Vacant New Jersey

Maas and Waldstein Company

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Abandoned New Jersey Industrial 23 Photos

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Massive iron pipes plummeting from above tear through vines, ripping leafy vegetation right off tree limbs, and bend the dense forest of saplings below backwards into a U shape, transforming the tiny trees into deadly natural whips, taunt and fully loaded. A miniature army of mousetraps, all energized and set to erratically snap back at the slightest jostle. In a moment of silence, severed leaves flutter to the ground blanketing the soil like green summer snow flakes, some melting away in puddles of rainbow sludge.

The silence was soon slaughtered by a clanking cacophony of solid steel plates rocketing toward the Earth, smashing against the rocks below causing the thick plates to rebound just a few inches back into the air, quivering like paralyzed frogs, upon being thrown against logs. For the finale, a bundle of iron pipes let loose in synchrony roll down the pitched roof over me. All around pieces of concrete chunks and brick bits rattle loose from the commotion and free fall through the air like missiles launched by enemy fire, abruptly halting upon spearing the dirt below.

In passing minutes the mayhem seems to pause, the battle of havoc muted. Silence is safe and thus I exit from the protection of the cement coffin fortification I was bunkered within, emerging into a jungle war-zone. Blown out skeletal building remains, collapsed walls, debris fields of shattered brick, deformed metal monsters, a teetering smoke stack just a tickle away from buckling; blight. Jagged re-bar sprout up through the dirt like invasive industrial weeds. Sliced vines ripped down from their suffocating grip around the tree canopy above, now snake across the ground, nearly invisible against the forest floor, creating a natural trip wire, designed to snag enemy passersby. The casualties are amass, disfigured, buried under twisted metal, and hidden in hollow structures barely visible within the chaos of green blanket overgrowth.

There was movement just ahead, a pacing gesture it mimicked, seeming slightly unnatural but yet completely human. I stopped to stare. There was a human on the roof of the building I had just exited from! Between the flora and through a quilt of interwoven tree limbs stitched together with twigs and leaves I could just barely see him standing on a crumbling ledge. He did not spot me, good, for I did not want to be found. This man I soon noticed, he stood shirtless, balancing on an I-beam which stretched across the top floor of a decimated factory. I watched a bit longer as he clambered across the beam, glass bottle in one hand, wielding a hacksaw in the other. His tattered jeans looked as ailing and beat as the blown-out building within the industrial Hell he plunder. A mound of useless metal lay just beneath his perch above. Gigantic iron pipes, long as school busses, slabs of steel heavy as the weight of the world, all stockpiled tidily below.

Only a hopeful creature could be so desperate yet determined as to find the way up into this desolate infertile infrastructure. I wanted to talk. So stealthily I walked closer, closing in on the ruinous building he occupy. Squeezing in through a hole in the wall, I too was now inside. I could hear the man walking just above as only a rotten wooden ceiling separated his slow and staggered stride from sight. Occasional gaps in the planks above revealed his location. Each footstep he took sent slight reverberations down through the thin disintegrating ceiling existing between him and my wide curious eyes. The sound of his walking became trapped within the cavernous cement industrial casket which encompassed me, the sound bouncing off the barren walls, transformed into a ghostly echo, the origin of which soon became too disorientating to pinpoint. Still I hear the foot steps continue. I was sure this man knew not of my presence for his boisterous antics proceeded, a safe clue for me to move in closer.

By the sound of his pace I judge he was walking about center of the floor just above me, right between two corroded iron beams. Standing dead still, I watched as weakened boards flex under his weight. His boots covered tiny gaps between the loose timbers, blacking out the seeping sunlight. Suddenly a plank of wood explodes, a leg busts through stained in blood from a ragged nail which slice through his callus skin. But the man, he catches himself, yet only briefly before the entire section of floor collapses out from under his body weight, producing a storm of splinters and dust. A dull thud follows. The man lands backside against the solid ground-level floor, his exact location quickly obscured by a cloud of airborne grime and soot hiding him from me.

As the squall of dust particles settle, I find myself standing just feet from the mystery man. A steel rebar peg is protruding straight through his neck pinning him to the floor. His fingers twitch, but he expels no sound, no breath, nor last frantic gasp. His neck becomes limp, head rolls to one side and a trickle of opaque white fluid followed by a river of crisp blood flow from his faucet nose. For a split second he stares directly into my eyes before his own roll back into his skull. The hacksaw dangle from a fractured beam, swaying by the handle just above his wasted body. A lake of blood black as his tarnished jeans begins to drain toward the natural slant of the building, immiscible as it percolates into a pool of wasted alcohol restrained within a reservoir of shimmering broken glass shards. His whiskey bottle I presume.