Vacant New Jersey

Essex County Hospital Center

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Abandoned New Jersey Hospital 99 Photos

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It grew darker and darker, as we rounded a corner the last shimmer of natural light trickled away and we completely relied on our flashlights for illumination. The dirt ground was slippery, wet and cold; the mud was thick and created a vacuum like suction while walking through it. Nothing but darkness lay ahead; my flashlight beam ran across the repetitive brick walls and steam pipes that stretched overhead, for what seemed like miles. Every so often, we would duck under a web of pipes, with darkness still leading the way. Finally the elevation started to increase and after a few hundred more feet we came to a ladder. It was a surreal feeling climbing up and popping the hatch, not knowing exactly where we were.

The paint peeled off the walls in large strips, collecting in clumps on the ground. Rooms were full of medical equipment, and garbage littered the hallways. Everything was very modern but left in a chaotic state. Medical tools were scattered on the ground, papers overflowed from desks and filing cabinets were drowning in patient records. It was as if someone had turned the hospital upside down. There was so much to be seen, and with demolition already in progress on the far side of the campus, time was clearly running out. So like mice in a maze we explored aimlessly, hoping to stumble upon a gem.

An empty dental chair bolted to the ground, seemed to be waiting for a patient. A few floors below remained the morgue, the last of the line for many. Thick window screens in the patientŐs rooms dissuaded and form of escape. It was quite clear how any amount of prolonged time in these rooms could make anyone crazy. Hallway after hallway, room after room, everything was a mirror image; the hospital was very repetitive in design and architecture. Many of the walls were painted in cheerful colors, but to the patients these probably became the colors associated with isolation and insanity. It was hard to image that just a few years back, a good portion of the facility was still in use. This explained for the large amount of modern equipment and tools left behind.

As the day light started to fade our last stop led to the Recreation building. The gymnasium was quite a site, over time the wooden floor had warped, and rose up like a giant wave, throwing anything in its way to the side. Further down, was the bowling alley which remained in excellent condition. Behind the alley, a single wheelchair sat in the middle of the indoor pool, resting on a thin film a slime, which coated the pool, and now my tripod. From one of the rooms, a large portion of the campus could be seen. Many other buildings sat abandoned but had recently been cleaned out and abated. White sheet plastic coved the windows containing the asbestos fibers, in front, construction vehicles lined up waiting to rip into their prey.