Washed Away

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Industrial, Rochester

Exploring the last remaining abandoned part of American Laundry Machinery in a driving rain… I was supposed to go to a few places through the day but my friend wasn’t ready to go until just before dark. Oh well, got to watch the Bills blow it again before exploring!

Located across the railroad tracks from most of the complex, and behind a massive “fence” of loosely arranged steel sheets and concrete blocks, the entrance was much more imposing than what was inside, for the most part: some of the dullest, grayest abandonment I’ve ever seen.

And perhaps the least artistic FUA tag in the city. You know a place is boring when even the graffiti crew half asses it.

Got to love leaking barrels of “something” though.

At least there’s a nice beer drinking spot up here, I might come back just for that sometime…

This reminds me just enough of somewhere I’ve been before…

And, just as we were about to leave, things got very interesting. Our somewhat holy grail was OPEN, and we were about to give it a try!

That Does Not Compute

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Industrial, Rochester

Yet another revisit to the Sykes Datatronics factory, a place that will always be meaningful to me since it was my first abandoned building, just about 7 years ago. After an astounding 12 arson fires, and 25 years exposed to the elements, it’s starting to seem like this place is going nowhere fast. Other than a few holes in the tarpapered roof, the structure is as solid as ever (if you ignore the warping parquette floors over the foot-thick concrete), and the neighborhood is still in stagnant decline, despite being within sight and sound of the soccer stadium. I don’t imagine it will be all that successful but I still have some hope for UR UrbEx; I’ve left but I guess I’m not quite gone, as they brought me in for the start of what would be my 7th year to guide them here.

Summer Reruns

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

Back in the subway for the Nth time. It’s a waste of a chance to get out somewhere with a real explorer, but maybe, just maybe, it might lead to something better in the future. Until then, I guess I should just be glad to have gotten out at all.


Hmm, maybe it was worth the trip. I never had a wide angle any other time I was here.

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]

An House Of Sin

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Industrial, Rochester

I’ve been exploring at least every week this summer, and hardly have any pictures to show for it; finally I got out during the day for a change, back to the Flint Street warehouse, which is more rotten than ever before, and features an ungodly stench in the July heat. It’ll probably be the last time I bother with this place… but I wanted to at least try the new wide angle I got for my birthday. ugh…

Someone tore down the attempt at boarding up the gaping hole in the back of the building. It’s had a turbulent history for the last 5 years, since the last tenant (some sort of thrift/junk shop, from the looks of it) left. First a professor from RIT squatted in it for “artistic” reasons for a year, then came a homeless “character” we called Mr. October for his habit of listening to baseball on the roof, with a very powerful boombox you could hear from a few blocks away. The next occupant had a penchant for booby-traps, and left the doors slightly ajar, with a nasty surprise or two awaiting anyone who tried to open them. On my attempt, it was a bowling ball on a swinging rope, designed to provide a 16-pound ball-to-balls fuck you from the squatters. Other people I knew who tried it got an ice bucket, a bucket of nails, and a Rube Goldberg device of coffee cans and pennies that made more of a racket than a thief could.

Who needs “I’m Parked In Front”? I’m parked inside!

The whole first floor used to be filled with assorted junk. Someone has cleaned it out pretty well since March.

This is the source of the stench that permeates the whole building now: a library of thousands of former books, reduced into piles of muck and mold.

So much mold. Everywhere.

This was the “kitchen” area of the squat. I’m not sure how much of a kitchen it actually was, since there was no power, but it has the right flooring and is littered with rotting cans of food.

The only somewhat decent part of this place left where there’s at least air to breathe is the upstairs warehouse, which also happens to be one of the more popular graffiti spots in the city.