Images of America: Essex County Overbrook Hospital - A Book Response

Sunday November 26, 2017

I have a bit of an issue in my life in which buildings, well specifically those of which are currently void of humans, often resonate with and speak to me more than people. I will even go as far as admitting that certain buildings mean more to me than people and physical human connections at times. Now perhaps that's a bit of a fucked-up introvert fueled emotional thought process to admit too, yet it's completely true..

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Photostream Introduction

Saturday August 12, 2017

The process of editing photos, putting together a location galley, writing a complementary short story, conjuring up some sarcastic photo captions, and hand coding then editing the HTML/CSS is a process that takes time. Yet for many, many years I had the process down to a ritual; the first of every month I made it a personal goal to have a new location posted up and I succeeded at that for quite some time. But over the past couple of years the stories I enjoy to write have become more complex and thus time consuming to imagine, prepare, and edit, which has led to updates on Vacant New Jersey to become far and few between...

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The Duchess of South Somerville: A Book Critique

Tuesday January 17, 2017

I never gave a shit about Doris Duke. To me she was nothing more than an over exaggerated, dead celebrity. A have-done-nothing human who reached a status quo of fame through inheriting her father's riches. Because of such an opinion I never bothered to further research Doris's legacy or fame beyond what could be read within the first paragraph on the Wikipedia page dedicated to her name...

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North Tarrytown Assembly

Monday December 19, 2016

A sea of cement blankets a massive expanse of vacant land jetting out like a deformed elbow into the Hudson River within a sleepy Upstate New York town. Just past town the stately river begins to narrow from its widest point a few miles north, before snaking below the span of the Tappanzee Bridge and flowing south past New York City. From an aerial perspective on Google Maps this cement sea appears more as a desert; void of any forms of life...

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Duke Farms Mansion Doublespeak?

Sunday November 29, 2015

Doris Duke, an American heiress. Inheritor of money, born into privilege and next in line kin celebrity living off the profits of her deceased father's American Tobacco and Duke Energy Companies fortunes. The chance of being born directly into substantial inherited wealth should not be presented with any royal significance nor boasted about. Rather, the potential of that human to then make the world a better place for others with such fortune should be the deciding factor of their faux or fact celebrity status and ultimate legacy...

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Smash The State Not Greystone

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...

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When The Sun Rises I Am Headed Home Again

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...

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Summiting Shea Center

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.

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Thoughts On Greystone

Sunday June 1, 2014

I hadn't been able to sleep for days. I felt no pain as the thorns tore gashes in my skin, and blood dripped from the fresh lacerations within my legs. My shoes were soaked upon slipping into a narrow stream hidden within the darkness. None of this phased me. I pushed through like a tank, sloshing through swamp, kicking up mud, and ripping past ivy and tall grasses, all while exhibiting the stamina of an escaped inmate running from the law, except for the fact that I was not running away from, but rather running toward an institution.

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Beneath The Wightman Gym Pool

Saturday March 1, 2014

I would walk around campus incessantly, every opportunity of down time existed as an excuse to keep moving. Between classes, on breaks, to get lunch, through the woods, on the roads, inside buildings, around buildings, up stairs, down stairs, past people, at night, through the snow, in the rain, on the hottest days, coldest nights, and always to my car which I always parked in the most distant spot in the farthest lot. My entire daily routine was based around walking, and if I physically couldn't, then I'd be thinking about where I'd walk next...

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Jet In The Woods

Sunday December 1, 2013

Old Man Winter was a pussy-ass-bitch! It was just a few days before the arrival of the Spring Equinox and the ground was already thawed, it had been for weeks at this point. Green vegetation covered much of the forest floor, fueled by the onslaught of unseasonably mild air. Pesky woodland creatures began to awaken from hibernation way too early. I could hear their dinky legs and arms scampering about the woods, probably perplexed as to where the hell winter went so soon...

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Spring Garden Elementary School

Tuesday October 1, 2013

A lone truck tire propped against a brick wall served as a step up into an otherwise inconvenient window entrance. The large tire provided just enough of a boost for me to be able to grab on to the window ledge and pull myself up and through the opening, belly down, skin scraping across the cement sill so as to keep a low enough profile to avoid scaring my spine against a rusty jagged window grate peeled back just a few inches above my head...

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Climbing Advertisement

Thursday August 1, 2013

Back when I was more boring I would notice the messages displayed about the many tall billboards, always advertising some form of bullshit material goods or textually spewing sugar coated propaganda to sponge minded passerby's below. The advertisements always precisely placed, so as to garner the most attention; bold text on bright colored backgrounds suspended over cliff edges or bolted atop tall poles overlooking busy highways is par for the course...

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Rooftopping Ben Shahn Hall

Saturday June 1, 2013

My brain was baked, dull from the dense monotony which smothered my mind of any free thinking abilities. Nearly a half hour overextended, a horrendous three hour night lecture had finally let out. With its commencement, I watched as my peers rose like zombies from their desks in the lecture hall. In unison they threw their backpacks over their shoulders, inserted head phones into their ear holes and exited out the single narrow classroom door...

