Vacant New Jersey

McMyler Coal Dumper

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Abandoned New Jersey Industrial 41 Photos

[Collapse | Expand]

The immaculate blacked-out Mercedes-Benz SUV with New York plates parked within the otherwise empty, abandoned parking lot surrounded by tall reeds, guarded by a gang of gulls, raised some suspicion, but I shrugged it off as some Staten Island native who probably sneaks onto the property to quietly fish and crab along the banks of the river. My suspicions were indeed fulfilled as I quickly spotted an older, yet dapper looking man not far from the car. The man was bizarrely adorned in a suit and tie yet appeared to be crabbing alone along the edge of the river, dragging behind him a long length of crab trap rope as he approached the shore line. Jet black hair, greased back, slick, not even a hurricane could mess up this dude's dew; as I got a good gaze of him when I walked past. His face was old, weathered, melancholy, and stoic, yet his body seemed toned and muscular still. It looked like he had seem some crazy shit, a very Italian looking fellow too, but I couldn't be certain.

However, as often is the case, no one ever seems to notice me and this was no exception with this character as I nonchalantly walked past. He seemed to also remain oblivious of the numerous "Danger! Do Not Catch! Do Not Eat!" New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection warning signs posted along the perimeter of the property, cautioning of the high levels of chromium and dioxin laden within the marine life barely surviving in the oil sludge stew that has become of the water flowing within the mighty Arthur Kill River. The man was as entertained by his crabbing activities as I was of the hulking steel ruins of the McMyler Coal Dumper just a few hundred feet ahead, somehow still standing erect like some prehistoric dinosaur skeleton, set up in a museum for all to gawk at.

Camouflaged within the sarcophagus of twisted steel I spotted a single straight ladder blossom out from the jagged metal beams, extending high up toward the top of the structure. I couldn't resist the urge climb and with immediate regret, I placed my feet upon the bottom rung of the ladder, proceeded by a firm jump to test the integrity of the steel. Good as gold the first rung seemed, as I took the remainder of the structural integrity for granted and climbed further and further up the ladder before reaching a open-grate steel platform about fifty feet high. The platform was the dividing line between the end of the straight ladder and the beginning of a rusted to shit stairwell, missing more steps than it maintained. At this point the tippy-top of the structure was in reach but to follow the stairwell to the apex would more likely than not be a paralyzing quick trip straight back down to ground level.

But I just had to reach the top; my adrenaline was already pumping like hydraulic fluid through my veins forcing my arms and limbs to move mechanically in a climbing motion, I was hooked and I had to climb higher, the pictures would be worth it. With each beat of my heart I could feel the urge to make a stupid decision flow through my body like a euphoric mental orgasm. And so I looked around to find a better way up. I soon realized that the vertical steel I-beams could easily be climbed higher for the cross sections between each beam formed a sort of ladder all the way to the top of the structure. I hugged the exterior of the steel beams as chunks of corroded metal plummeted toward the ground, breaking up into smaller pieces like a loogie does in midair before finally splatting into the ground. Foot by foot I proceeded to climb the structure higher until the blue sky above became unobscured by twisted steel.

From my roost high atop the pinnacle of the McMyler Coal Dumper, I was perched nearly invisible, sitting comfortably along a corroded metal I-beam, eaten away by decades worth of salty sea air and acidic rain working to slowly yet efficiently dissolve away the monolithic steel infrastructure. Off in the distance, severed from main land by the fierce Arthur Kill River, I laid gaze upon a massive garbage dump rising high above the river's banks, known better today as Staten Island, yet existing more as an earthen kidney stone expelled from New Jersey's Cape May-like phallus; hard to pass without cringing. It seemed at this point that the layers of caked on bird shit may have actually improved the structural integrity of the steel I was sitting upon, working to re-solder the decaying joints in place as the original rivets and joints had long since weathered away. The wind up here was quite gusty too, certainly strong enough to just ever so slightly sway the skeletal coal dumper to-and-fro; like an industrial rocking chair the movement worked to relax me. As I snapped a few photographs from my vantage above I realized the dapper Italian looking fellow I spotted earlier made his way and was now crabbing along the edge of the pier I was perched high above. He completely oblivious of my existence, as I secretly stalked him with my eyeballs from one hundred feet up.

From my aerial view point I could see the mystery suit and tie man had a series of three ropes rigged up, all dangling off the edge of the dock, taut yet tangent at a slight angle before disappearing into the murky oily river water as if something was pulling at the lines keeping them completely stretched. Now and then the man would walk over to each line and give it a firm tug, perhaps I suppose checking to see if the traps attached to the ends were weighted heavier with a delectable cancer crab catch to feast upon. The man repeated this check-up process for a solid half-hour, before walking down to the rope closest to the shore line of the river and proceeding to reel the slack in. With both his fists the man with great gusto alternated pulling the rope toward the dock and out of the water as the slack coiled up behind him like a King Cobra ready to spring up at at a small child too curious for comfort. The rope must have been a couple hundred feet long, for the man kept pulling and pulling more and more of it out from the water all the while exerting a great deal of effort as what ever was attached to the end became closer to the surface of the water and seemed to be quite heavy.

It was at this point the man slipped the very end of the rope in-between a gap within the wooden piers, pinching it in place as he moved to the second rope and proceeded to pull it in as well, again pinching it too in-between a couple jagged pier slats. Walking over to the third and final rope, the man repeated the process exactly the same as he had with the previous two lines, affixing the last bit of the rope again between two planks just before whatever was attached to the end of the ropes could break the surface of the water to be seen. The man than proceeded to walk down toward the very end of the dock and back onto land. I lost sight of him as a thicket of reeds obscured his presence but only momentarily as he soon appeared within sight, now walking within the abandoned parking lot.

