Gallery Update: Wednesday May 20, 2015
Five years had passed since my initial visit but upon glancing at the exterior of the massive brick building, the edifice looked unscathed, still clearly abandoned. I wondered if the same ruinous conditions held true for the interior of the main pump house structure; as I recall a few news articles published over years past made mention of grant money being utilized for some sort of restoration and stabilization efforts. But between me and finding out, the same barb wire topped fence still guarded the perimeter. Although I spotted a few more obvious cut holes this time, I opted for the same sneaky entrance which served me well in the past. A quick stroll through the long filtration building, followed by a swift run outside combined with a little bit of upper body ingenuity, I was able to gain access inside the pump house. As dust once again kicked up by panicked pigeons began to settle, golden rays of afternoon sunlight yet again cast down upon the titanic steam pump engine illuminating the massive space a familiar rusty-yellow glow. Sans a web of temporary yellow string lights dangling from beams above, the five-story steam pump appeared indistinguishable from its five year younger self, perhaps maybe just a tad bit rustier. Still no new coat of pain nor freshly oiled flywheels to be found. Just a few new candy wrappers and an empty box of Cheez-It crackers strewn across the dusty floor, the only obvious differences I could spot. Grant or not it seems the only thing that had changed over the five years, was me.
Blog Update: Thursday April 9, 2015
The State of New Jersey's decision to demolish the vacant kirkbride building on the grounds of the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital campus marks the end to an architectural marvel, but ultimately a choice the State has the right to make, regardless of one's opinion on the matter. The State owns the building thus they can decide what actions they wish to implement over their property. While such a reality is disturbing we citizens do have the right to at least express and exercise our own thoughts on the matter. And we have, but we've been largely ignored so far...
Blog Update: Wednesday March 18, 2015
The option remained to just sleep. If chosen there would be no bus to catch, nor trains to ride. Just closed eyes, complacent, safe, warm under the cover of blankets, dozing off in a fantasy dream world projected ever so realistically upon the backs of my eyelids by my luminescent pupils. But sleep is for the depressed! I'm beyond despondent, I'm wired, terrified, sick with fervor. I've already pissed three, four times against that stone wall obscured amongst the shadows of the night playing under the fluorescent white light cast by the moon. A urine puddle begins to form on the asphalt between my legs as I unzip to let out another stream of relief. Reflected within the warm puddle I notice the stars, no, The City lights...
Update: Sunday January 18, 2015
Formed and named after Martin E. Waldstein and Adolphus H. Maas, the Maas and Waldstein Company was officially established in 1876 on the bank of the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey. However it wasn't until years later during the early 1900s that the ruinous buildings which remain today were constructed. The company existed as a manufacturing plant and produced primarily flavoring extracts for goods such as soda, oil, lacquers, paint, thinners, and explosives. The chemicals used within the manufacturing process of the lacquers were highly explosive and volatile. Over the span of the factories operating life up until its closure in 1990, numerous violent explosions and fires rattled the plant and took the lives of employees over the years. One of the largest fires which occurred in 1919 spread to the adjacent Erie Railroad Trestle spanning the Passaic River. This drew the response of fireboats from Newark. The trestle stills spans The Passaic, but the entire rail line and bridge has been abandoned and closed to train traffic for decades. Today the former Maas and Waldstein Company exists as a fragile shell of twisted metal, crumbling brick, and shuttered skeletal buildings overgrown with dense vegetation, splattered with graffiti. Just another one of New Jersey's alluring superfund sites.
Blog Update: Tuesday November 18, 2014
The more structured an adventure the easier it becomes to plan and pull off successfully, but with no threat of randomness and unpredictability an adventure can easily mellow into what winds up feeling like just a paid tour and thus I a tourist. I could not allow myself to sink to such petty tourist levels and so I began to loosely plan just how I would reach that top roof ledge of that tallest building on campus. I purposely allowed the chance for unforeseen error to lethally inject itself into my plan, as the thrills which follow as a result of unpredictability are comparable to the alcohol in beer; the only true appeal. I doubt any student ever climbed to that top roof ledge, such a thought alone was probably never even conceived within their boring mind. But for I, such thought became branded in my mind. I would succeed, I may even be first...