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Old Route 23 Railroad Trestle

Monday April 1, 2013

Walking along train tracks is an entertaining way to kill boredom and potentially even yourself, as some may view the potential danger of a barreling train out to be. As a kid, adults would tell me to stay off the tracks, so I didn't. Instead I walked the tracks, I discovered some awesome industrial ruins, I developed a fascination for trains and railroad infrastructure, I saw lots of interesting and crude graffiti, and I stayed alive.

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Essex County Hospital Center 35mm Slides (Part 3)

Friday February 1, 2013

A continuation of digitalized 35mm slides originating from the defunct Essex County Hospital Center. This 2013 series of scanned slides details aspects of patient life as well as provides a look into the daily workings of a psychiatric hospital. Most of the scenes captured within the images appear to date back to sometime during the 1970's.

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Moodna Viaduct

Thursday November 22, 2012

Spanning across a valley nestling the quaint Hudson River town of Salisbury Mills, New York, a massive, rusty, train trestle divides the landscape, standing tall and long like a life sized Erector Set, seemingly built by a foaming rail fanatic. Despite the trestle's oxidized and faded exterior, the structure remains quite active; a vital piece of railroad infrastructure, carrying both commuter and freight cars into Port Jervis, NY and Hoboken, NJ. The Moodna Viaduct, as the trestle has come to officially be known, opened to rail traffic in 1909, after its five year construction period was completed by the Erie Railroad...

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Yungborn Health Resort Tunnel

Friday September 21, 2012

I had read an article posted in the local newspaper hinting at the possibility of a pair of abandoned pedestrian tunnels existing within a tract of woods local to the town of Butler, New Jersey. According to the write-up, the tunnels were constructed sometime during the early 1930's as a means of connecting a plot of land that had been severed during the construction of state highway, Route 23. The significance of the tunnels are that they were supposedly ordered to be built by Benedict Lust, key founder and father of naturopathic medicine in the United States...

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Triage Tag

Wednesday August 15, 2012

I found the following evidence tags within a basement room of closed hospital and thought they were rather interesting. They are known officially as triage tags and are used by medical personnel upon arrival at a causality or disaster event. The tags serve as a means for identifying and accounting victims involved in a mass causality event, based on injury severity. Important and potentially life saving information about said victims is recorded on the tags enabling first responders to easily determine people requiring the most immediate medical attention from a potentially large number of victims sustaining various injuries. The tags help to establish an orderly triage process within an otherwise chaotic event...

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Patients' Rights: Essex County Hospital Center

Monday June 18, 2012

An array of paper documents and patient logs remain strewn across the faux marble tile floor in a small corner office. Numerous pages torn from the grasp of metal binder rings litter the tiled floor. Through a smashed window pane a breeze enters, rousing about the mix of papers like fallen leaves rustling about on an Autumn's day. Dismembered reports lay in disarray, amiss from sequential succession. Amongst a pillaged mess of confidential reports, carelessly abandoned upon closure of the institution, of a piece of yellow paper caught my attention...

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Under the Bridge

Monday May 14, 2012

I've driven over this length of Interstate 287 hundreds of times, most often while on the way to less than desirable places. However a particular stretch of bridge spanning over a gorge separating the town of Wanaque New Jersey from Oakland New Jersey has been a wonder of my curiosity for sometime. As a young child I recall reading articles printed in the local papers about suicide jumpers parking their vehicles on the shoulder of the bridge, climbing up to the roofs of their cars and walking off...

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Round Barn Demise

Tuesday March 20, 2012

I received the following photographs a number of years back. They were taken just a few days after a late Autumn snowstorm dumped 6 inches of heavy wet snow across Warren County New Jersey, on October 28th 2008. The weight of the snow lead to the collapse of what was the last standing round barn in New Jersey. Stray bits of evidenced scattered about the internet point toward the barn having been built in 1933 by the Pfaff family, thus the barn taking the name of the Pfaff Round Barn. When the Pfaff Family Farm closed, the state of New Jersey took ownership of the barn, as the unique circular wooden construction of the structure made it historically significant and valuable. But as with most things the government is left to baby sit, the barn was largely forgotten about and fell into despair...

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Essex County Hospital Center 35mm Slides (Part 2)

Friday January 13, 2012

While roaming about the extensive hospital basement one afternoon, I discovered a large storage room off to a corner which I had never noticed before. The space turned out to be packed with boxes full of old and outdated medical equipment. After poking around inside the room for sometime and tinkering with the various equipment, I spotted on the floor a tattered Kodachrome slide. I held my flashlight under the film but it was far too decayed to makes out the image. I decided to investigate further and upon moving some cardboard boxes around I found dozens of more slides, surviving in far superior condition. Posted below is a selection of the results from my adventure that afternoon...

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Sylvan Grove

Sunday November 20, 2011

The Borscht Belt region of upstate New York State remains as an oasis of shuttered hotels, boarded bungalow colonies, and stagnant summer camps; surviving from a 1960's era, long past its prime. Sprawling resort campuses rot amongst the backdrop of the Catskill Mountain range. Gone are the guests and lodgers who once flocked to the open county side eager to retreat from the busy city life, replaced now by vandals and explorers eager to venture into the defunct vacation metropolis...

