Vacant New Jersey

Ethrane Asylum

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Abandoned New York Hospital 47 Photos

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Just outside the fence line enclosing the shuttered brick asylum, a maintenance crew was making quick work of the tall grass. As they made passes by on their ride-on lawn mowers, fine particles of dust would be kicked up from the dry ground, creating small plumes which quickly dispersed amongst the thin, arid summer air. At a distance I paused to listen, half expecting to hear chatter of why I was standing out in the open lawn, but the sound of pebbles smashing up against the metal mower chassis combined with the rattling of the gasoline engines, proved quite deafening, and was all I could discern.

After a minute or so of watching the maintenance crew I noticed the men working appeared to be paying absolutely no attention to my backpack and tripod adorned presence. With their eyes fixated to the ground and minds concentrating only on mowing the straightest path possible, I took an unsuspecting walk past as their backs were turned. Moseying on through the newly cut grass to a spotted entrance, I noticed the freshly mutilated body of a large toad. Its severed head was nowhere to be found, only the torso and twitching muscular hind limbs remained, all spoiling in a tiny puddle of blood, too viscous to be absorbed by the parched soil. For a moment I thought "what a shame", as I really do like amphibians.

The sight of the hospital's crumbling red brick facade just feet away quickly repressed any sorrow for the terminated toad and with little effort I was soon inside the cavernous building. A crumbled mess of ceiling plaster now lined the floors and was well compacted by the throngs of past visitors who had stampeded down the same hallways, drawn perhaps by the same thrills and curiosity which brought me here.

Stalactites formed in empty rooms transforming a typical ward into a faux cave. However there was no fear of running into any bears here, just rotted floors prone to collapse and brick molding held in place only by cobwebs. But after all it seems to be, partially at least, the danger which attracts me to these places. The beauty alone, while it certainly exists, can only be originally photographed so much, but the danger is something to appreciate within itself. The thought that one day I could end up like the toad in the grass always exists in the back of my mind and the day I let that slip is the day the lawnmower wins.