of post-industrial foreboding atmosphere as Palahniuk’s Wilmington, or Coppola’s Brooklyn. I’m actually surprised when the person behind the mystery phone actually answers, and shows me the way in. The party itself is on the top floor of the warehouse, and about as far from the street as one could get, looking out onto some roofs and a courtyard.

I don’t recognize many of the guests at first, but they all seem to know me. Of course they would – my face had been plastered on the Memester page enough times, and here I was in his city, quite possibly in his presence. As they introduced themselves I started to realize I knew a few of them as the trolls who were giving me so much trouble last year, but at least this one night we all seemed to get along, pissing the night away around a bum fire in an abandoned factory while police helicopters buzzed around looking for something that wasn’t us.

Somewhere around 1am the party started to break up, and (of course) the people I was supposed to spend the night with were nowhere to be found anymore, and people were going on about taking me to Delaware, which didn’t quite seem right. As I should have expected, I was well too far gone to make any reasonable decisions, but I followed people to a nightclub downtown that I’m not sure any of us really wanted to go to, but it was a place, and there were things there, and maybe friends. And far too many people, and shitty music. We would have walked right out right then if we didn’t have to pay a $15 cover charge no one told us about.

I don’t really have any idea what happened next. Apparently I left the club – next thing I knew it was 8.30am, and I was on the floor of some girl’s bedroom, laying on a pink shaggy rug as two cats woke me up playing “king of my face”. She wasn’t even home, and I didn’t have any clue where I was, but I figured I should get out of the house and, as it turns out, back to Philadelphia, considering I had somehow made it all the way to New Castle, Delaware with no recollection of when or how.

By this time I was lost and late, but I still wanted to try to meet up with Brendan and explore the rest of where we partied last night. I found my way there, and they said they were driving all over looking for a Wawa for breakfast. So I asked them to bring me something too, and they got me a bagel, which didn’t seem like any big deal at the time, and for me to pay for their gas to come meet me there and drive me back to the train station, which I parted with $20.

And once that was settled (ish) we explored the Packard Plant’s east coast cousin, Budd.

Well, I explored it, while Higgins and Ray looked for shit they could steal and sell.

This is an awful picture, but I’m pretty sure this was the party room, and the fire was in that basin sink thing.

And I think these are the stairs I fell down drunk on the way out.

I left Philly thinking everything turned out right in the end, and I’d be likely to come back there eventually. But apparently they were just playing nice and actually think I’m mentally unstable and owe someone $11. Oh well. If anyone would have me back, I’d love to see more of Philly. And whoever it is who is missing $11, let me know and I’ll set that right too.

St. Melba’s Church

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Fuck It Tour, Philadelphia, Religious

After the asylum, my hosts introduced me to the legendary oasis of Wawa, then we continued on to South Philly to see a church, which I know almost nothing about, except that it’s in Philadelphia. That being said, it’s certainly better than any of the abandoned churches in Buffalo!

At least no one has ever done this to me… apparently I still have farther to fall into ignominy.

Every time I see an abandoned piano I want to play it… then I wonder if someone would hear the music and decide we were better off caught.

This is the kind of picture I never thought I’d see.

Hippo Campus

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Fuck It Tour, Institutional, Philadelphia

If the last few trips had unusual beginnings, this one was absolutely weird… starting on the bus ride home from Cincinnati, I began to get unsolicited calls from apparent explorers (caller ID blocked, of course) telling me to go to Philly next weekend for some mysterious UER party. Of course, this being the Fuck It Tour, I obliged; the goal, after all, has been to explore a new area every weekend, and meet new people, who might be part of my comeback, and whoever these strange characters were, it seemed as it might be in my best interest to meet them. Obviously they could be setting a trap, but I’d be more likely to trust people I didn’t know, than people I know, in the UE scene. So, to reduce the odds of getting screwed, I made conflicting plans, both in Philly, and decided I’d go with whoever showed up first, then regardless of what I did during the day, show up to the mystery party.

About an hour after I got to Philly, surprisingly, Christian and Melba actually showed up, and we decided on one of their favorite places, Embreeville State Hospital, or something about a hippo. I never saw any hippos there, must be the wrong time of year.

After what seemed like an impossibly long tunnel from the entrance, we emerged into the main (or perhaps only) building abandoned by the hospital, apparently a school for disabled or mentally unstable children.

I wonder if this is where the hippo used to be?

Someone tagged Kings Park up with “URBEX” all over everything. Here, they had the wonderful idea of putting “UER” in the middle of the wall, like it’s some gang tag or something. Which I guess it kind of is.

How the hell is this bathtub full? Did someone actually bring water in for a photo, since there isn’t any plumbing left…

…and then we noticed security starting to circle around and found our way back into the tunnel and out of here. But the fact remained, only a few months after I thought I’d never get to explore an asylum, this was my fifth in a year, and finally a place I’ve been that the UER types are going on about. Even if I never got the chance to ride the hippo.