Monday, March 15, 2010

Forgot about Boston - Part 7 (Chicago)

On the trip from Detroit to Chicago I was able to see Gary Indiana from the highway. If your like me and can appreciate beauty in industrial wastelands and social decay you can understand my excitement at seeing miles of smoke stacks and abandoned buildings. Alas I was not able to make my way to Gary on this trip but it's been earmarked in memory for a later visit.

I arrived in Chicago early afternoon, on the way I had managed to make contact with someone who could let me crash at his place that night, however he wouldn't be available until later that day. It's really hard to walk around a city with about 60lbs of bags so I decided to kill some time doing laundry. With a bag full of clean clothes and still hours to kill I made my way to his neighborhood. Luckily he was right near Lake Michigan so I was able to sit by the water for a few hours and enjoy the awesome weather.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Forgot about Boston - Part 6 (Detroit)

If you remember I had made plans with Nan and Lynn to meet everyone in Detroit. There was going to be 10 or 12 of us crowded into 2 hotel rooms for 3 days, this was going to be fun.

On the train to Harrisburg I met a girl who seemed to be flirting with me, I hate girls with no gaydar, she proceeded to tell me how she took the train to NYC for an audition with some sort of acting troupe, I didn't care. All I could think about was burning her uggs, but I figured the smell would choke everyone on the train. I managed to get my headphones on (signifying my complete disinterest in her) and proceeded to stare out the window for the next few hours, admiring the landscape of central PA. The clouds where thick and gray, and there was a haze in the air threatening a down pour at anytime. It kinda put me in a foul mood.

I arrived in Harrisburg feeling depressed and slightly worried because I had not heard from Lynn in awhile and she was supposed to meet me at the station. Something about the weather and seeing the cops at Central Station got me into a frame of mind that things where not going to go right. I hate it when I get into these moods.

Within seconds of getting my bag situated and settling down Lynn calls and lets me know she's on her way, this woman is amazingly reliable. We're off to Detroit, but first we have to stop to pick up Roland. The ride up to get Roland was interesting, if you know Lynn you know she can talk! I mean, you know how sometimes you get in those awkward silences? Well that never happens with Lynn, she is just a ball of conversation.

We go meet Roland at a truck stop somewhere in PA. He's gonna leave his car there for the weekend and ride the rest of way up with us. The only way I can describe Roland is a Dorky kid who looks likes he's a virgin and talks about sex almost incessantly. If you know anyone easily offended do not introduce them to Roland. What I'm trying to say is Roland is good people! The rest of the drive up was a pretty great time.

We arrive at the hotel in Detroit about 3am. Roland and I quickly find spots on the floor and attempt to fall asleep. Seconds later Lynn is screaming the hallway that she was promised a bed and if she can't sleep in a bed she's going back home. Roland get's involved because if she's going home he's gotta go too. After much arguing it's decided Lynn gets to sleep in a bed, crisis averted.

The next morning we all wake to our free continental breakfast, I'm introduced to everyone, damned if I remember everyone that was there though. It's decided we're going to hit an old police station first.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forgot about Boston - Part 5 (Philly)

Ameris dropped me off at the train station, I couldn't wait to be on the move again. I was also excited to be getting out of NY. I like the state just fine but it seems a lot of the people are afraid, afraid of other people, afraid of their law enforcement, paranoid of anyone who doesn't look like they belong. I found the people in NY are too worried about what you are doing. I was told I shouldn't carry my respirator on my backpack because it makes me look like a terrorist, granted it is a full face industrial respirator, but still.....the thought never occurred to me.

So, full of glee to be going to Philly I boarded my train, but not before I took a cell shot of the bridge I was arrested on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Forgot about Boston - Part 4 (The Catskills)

Adam arrived at 7/11 promptly, he let me know that we where going to pick up his friend Eric in NYC. With a quick call we learned Eric is just falling asleep and isn't feeling well. Apparently he was out climbing a high profile bridge the night before. With a few quick insults and gentle taunting from Adam Eric agreed to come along anyway. After a long drive into the city we had Eric on board and were on our way to the Catskills.

The Catskills was an extremely popular resort for most of NYC's Jewish population during the early parts of 1900 till about 1970. The advent of cheap airfare and reliable automobiles left the resort community with hundreds of hotels and bungalow style living quarters abandoned and neglected. The Jewish influence still remains however as one can see Hasidic Jews in almost any convenience store in the area.

Our first stop was a hotel that somehow had remained open for quite some time but had recently closed their doors. Adam was excited about being able to see this place as he has been waiting for it close. Sadly as we pulled up we found a security guard sitting in the booth at the front gate. We weren't too upset though cause we had another destination planned.

On the way Adam told me how the last time they were here they were chased off the property by a mob of angry Hasidic Jews. The confusing part is they where trying to turn the resort into a casino by claiming to be Native American. I had to see this for myself. We arrived at the resort and started with the small bungalows on the far left side of the property.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Forgot about Boston - Part 3 (NY in general)

At the station in Buffalo I met a father and son scrapping team. We laughed for a bit about our rivalry until I realized that they where downright retarded and probably dangerous people. I boarded my train to NY making sure I didn't sit anywhere close to them.

I arrived in NYC around 11pm. I had plans with Ray (Aerofennec) to crash at his house in Long Island and explore a ton of places he knows well. Ray picked me up from Penn Station and took me to one of the funnest entrances to any site I've ever been to.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Forgot about Boston - Part 2 (Buffalo)

Nick and I arrived in Buffalo around 10pm. We headed towards Buffalo Psychiatric Center to meet up with Jake and possibly explore a smaller building of the campus.

