Update: Monday August 4, 2014
Located on a small parcel of land, sandwiched between old houses and new condominium complexes, the former U.S. Aluminum factory rots. Obscured behind tall sheet metal fences to one side of the property and shrouded by overgrown brush and vegetation to the other, the factory seemingly remains as an invisible world to passerby's, but a playground to anyone able to spot it. Holes within the fenced-in perimeter attract the curious to play inside. Once you enter, you become part of the factory, hidden from the outside world. But in this world it's a free-for-all, a jungle gym of pipes, machinery, and blown out buildings nestled between the comforts of residential houses just feet away, but protected from authoritative sight by ten foot tall opaque perimeter fences which block the views. I would sometimes wonder what the neighbors thought off all the ruckus and sounds which no doubt emanated from the fence line, or if they witnessed plumes of fire extinguisher spray cloud up above as they roasted wieners on their decks during the summer. But if the numerous adventures into the silver wasteland proved anything, it demonstrated no one cared. Occasionally the holes in the fence would be patched with hilarious strive, such as with welds and barbed wired, but new holes would always appear right next to the old, a way to both poke fun at false security and provide yet another entrance. All was always chill at U.S. Aluminum, sure the buildings were toxic and the ground contaminated according to the EPA, but we never drank the water and only played in the aluminum powder until we turned silver. However, with passing years the adjacent condos encroached further and further, until the factory too became just another living space.
Update: Wednesday July 2, 2014
The Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital was the first in a series of art deco style buildings constructed as part of the greater Jersey City Medical Center facility. The maternity hospital officially opened on October 12th, 1931 and up until its closing in 1979, is credited for the birthing of over 350,000 babies. The massive 10 story plus (if you count the uppermost utility floors) building was the first in a series of gigantic skyscrapers built during the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. The maternity hospital specifically was constructed to accommodate four hundred infants and their mothers. The structure was outfitted with state-of-the-art technology and provided free healthcare to the residents of Jersey City. Through the late 1930s and into the early 40s, numerous additional skyscrapers, many topping off at 22 stories tall were built to accommodate additional needs such as nurse and doctor housing. At its peak, the series of monolithic buildings encompassing the Jersey City Medical Center became the third largest healthcare system in the world. But like many buildings dating from the Works Progress Administration era, the JCMC campus was largely short-lived, as much of the space was vacated during the 1980s in favor for downsizing and smaller, easier to maintain facilities. For some years the buildings were leased out to various businesses, however starting in the mid-1990s and through the 2000s the complex of art deco buildings was left abandoned. Numerous skyscrapers literally sat vacant in the middle of Jersey City for years, a testament to the flip-side of the philosophy of building big for the sake of providing jobs during the WPA. Cities across the United States were left with massive complexes and buildings which after just a few decades were no longer needed, too costly, outdated. When the last facility related to the JCMC moved out from the art deco complex in 2004, efforts were undertaken to restore many of the deteriorating buildings. Currently, nearly the entire complex has been restored, existing today as The Beacon. Since my photographs were captured the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital has been renovated and will open as the newest Beacon building.
Blog Update: Sunday June 1, 2014
I hadn't been able to sleep for days. I felt no pain as the thorns tore gashes in my skin, and blood dripped from the fresh lacerations within my legs. My shoes were soaked upon slipping into a narrow stream hidden within the darkness. None of this phased me. I pushed through like a tank, sloshing through swamp, kicking up mud, and ripping past ivy and tall grasses, all while exhibiting the stamina of an escaped inmate running from the law, except for the fact that I was not running away from, but rather running toward an institution...