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Camp Sussex Brochure

Wednesday October 12, 2011

The following two images were produced from scanning a brochure which I found while out photographing the defunct Camp Sussex. Often while exploring I lose touch with the fact that the buildings I selfishly roam about once served a greater purpose beyond standing as merely just a deserted playground for which to wander through. Reading the text and looking at the images printed in the brochure provides an interesting glimpse into what camp life was once like...

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Hurricane Irene: The Response (Part 3)

Sunday September 18, 2011

The emergency response efforts following the devastating flooding left behind by Hurricane Irene seemed to be quite chaotic in organization. While there was certainly no shortage of police presence, and emergency crews appeared to be helping those in serious need, I believe the sheer scale of the flooding caught many people off guard and as a result many evacuation orders occurred to late...

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Hurricane Irene: The Flooding (Part 2)

Sunday September 4, 2011

The days following Hurricane Irene, major to historic flooding drowned low lying towns across Northern New Jersey, causing wide spread devastation. Downed trees crippled power lines, leaving many in the dark for days on end...

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Hurricane Irene: The Damage (Part 1)

Tuesday August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene brought torrential rains and gusty winds to Northern New Jersey. While the wind caused tree damage resulting in wide spread power outages, the most damaging effects resulted from the flooding rains. All water tributaries experienced major flooding due to eight inches or greater rain fall amounts occurring in just over a twelve hour period...

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Graffiti Eyes

Thursday August 18, 2011

Growing up in a small suburban New Jersey town, graffiti was and still is looked upon as a taboo form of expression. Every now and then some kid would spray paint a seemingly meaningless tag on a billboard or building side, only for the illicit mark to be quickly removed or painted over...

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Questions and Answers

Saturday July 16, 2011

A couple of months back I received an e-mail from a high school student who was interested in asking me some questions for an article which would later be included in the local school newspaper. Generally I don't care much to complete interviews, but the particular questions asked caught my interest, so I decided to go ahead and provide my responses...

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Gingerbread Castle

Friday June 17, 2011

Along Gingerbread Castle Road in Hamburg New Jersey, a curious castle rots. Its sun faded, frosted sugar roof, is dwarfed by an ominous silhouette of the shuttered Wheatsworth Mill, towering just above in the background. Giant size gum balls and cupcakes adorn the exterior of the castle and intricate geometric patterns designed to replicate icing and cookie cut-outs ornament the faux gingerbread facade. Inside a stairwell spirals up from the dark dungeon themed basement leading up to a rainbow painted, candy cane enchanted turret...

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Newfoundland Train Station

Monday May 16, 2011

Located off of Route 23 in northern Morris County within an unincorporated area of West Milford, remains the old Newfoundland Train Station. The wooden station built in 1872 currently sits vacant, accompanied by three railcars dating from the early to mid 1900's. In recent years the property has been most noted for serving as the set for the 2003 independent film entitled, The Station Agent. However an earlier history reveals connections with the Morris County Central Railroad, which served as an excursion steam train ride, that ran up until the early 1970's...

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Overbrook: A Video

Friday April 15, 2011

Back before I knew "Urban Exploration" was a thing and the locations I explored were limited by how far I was willing to peddle my bicycle, I used to carry just a flashlight and my trusty point n' shoot digital camera. At this period in time I had little interest in photography and mostly documented my explorations in the form of video. I remember just recording as I walked around various stinky old abandoned buildings. The footage I produced was shaky, boring, dark, and just plain awful...

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Television Rules the Nation

Thursday March 17, 2011

It is nearly a guarantee that at least one television set will be left behind in an abandoned building. During my adventures into the ruins I have come across dozens of televisions all of varying age, model, and make. To think that it wasn't until the late 1940's that the first television sets began to appear in American households and now in present day televisions are left behind as if they are expendable furnishings. With such rapid technological advances especially within the last decade, any electronic device older than five years seems to become void and useless; televisions certainly being no exception...

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Essex Mountain Sanatorium Aerial Photograph

Friday February 11, 2011

A friend of mine found this aerial print of the Essex Mountain Sanatorium in the back of a long range plan pamphlet for the Essex County Hospital Center. I have always had a fascination with the Essex Mountain Sanatorium complex. As a child I remember spending hours perusing through the wealth of information and pictures of the old sanatorium buildings posted at, only to feel a pit in my stomach when I read about the demolition of the complex...

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Essex County Hospital Center 35mm Slides

Saturday January 15, 2011

The following photographs were produced from scans of 35mm slides found within the Essex County Hospital Center. Unfortunately the majority of the slides were filthy and any attempt to remove the debris just led to destruction of the fragile film. As a result I decided to scan the slides as found, without any post processing or touch up...

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Blog Introduction

Monday January 10, 2011

With the advent of year 2011 I thought it might be interesting to add something new to the flow of this website. Rather than code a redesign or otherwise change the look of the site, I decided to proceed forward with the idea of creating a weblog. I plan to use the blog area of this website to share thoughts, pictures, artifacts, and other exploration related material which I find interesting. The current once a month update regiment that I have set in place will continue, however I also plan to post a blog update online at least monthly....

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