We parked the car on the street and left all of our gear inside. We both carried only our wallets and cell phones. As most of you know Buffalo Psych has been a little hot lately due to certain events that I won't go into because of all the drama it brings up. The security that patrols this campus is called OMH (Office of Mental Health) and unbeknownst to be at this point they are legitimate police officers on their own property. Anyone who has done any hospital explores in NY is familiar with OMH and it seems most are terrified of them.

We started off by walking on a path the goes directly behind the giant kirkbride. It seemed interesting to me that they light up this beautiful building for all to see but barricade any possible entrance into it as soon as it's discovered. I was told of doorways inside the building that are completely cemented shut making it almost impossible to navigate it even if you where to find an entrance. Too gorgeous to demolish but too old to put to use. We come up to our target for the evening and start to make our way around the back of the building. Within 2 seconds of stepping on the grass we're surrounded by OMH police, hands placed on cars, everything emptied from our pockets and being questioned about what the hell we're doing here. We keep our calm and explain that we're just cutting through to meet a friend of ours at the nearby dorms for Buffalo State College. They don't believe us and start trying to play good cop bad cop with us. We're not deviating from our story though and they are getting frustrated. I finally decide to start playing the scared pedestrian in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Are we in trouble? I didn't know we wheren't supposed to be here! I'm not from here, please just let us leave!"

Finally we get our cellphones and wallets back and are told to leave the grounds immediately or we would be arrested. We make our way off the grounds all the while noticing that we're being followed and carefully watched. We meet up with Jake and explain what just happened. This apparently isn't the norm for this hospital and only because of recent events has it become so hardcore. I suggest we go get a beer and discuss our next course of action, Jake can't drink cause he's not 21 yet (whats with all these young ass explorers) and Nick is pretty much ready to call it a night. Defeated and sober I agree and have Nick drop me off at my couch-surfers house.

If you've never heard of you should check it out. It's a great resource for the budget minded traveler and a great way of meeting people from all over the world, if your comfortable letting complete strangers sleep in your house. The people that are into this scene all appear to be adventure junkies and are looking for the edge, that new thrill. It's seriously an awesome thing and I plan on opening my place in Boston to as many people as possible.

My host in Buffalo is Jeremy and his roommate Tom. Jeremy greets me at the door around 12am and immediately makes me feel at home. He offers me a beer and shows me the couch I will be sleeping on, already made up with sheets, pillows and comforter. We get to talking about our adventures and life stories. Jeremy has traveled all over the world and has spent a considerable amount of time in Hawaii. He runs his own record label and skateboarding company (B. Lo Boards). I explain why I am traveling and he gives me some tips on where I might be able to find some cool stuff around town. The general idea is follow the freight lines and you'll find stuff.

The next day I set out to explore Buffalo on my own. I take Jeremy's advise and follow the tracks throughout Buffalo. I come across building after building that appear to be abandoned, but on closer inspection they are all in use, at least to some extent. I checked out Buffalo Color only to find it under construction and all the roads around it blocked off. This saddens me and seems to confuse a few exploring contacts who had no idea that this was being done. I also walked the tracks to Concrete Supply and find CSX working on the tracks just after the bridge I need to cross to get there, defeated again. Eventually I come across an extremely tall building just off the tracks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Forgot about Boston - Part 1 (Rochester)

On July 3rd I set out to find a rooftop to photograph the Boston fireworks the next night. I scouted a roof right on the edge of the Charles River that was covered in scaffolding and made plans with another explorer to meet up the next day. Little did I know this event would change my view of the world.

I've been bitten by an exploring bug, a thirst for adventure and adrenaline I've not experienced any other way. Seeing a city from a rooftop, knowing that no one around you is looking up, or sneaking into an abandoned building that people see everyday but never notice is a rush I can only describe as addictive.

Of course with any addiction there are side affects. I started spending all my free time exploring new heights and abandoned buildings. I wasn't sleeping and was starting to realize that sitting at a computer all day fixing the plumbing problems of modern day pipes was not at all rewarding or exciting by comparison. I became increasingly frustrated with my job and how much of my life it consumed. Because of this my attitude with coworkers and my employer deteriorated to the point they felt it necessary to write me up.

I sat down with my employer and explained the situation. I'm over worked, under payed, burnt out and starting to hate computers. Their solution; give me a month off to explore as much as I can and try to get it out of my system.

I recognize that this is unheard of in almost any company and freely admit that the people I work for and with are fucking awesome and I am happy as shit that I work for them. I don't know if this trip will help in the long run cause now I have a major case of wanderlust. But if this is something I can look forward to each year then I think I am going survive.

The plan for the trip; there is no plan. I knew I couldn't afford lodgings or to fly everywhere I wanted to go so this was going to be a legit backpackers journey. I borrowed a quality backpack, bought a tent and sleeping bag and packed up everything I thought I would need (roughly 55lbs of stuff, way too much in hindsight) and set out on Aug 29th to Rochester.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Forgotten Boston - Abandoned Dry Dock

Tucked behind the Bank Of America Pavilion and in plain sight of Harpoon Brewery is a relic of Boston not many have ever seen. Complete with decaying cranes, ancient pump house, vandalized bathrooms and a 50 foot caisson holding back the ocean. This is one of Boston's forgotten dry docks.

Forgotten Boston - Island Hospital

We took a cab from the T stop. The cabbie was helpful in dropping us off at the right spot near the beach. It was 12am and the tide was coming in fast, we got stuck on the rocks between the ocean and a road well traveled by police. We waited till the tide started to recede and plodded on
across the slippery rock coast line.

Finally we reached the bridge to The Island, guards posted on both sides and nowhere to hide.