Update: Saturday October 4, 2014
Built upon a hill within the outskirts of Sharon Spring, NY, a five story, 150 room, 1970's era stuck hotel decays. Constructed in 1929 by Louis Adler for a price of $250,000, Hotel Adler as the resort so became titled appealed primarily to Jewish clientele who flocked to the resort hotel during the summer months primarily as an escape from the overwhelming excitement of a New York City life style. Hotel Adler became a primary resort destination which thrived upon the natural sulfur springs present within the town of Sharon Springs. Various mineral, massage, sulfur, and spa treatments were offered to guests at the hotel. After the 1970's, the allure of driving hours outside of NYC to mountain resort destinations started to dwindle, as attractions built much closer could offer similar experiences as well as rising competition. Still, Hotel Adler remained open for business all the way through the 1990's and into the early 2000's, despite changes in ownership. During these last final decades of business the hotel fell into great disrepair, do to its inability to no longer attract very many visitors. The doors to Hotel Adler were locked to business for good in 2004. For the past decade Hotel Adler has remained abandoned, despite the resort as well as other hotels in town being purchased for $750,000 by a New York City based Korean-American investment group in 2004. The desolate resort town full with numerous other shuttered hotels has become a hangout for anyone curious enough to make the drive. Visitors flock to Hotel Adler seemingly daily, wanting to experience the bizarre 1970's themed design, encompassing a now lawless space, where one can be free front the constraints of everyday society. While Hotel Adler may no longer accept your money, one can still visit as an illicit guest.
Update: Monday August 4, 2014
Located on a small parcel of land, sandwiched between old houses and new condominium complexes, the former U.S. Aluminum factory rots. Obscured behind tall sheet metal fences to one side of the property and shrouded by overgrown brush and vegetation to the other, the factory seemingly remains as an invisible world to passerby's, but a playground to anyone able to spot it. Holes within the fenced-in perimeter attract the curious to play inside. Once you enter, you become part of the factory, hidden from the outside world. But in this world it's a free-for-all, a jungle gym of pipes, machinery, and blown out buildings nestled between the comforts of residential houses just feet away, but protected from authoritative sight by ten foot tall opaque perimeter fences which block the views. I would sometimes wonder what the neighbors thought off all the ruckus and sounds which no doubt emanated from the fence line, or if they witnessed plumes of fire extinguisher spray cloud up above as they roasted wieners on their decks during the summer. But if the numerous adventures into the silver wasteland proved anything, it demonstrated no one cared. Occasionally the holes in the fence would be patched with hilarious strive, such as with welds and barbed wired, but new holes would always appear right next to the old, a way to both poke fun at false security and provide yet another entrance. All was always chill at U.S. Aluminum, sure the buildings were toxic and the ground contaminated according to the EPA, but we never drank the water and only played in the aluminum powder until we turned silver. However, with passing years the adjacent condos encroached further and further, until the factory too became just another living space.
Update: Wednesday July 2, 2014
The Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital was the first in a series of art deco style buildings constructed as part of the greater Jersey City Medical Center facility. The maternity hospital officially opened on October 12th, 1931 and up until its closing in 1979, is credited for the birthing of over 350,000 babies. The massive 10 story plus (if you count the uppermost utility floors) building was the first in a series of gigantic skyscrapers built during the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. The maternity hospital specifically was constructed to accommodate four hundred infants and their mothers. The structure was outfitted with state-of-the-art technology and provided free healthcare to the residents of Jersey City. Through the late 1930s and into the early 40s, numerous additional skyscrapers, many topping off at 22 stories tall were built to accommodate additional needs such as nurse and doctor housing. At its peak, the series of monolithic buildings encompassing the Jersey City Medical Center became the third largest healthcare system in the world. But like many buildings dating from the Works Progress Administration era, the JCMC campus was largely short-lived, as much of the space was vacated during the 1980s in favor for downsizing and smaller, easier to maintain facilities. For some years the buildings were leased out to various businesses, however starting in the mid-1990s and through the 2000s the complex of art deco buildings was left abandoned. Numerous skyscrapers literally sat vacant in the middle of Jersey City for years, a testament to the flip-side of the philosophy of building big for the sake of providing jobs during the WPA. Cities across the United States were left with massive complexes and buildings which after just a few decades were no longer needed, too costly, outdated. When the last facility related to the JCMC moved out from the art deco complex in 2004, efforts were undertaken to restore many of the deteriorating buildings. Currently, nearly the entire complex has been restored, existing today as The Beacon. Since my photographs were captured the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital has been renovated and will open as the newest Beacon building.