Vacant New Jersey

Hotel Adler

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Abandoned New York Resort 43 Photos

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Nacho platter with cheese sauce. My mind agreed, but potential repercussions stemming from the three hour driving distance separating me and a respectable toilet swayed my decision to weigh heavily on the choice of a personal pan pizza instead. I enjoy pizza, so such an alternative meal decision wasn't necessarily much of a set back. However the mental trauma arising from the depressing reality that the nearest Taco Bell establishment was miles out of the way set my mood to a point at which the average American would gobble down a handful of Abilify or Prozac pills followed with a gulp of diet Coke, just to attempt to face such a harsh truth. The tradeoff of pacifying ones' fierce addiction to pink slime Taco's after a day's adventure with bar pizza, is like slapping a few nicotine patches over the mouth of chronic cigarette chain smoker; merely temporary relief.

I sat in a booth, it was slightly padded, but mostly uncomfortable. The upholstery flaunted a floral design which upon closer inspection yielded that the sewn bouquet of decorative flowers actually existed as a colorful assortment of condiment stains, salad dressing smudges, and coffee splatters. Further analysis revealed that within the depths of the seat cushion crevasses could be found buried treasure. Digging my hand down into the mouth of the dark foam-seat cave, I jostled my fingers around until I felt the hidden gems. I pulled out a straw, two corroded pennies, a rather pristine Splenda packet, and a single-serve Aunt Jemima syrup cup. The latter of my discoveries became of slight concern when I realized there was definitely no breakfast menu at this restaurant and that the cup was sealed but empty. Further spelunking revealed that the cup's faux sugar contents managed to seep into the deepest recesses of the booth seat, forming an underlying aquifer of black high fructose tar, which appeared to have, over the years, disintegrated the screws holding in place the very wooden seat frame which held my weight just a few feet above the tile floor also coated with grime and stains of even more sinister origin. In light of the sticky situation, I held captive the two pennies, which boosted my mental moral and net worth slightly.

I wasn't alone, but accompanied by a few close friends, who all seemed to have enjoyed the day's trespassing activities as throughly as I had. However, their adventure was just beginning, for after dinner I'd be dropping them off at perhaps the only surviving bed and breakfast in town, and upon daybreak next morning, they'd embark upon a week long hiking trip, and if all went well, eventually arrive at a designated end point. But for me, the consumption of pizza would mark the beginning to the consequence of this adventure.

Driving up to explore the tiny desolate sulfur water hamlet of Sharon Springs, New York, is a task even the most abhorrent of a human being should only ever have to embark upon never; but for me it was round two. The three hour drive up to the resort town starting from Northern New Jersey, while horrendous every single mile of the way, holds at least a couple dull highlights. For one, the sun has risen and thus the illumination of the rolling Catskill Mountain Range scenery can be appreciated for about a mile before the monotony of cruising past trees at eighty miles per hour translates into me existing as just a cartoon creature placed within an imaginary world where a poorly sketched mountainous background scene just loops and loops and loops over and over and over again, creating merely the illusion that I'm moving.

Now for the persons or in my case friends riding passenger, I'd imagine they'd just shut their eyes and pinch themselves every few hundred miles to make sure they hadn't perished from boredom. But me being the sole commandeer of the vehicle, I had to try and force my lead eyelids open for at least some of the drive. The only remaining highlight is that everyone in the car is presumably fairly stoked about going to explore an abandoned resort town, in just a few agonizing hours...

Through the first 60 minutes we sped down civilized freeways killing miles like highway robbers. The conversation filling the car at this point is chipper and full with excitement about what the day ahead holds. Jokes are cracked often and laughter combined with sarcasm works to mute the rumbling of tires rolling along the endless asphalt trail. We talk at length about the abandoned hotel's we'll explore and the history surrounding their failures. But with passing miles, the steam of conversation begins to condense off. At 120 minutes in, we've downgraded to driving winding two-lane mountain roads and the scenery, while beautiful soon transforms into that humorless cartoon loop. Peering into my rearview mirror I take glances at my friends, now slumped over like giant over stuffed potato sacks haphazardly thrown into the back seat. At first glance they appear alive for they at least exhibit one eye open each. But to be sure of their livelihood, I briefly mute the stereo, attempting to listen for breathing; a faint exhale is heard, slow and staggered, but it confirms they're still alive. At this point conversation has nearly ceased, except for the occasional nonsensical rambling brought about by that rogue state of mind which exists in-between semi-consciousness and dozing off into day dreams.

