Spaghetti Factory

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

This was a place I saw while I was canvassing last fall and never made it back to. As far as I can tell, it’s a former part of the LiDestri plant, a spaghetti sauce conglomerate that dominates the north side of Fairport. It’s also the farthest away of our regular season destinations, so we decided to make it a priority in a week that we have a guest explorer with a car in our group. The entrance was a bit less than intuitive, for me anyway – the door that I thought would open, and probably was open in the fall, was grown shut with a thick blanket of ivy, most of it poison. The rest of the group was able to get in through a window I couldn’t fit into, so I just waited outside instead of making the rash decision of trying to tear down the noxious plants. Just as they were about to leave, they found a locked door that opened from the inside, and I finally got my chance, running around the place as quickly as I could with the 10 minutes or so of daylight remaining, more or less shooting blind. I’m actually pretty satisfied with what happened, although I would have loved to have a wide angle lens for this place…

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.

Common Knowledge

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Residential, Rochester

When looking for a place to explore, never discount the obvious. Anyone who has seen this building enough times would notice the lights are never on, and the windows are broken, on the first two floors. This one is only an elevator ride away from me – the building where I live, 111 East Avenue, used to be the Sagamore Hotel, one of the most luxurious places in the city in the 1920s and 30s. Among the more interesting historical uses of the building, the penthouse once housed W2XRT, among the first television stations ever built, going on the air in 1938. After the war, the hotel was converted into apartments, and the building more or less left to rot for the past 70 years, becoming an artists’ and students’ haven across the street from the Eastman School. The second, tenth, and half of the first floor are sitting abandoned, and no one really bothers with them, they’ve been in a perpetual state of near-renovation for what looks like at least ten years. I wouldn’t be surprised if their days are numbered though with yet another new owner taking over the building, and a wave of evictions and rent hikes throwing out most of the people who already live here. And now that I’ve gotten my own notice to be out by the end of July, I figure I have nothing left to lose even if I did get caught here.

This entrance once belonged to the Monroe County Democrats’ office, before they moved to an industrial park on the east side.

Being a semi-active building (and UE layer cake), the decay isn’t particularly extreme here, and looks more like aborted construction. But what can I expect, for a place 30 seconds from home?

There used to be some government offices here too. Locked door? no problem, just go around the side.

…and run into construction workers smashing down some walls in what used to be a subprime mortgage brokerage. They threatened to call the cops but I told them I live upstairs, and I can’t get evicted twice anyway, and they let me go in peace.

The penthouse was the most interesting part by far. I’m not sure if this is original, or when it was added, but I could imagine this lobby having been the entrance to an experimental, and distinctly classy, TV station 60 years before Reality TV was even a concept. This was a time when it made sense to put the TV studio across the street from the Philharmonic, when radio was the entertainment of the masses, and television featured mostly classical and jazz music, live theatre, political talking heads… and boxing, fought in an improvised studio ring.

Even the ornately stenciled ceiling remains, evocative of the ceiling tiles at the old Eastman Theatre before the new renovations there.

And finally, from on top of the studio roof, a view of the East End.

The Underground Art

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Rochester, Underground

It may be trivially easy to access, and everyone’s been there, but one of the best things about the Rochester abandoned subway is that every few months, the graffiti changes like the exhibits in a gallery. This time, we were here to remember Seth (HIAR) who took his own life last winter, and try to get pictures of as much of his art as is still around…

Rites of Spring

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

Playing with fire again, this time in the old Flint St warehouse… reason #18 I shouldn’t go to Burning Man: I can’t spin fire without burning a hole in my shirt and having to get put out with a $8 bottle of Drunken Bastard!

Some people were much better at it than me though

We need to make a sport that uses these. Fire hockey? Dodgefireball? Cricket 2.0?

All that fire did light the place up nicely at least…

Go home, you’re drunk!

Random 3am calls from these freaks to go exploring is one thing I’ll miss horribly about graduation.

It’s such a shame the library is too moldy to read anymore. A few years ago there were thousands of books, mostly literature and history, piled up in one room of this place.

(many) more pictures of this place here


Written by Concrete on . Posted in Rochester, Underground

Sometimes blogging at work has its positives… like discovering am explorer sits at the desk right next to me! We decided to take the first Sunday of spring and go to the drains and play with some fire and glow sticks.

Explorers in their natural habitat:

Garrett the fire god:


Now entering RGB color space

What else are you supposed to do when you find a dead mau5 while you’re exploring?

Eventually we just smashed the glowsticks and went Jackson Pollock on the place.