Last of the Summer Grime

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

One more trip from the brief summer season of the Concrete Collective before all the students are back in town. We’d hoped for more, but real life got in the way, and I missed most of my own meetings thanks to Laura taking control over everything, and we lost our longer trips to Nate backing out at the worst possible moments. And that’s how we end up spending a Monday afternoon out exploring, the last day before the start of classes and the fall routine.

We didn’t have to go far to find our first location… Mt Hope chapel, which we just rode by on a whim, happens to be wide open!

There had been quite a bit of cleanup work going on here all summer; the city has been talking about eventual reuse as a mausoleum, like they did with the once-abandoned chapel at Holy Sepulchre. This was in the basement (empty, of course). Any idea what they would use an enormous wrought iron casket for?

Architectural details are left in piles around the chapel. It looks like crews have been doing some kind of salvage or simplification to prepare for the distant future

And that’s about all I got to see of the chapel, we were already late for the meet at the subway…
So… I *really* need a new lens!

I think this had a chance to be a great picture… even though it didn’t turn out that way


This is probably the most suggestive way I’ve ever seen to use a fire extinguisher…
Put out. Put it all out.

I didn’t get to see as much as I wanted to yesterday, so I tried again today at the chapel before class. There was supposed to be Nate and a few others meeting up with me but I spent over an hour wandering and waiting and didn’t see any sign of them. Again. At least I could get the shot I wanted of the organ…

In the morning light, there’s even sunlight down here on the casket lift.

I had a bad feeling about all this… it seemed only inevitable that I wouldn’t be exploring for quite some time after it! Here’s to hoping I’m wrong, but things aren’t looking good around here anymore.

Linear Cave

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Rochester, Underground

Finally getting back underground again after a shortened summer with the parents… not so much that they’re opposed to me exploring (they’re not), as that it’s just difficult to plan and do anything when I’m there. But I’m back at school for the fall now, and of course I’d make going on adventures a priority. Just about everything possible went wrong on this one – it was supposed to be one of many places I went with Nate, but I started out with bike trouble and missing the first few places, and finished up with camera trouble, as in the damn thing being bricked and not even turning on. Oh well at least I got a few pictures of Norton’s cave out of it.

This rather unassuming waterfall is the cave entrance, easily visible from a hiking trail in Seneca Park

The inside of the cave looks like this, basically the entire way. It’s all a straight line, mined right back into the rock to reach a natural spring. At some point in the early 19th century, the cave/mine provided building materials and drinking water to the village of Carthage, one of the predecessors of Irondequoit.

Looking back even a quarter mile into the cave, you can see the sunlight at the entrance staring back at you. It’s reassuring I guess but it really takes away from the cave-ness of the place.

Shitty HDR. Because I can.

I Came As A Cat

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

I woke up this afternoon sprawled out in the entrance of Kendrick Hall. Something was still going off in my head: “got to get to the stadium. it’s all happening at the zoo. you’re on the moon, things are different here.” The stadium didn’t help me one bit, the bouncing basketball an Angry Bird, the crowd cheering somehow a turgid taste. Head pounding, espresso resounding a search for saturated fat. Someone in the commons recognizes me, and puzzle pieces started falling back together.

A winter morning glowing brownishly blue, infinitely late that night, it even SOUNDED cold. You couldn’t hear the bass out here, even if Garrett was pounding out one last set in the Chi Phi back room. Suddenly my hind legs just stopped working. Again and again I’d try to run, and fall straight on my back. I thought this was what tails were for, I wasn’t supposed to do this, even in the snow. It took me a while to figure out I was a cat too. Cowering in a corner watching as they circled me, eyes glowing green and purple, all I could say was “sorry… sorry…” then I looked back and saw it, mottled in black and gray, my own feline presence, I was among friends! We roamed the tunnels between liquor bowls in total darkness, taking in what remained of the night. Then the outside, and relearning to walk, finding language to curse the Dreamweaver and that offer of ALL the drugs. Even though all I needed was to get out of the snow and curl up in some corner.

I wasn’t the only one who thought I heard music beyond the dead end. Someone had labeled the “ending” with a bold warning (or invitation): THOU SHALL NOT PⒶSS. Matt already started on the sledge hammer. I gave it a few whacks with the old iron pipe that smashed my toe Monday night, and soon enough we were through. It was Jake’s fault. Of course it would be. Not that it mattered, even though they missed the venue by a bit, Infernal Abyss was on stage, and there was even a keg! And what harm could more music and more beer be? Everyone here was amazed; this was the shit we’d been reading about, the cataphiles and their Parisian escapades, the winter of 99 in our own story, and otherwise the province of a few visionaries in Brooklyn. We’d made it happen, 200 people or close to it in some old moldy tunnels, bringing the place to life!

The rave was more than we ever imagined. Only midnight and the tunnels are packed. Coming in, there’s just silence; or at least you think it’s silence, then you just perceive the faintest thump. Bass. Somewhere. Following the beacon beats, there’s a junction. Toward the pulsating wub-wubs of the next wave, or toward the burning red glow and the chirp of a Nintendo acid trip? Not all those who wander are found, beyond all these are a brutal metal room, and someone shredding a guitar, behind cinderblocked walls. This was my escape, a world of our own creation that Laura would never know. This was where I belonged, the last piece of me still growing and living, and I would make it a part of me.

I never thought we would actually try this. That night of ambition and Jim Beam was one thing. A full rave, or close to it, with three rooms of music, 150 people already expected if Facebook could be trusted, and those subway flyers in most of the hipster haunts? And adding to it all the undisputed fact that Laura would never give me the end of this if she found out. Super Saturday was a thing, and and it all happened more and better than we ever imagined. Laura did notice that something seemed a bit “off” with me as we watched the Super Bowl tonight. Oh, if she only knew…

Milk Crates

We Are Concrete

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

Somehow, on the night of January 17th, we found ourselves back in the tunnels of Iola, with little else but ambition and a bottle of Jim Beam. (Try it sometime. Ambition and Jim Beam are probably listed as essential ingredients in any anarchist’s cookbook, with all it did for us!) Somewhere along the line, the idea came up to make exits at each building, then use the tunnels as a secret passage for some sort of event. Thinking about it, we decided with mostly sarcasm the event had to be a rave. There would be a practice round, and pending a success on that, an all out rager in just 3 weeks!

And so with subwoofers and colored lights, we began the transformation. This is the Green Room, likely to be the base of our next event

Now they know where to find us…
Fuck Yeah!


Great balls of fire! Luigi would be proud.

Somewhere not long after this I became far too drunk to take any more photos. You’ll just have to take our word, or show up a week from Saturday. February 5, the night before Super Sunday! Expect an eclectic crowd, abundant paint, music from DJs Clownbaby and CMPLX_NY, and an all night subterranean blast, from the Concrete Collective: your connection to the underground.

Colossal Cave Adventures

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

It is dark. It is likely that you will be eaten by a grue. At the bottom of a long ladder, there are two passages, both alike. One goes nowhere. The other leads to a long, dark, endless tunnel.


Your headlamp is not bright enough to see very far, so you continue on into the blackness.

Suddenly, something reeks. You look around at the walls, and see this alien life form.

It lets you pass into its chamber. Sound behaves strangely here.

(Most of) our intrepid crew; Josh and Rachel wandered off somewhere, we should probably look for them sometime…

A night at the opera. This room resonates LOUD at low F#.

Aha! I found our missing adventurers

At last, the end. This tunnel is close to 10 miles long, not even counting the branch routes.

A few more I didn’t bother to post here