Hour 2.5: All conversation has ended. Passengers appear to be lobotomized. My iPod is dead, radio plays only static. Occasionally a country tune filters in between the white noise, I punch the steering in a fit of rage hoping it will stop! Ahead a sign looms but I fear it may be a mirage. Quickly I'm proven dead wrong as the bold text soon becomes legible. Stewart's Shops Gas Station and Convenience Store! I reposition my hands on the wheel, grasping my fingers firmly at 10 and 2 all the while keeping my foot on the gas pedal, for I know what I truly see, I understand Stewart's is merely deception at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, a ploy, merely failed imitation of the Stewart's Root Beer Stand I know back in Jersey. At this misleading NY version of the franchise at best I could reward myself with bottled soda which no-doubt tastes far more equivalent to the cancerous plastic which contains the sugary carbonated fluid than it does to the supposed root beer flavoring. My stomach growls at the thought of satisfying its cries for food with a lukewarm liquid egg heat lamp sandwich or better yet, a hotdog which has accumulated far more miles rolling on cooking pins than we've surpassed driving. I battle these thoughts in my mind, my muscles begin to shake, but I must remain calm, cool, smart, or I will again make the New York State, Stewart's pitstop mistake.

My brain silently screams at my foot to jam the breaks, but I keep reminding myself of the delusional Stewart's effect, for nothing here is truly real, it all just exists in the mind as appetizing, branded as eatable through use of clever marketing, colorful packaging, and cheap prices. After much initial anguish, I harness the last of my mental strength and cruise past the establishment. As we pass, the taunting of the reversed sign dissolves into the reflection of my rear view mirror, eventually disappearing into the surrounding mountains. I feel a weight has lifted, for I've won the rest stop battle.

It's the final half-hour stretch. Roads have funneled into miserable one lane passages which seem to snake uphill for eternity. There are literally piles of cow shit on the lack-of-a-shoulder, shoulder. I roll down the windows for a breath of oxygen, but it smells like stupid horses, I hate horses; up go the windows! Still the smell of shitty horses seeps through the air-conditioning vents, fumigating the car, turning it into a mobile gas chamber, I hold my breath. At this point it has been so long since conversation I've forgotten how to speak English. We pass a sign, Sharon Spring 12 miles ahead, it reads. I try to communicate the news to my back seat companions, but I swear the words spew out in some mumbled foreign vernacular failing to penetrate their sleep paralyzed ears. The final five miles dawn upon us! We pass an intersection, there's a traffic light, I forget what to do, I just blow it. Finally we're coasting downhill, and there it is in all its decaying glory. Welcome to Sharon Springs!

Twenty minutes have passed, the waitress brings over the personal pan pizza I ordered, it's contained within a metal pan which is hot as hell to the touch, but also mildly interesting. As I pull a slice away from first bite, a web of fine stringy cheese fibers forms around my mouth; but seeing as I'm not here sitting on the gross booth bar seat to catch flies, I slowly pick the mozzarella cobweb off my face, buying time for the remainder of the pizza to sit for a few minutes. The pie cools, the cheese is still malleable but no longer stringy. I finish the pizza, it's no Taco Bell, but it must hold me over, I have no choice, I need its energy, the calories, for upon looking out through the window across I notice the sun has set. The darkness of reality begins to set in.

We were all starving and within thirty minutes we finish our meals. It's time to depart. I drop my friends off at the bed and breakfast hotel in town and pop my trunk hatch so as they can fetch their luggage. A plump and overly kind lady emerges from the hotel's porch door and shows them to their room for the evening. We wave goodbye to one another. I return back to the car. I notice the air smells of stupid horses again. My iPod is still dead. The radio plays static, but far worse I fear the slight breeze scampering the about the air will whisper in heinous hints of country tunes. There is no conversation. No sarcasm. No jokes. There is just me, sitting in my car. Silence. Just hours of traveling mile after mile of winding country roads before even the promise of a highway sign becomes reality.

It is night. There is nothing to see. No rolling Catskill Mountains nor even the illusion of a cartoon backdrop on repeat. The darkness consumes all sight. I am lost at sea in an automobile. The stars are pretty, but dumb, useless to my navigation. My GPS barks directions, but her robotic orders are just barely audible over the chirping of crickets and woodland insects which soon become harmonious with the static of the radio. It's deafening. Sight and sound, all sensory begins to blend together. The car headlights fail to pierce the veil of encompassing darkness. I make lefts and rights, but mostly wrongs. I've killed maybe ten minutes, I hope! I'm already becoming weak from driving. Time is killing me. I question if my eyes are even open, if my car is even moving? I begin to hallucinate those demonic brown Stewart's Shops signs. This is Sharon Springs, I'm looking for New Jersey. Taco Bell.