Vacant New Jersey

Van Ness Grecco Mansion

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Restored New Jersey Historical 34 Photos

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Fingers numb from the cold, I arrived. I have been here before, but I figure it was time to visit an old friend again. It's an odd feeling to be all alone in a huge empty mansion, my steps echoed as I walked across the empty wooden floors and every now and then an obscure sound would grab my attention, most of the time just turning out to be the wind brushing a tree branch up against a window. Despite the cold, the sun cast beautiful shadows on the walls and floors, a perfect image in the eyes of a photographer. The house being vacant and uncared for at least eight years, was still in decent shape. The wall paper was just now beginning to peel and the roof sprouting its first leeks. Although empty and seemingly lifeless, stories of past generations could been seen scarred in the walls.

A small height chart was penciled onto a wall, showing the various heights of a small child, throughout his or her childhood; it was dated from the 1980's. The kitchen was painted an awful barf green and was completely constructed of metal appliances. Drapes were still on many of the windows, filtering out the sunlight as it shone through them. The second floor was very similar to the first; empty, bare and oddly quiet. Setting up a tripod, to take a few shots, Suddenly I heard thump thump thump, I paused and listened like a frightened cat, but the sound was not repeated, so I continued on.

All of the sudden I heard the sound again, this time coming from somewhere in the house; a chill ran down my spine, I stopped right were I was and listened attentively. Now I clearly recognized the sound as footsteps. As the footsteps progressed, I knew I was no longer alone in the mansion. I thought to myself oh shit, has someone spotted me?! Figuring these unwanted visitors were either police or some party goers, I quickly but stealthily made my way down to the first floor, where I hoped I would be able to sneak out unspotted.

I made it downstairs without being heard, but while rounding the corner and saw the visitors. To my surprise they were not police or drunk teens, but were a couple, in there late (I'd say) forties. They didn't appear as a threat, so I figured I would play it of classy. I set up my tripod and started taking photos and let the couple stumble upon me. "Oh, sorry did we disturb you" said the middle aged woman, "No, I'm just here photographing the ol' house, she's a beauty ain't she", I responded. "Yes, thats why where here, we saw this old house from the road and decided to take a look inside", said the couple. “Well ya know, If you want I can give you guy's a tour of the place, I've been here so many times, I pretty much know the place inside and out"... and so began the tour. Never in all my years of coming here, would I have thought I would meet people with the same interest as mine, small world I guess... who knows maybe I'll meet you next?