Suddenly two toots from a near by vehicle horn broke the silence in the air, the unexpected sound nearly throwing me off balance from my bird shit infused beam perch. In response, my eyes were immediacy drawn to follow the origin of the sound, leading directly to the sketchily parked Mercedes-Benz SUV in the lot I had spotted earlier. I noticed the lights on the vehicle were flashing and again the horn blared twice. I could now see the man was walking hastily toward the vehicle, I think perhaps he lost track of where he parked it, and pressed the panic button on the key remote. The man then entered the unlocked vehicle before becoming invisible behind its tinted windows. I watched as the vehicle slowly maneuvered around the parking lot, carefully avoiding the various potholes, garbage, and nautical debris scattered about. The vehicle was being commandeered by the man, driving closer to the dock and to my surprise quickly blasted over the barrier of reeds and thickets, straight onto the wooden boardwalk ties of the pier. The man continued to drive the SUV down the dock some distance further before bringing it to a stop directly alongside the three ropes dangling into the water he had secured just a few minutes prior.

The trunk hatch on the vehicle slowly began to raise to an open position as he re-parked the SUV with a series of tight K-turns to now face the open trunk on the vehicle back up against the three ropes; the vehicles tires mere inches from the edge of the pier. "This must be some catch" I thought to myself, as I eagerly watched from my aerial vantage, for I could see a full three-hundred sixty degree view of the bizarre scenario unfolding below. And as far as I knew the man still had no idea of my peeping eyes. I watched next as the man unhooked the first rope from out of the dock boards and wrapped it around the tow hitch along the back underside of the vehicle. Again he followed suit with the remainder of the two lines, tying them both tightly around the trailer hitch then quickly hopping back into the vehicle. The driving lights flashed on as the SUV slowly inched forward, the tires occasionally slipping against the decaying, dry-rotted dock planks as the vehicle pulled at the ropes.

"Jesus-fuck, this guy reeling in a whale?" I couldn't help but assume to myself. Then a loud "CRACK" reverberated through the air, nearly shaking the skeletal steel coal dumper structure to a collapse. Like an explosion I witnessed as a series of wooden boards on the pier burst into dust and tooth picks under the tension of one of the ropes, jerking the SUV back and sending the front tires spinning for traction, churning up a tornado of splinters and spewing a black cloud of burning rubber smog which temporarily encapsulated the unfolding scene. The man quickly slammed the breaks and exited the vehicle as I could see the red lights bleeding through the thick black rubber smoke. The man walked around toward the back of the SUV to the open trunk all the while throwing his hands up in all different directions as if scolding a group of young rambunctious children caught throwing eggs at the neighborhood cars.

As the black smoke from the burnt rubber cleared around the vehicle, dissipating thinner and thinner into the surrounding atmosphere, a wooden coffin now present at the rear of the vehicle came into view. Water was spewing out from the gaps within the shell and the front lid of the coffin as it lay on its side across the pier, clearly having just been pulled from the depths of the river water. Oddly, each corner of the coffin had a chain bolted to it with cinder blocks dangling from the opposite side. The man then walked over toward the coffin and with a powerful kick pushed it over onto its bottom, the motion causing the lid to fly open, he then positioned the casket directly in line with the trunk of the vehicle. Finally he proceeded to un-tie the coffin from the three ropes that were still attached to the trailer hitch on the SUV.

The man then opened the rear passenger's side door to the vehicle and awkwardly hopped in, appearing to climb back toward the trunk but in turn accidentally kicking the door closed which slammed across his leg bouncing off his shin bone. He angrily bashed the door back open off his leg with a wicked kick; this guy was a beast! A few moments later, from the rear trunk hatch, swiftly fell out with a thump, a large opaque black bag, crashing directly into the conveniently placed coffin at the rear of the vehicle. Whatever was inside the bag was jerking and moving around, spazzing out in all sorts of directions. The man then exited from the passenger door again and walked over to the coffin, his arms continuing to flare violently. He appeared to be yelling something this time too, however the winds where still quite gusty upon my perch but it sounded like he was screaming "NOTHING IS PERSONAL IT'S JUST BUSINESS, YOU DON'T PAY, YOU DIE". The man proceeded to kick violently at the still shaking black bag before slamming closed the coffin lid and clipping a pad lock closed across the latch.

The man then got behind the coffin and proceeded to push it by hand it inch by inch toward the edge of the pier until the first set of chain weighted cinder blocks attached to the coffin corner plummeted into the water, yanking the wooden box even closer to a tipping point. And then in a literal chain reaction the second set of cinderblock anchored chains splashed into the oily water pulling the remainder of the weighted coffin off the pier followed with a massive splash of oily rainbow sludge water spewing up from the river like an explosion of diarrhea. Effortlessly the coffin sank, pulling under the surface of the water the three guide ropes still attached to it, quickly vanishing like spaghetti being sucked down Chris Christie's gullet.

The turbulent water began to calm followed by one last massive bubble of oxygen that broke the surface of the water like a whale's fart rising from the sea floor. The man then proceeded back into his vehicle. The bright LED headlights flashed on as he gunned it over the broken planks and down the remainder of the pier, back through the path of now flattened reeds and into the empty parking lot. The last I saw of the vehicle was the left it made onto ProLogis Way before blending into the hustle and bustle of the Carteret, New Jersey suburbs. I'm not quite sure what to make of what I witnessed that day, but I'm rather certain that there's a whole lot more dumping going on at the abandoned McMyler Coal Dumper property than just coal.

For anyone who might have some sort of authoritative power, I do have one picture which clearly shows the front New York license plate on the Mercedes-Benz. Send me an e-mail and I'd be glad to share the information. I've been hesitant to post the picture myself as I take enough legal risks with all my trespassing shenanigans.