Update: Friday May 2, 2014
Right off of Main Street in the center of Hackettstown, NJ the brick facade of a vacant, decades old factory hides in plain sight, camouflaged by a Quick Chek, some shitty Dominos Pizza franchise, and various other insignificant, monotonous modern architecture. The boring walk right along the sidewalk without ever turning a head to glance a look at the structure, instead infatuated on obtaining coffee or chemical pizza. However those with the ability to see will notice the playground, disguised as a small unimpressive brick office building from the front. However a closer inspection yields view of a much larger attached industrial warehouse complex, which sprawls behind the brick administration building. I'm sure such a building and surrounding property is scarred with history and stories. But fuck history, it's merely just a class to catch up on lost sleep in, at college, or high school, or kindergarten. If you're interested by history, you're hopefully motivated enough to look it up for yourself, I certainly am not. My interests stem from creating my own unique adventure, story, experience. The history of Bergen Tool has already happened, it's been written, recorded, destroyed. No need for me to repeat it, just don't forget it.
Update: Tuesday April 1, 2014
The Scranton Lace Company was established in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. At that time the company was referred to as the Scranton Lace Curtain Manufacturing Company. It wasn't until 1916 and after various subsidiary purchases and mergers that the business became officially known as the Scranton Lace Company. Scranton Lace became a world leader and pioneer in producing Nottingham lace, as well as various lace products such as curtains, napkins, tablecloths, and even parachutes. The company prospered through the 1950s and even into the 1990s, all of that time utilizing Jacquard Head dobby looms to produce the various lace products. However due to risky investments during the early 2000s, the factory was forced to close in 2002. Employees had to leave mid-shift, as a result the factory was essentially abandoned as it was literally last left; looms and machinery still loaded with lace weaves. I had the pleasure of sneaking into the factory a few years back, before most of the looms were scrapped and parted off. The factory still remains vacant today however it appears legal tours are occasionally offered.
Gallery Update: Saturday March 15, 2014
Thorny green vegetation obscures its shy facade. Hiding in plain sight I know it exists for I have traversed through, times before, but it changes with the seasons; for there is always new to experience. A gorgeous little ruin, its scars from years of neglect have healed over as colorful blemishes. I decided to focus on the scars this adventure, for my mind felt narrow in scope, I could see only so far, nearsighted of mind, the world looked a little different today. Sometimes looking at things from a new point of view works to strengthen ones prior assumed thought process. I often view the adventures I embark upon, the locations I explore, the experiences, the world, from a wide perspective. I see everything but focus on nothing. There is so much to see that sometimes I feel like I haven't seen anything at all. Sometimes it's relieving just to focus on the small things that follows with a derailment of the mind. Today the obscure things the wide angle approach of mind overlook become all that there is to notice. However the mind will ultimately always transition back to its normal train of thought; your comfort zone, an illusion.
Blog Update: Saturday March 1, 2014
I would walk around campus incessantly, every opportunity of down time existed as an excuse to keep moving. Between classes, on breaks, to get lunch, through the woods, on the roads, inside buildings, around buildings, up stairs, down stairs, past people, at night, through the snow, in the rain, on the hottest days, coldest nights, and always to my car which I always parked in the most distant spot in the farthest lot. My entire daily routine was based around walking, and if I physically couldn't, then I'd be thinking about where I'd walk next...
Update: Saturday February 1, 2014
Within the Great Bay, about ten miles north of Atlantic City, a cluster of desolate barrier islands remain, created largely from water swept sand brought in by ocean currents. Completely overgrown with thick vegetation and littered with poison ivy, the islands sit completely uninhabited except for the numerous sea birds which utilize the unvisited splotches of sandy land as nesting grounds. A long, lonely, narrow, dead end road known as Great Bay Boulevard connects a series of barrier islands in the Great Bay through various rickety narrow wooden bridges. The road is seldom traveled, frequented mostly by local fisherman and boaters, as various pull-offs and boat launches provide direct access to the bay and Atlantic Ocean. Driving south down the Boulevard, the collapsed remnants of a long abandoned factory neighbored by an ominous rusty water tower appear just across the bay to the west. At first it seems the road may connect to the ruinous factory but after a few more miles of driving, it becomes clear the factory remains isolated on small sand bar island within the middle of the Great Bay, accessible only by boat. History points toward the factory once housing a fish oil manufacturing plant and in later years a fertilizer factory and garbage compost. It's quite clear however that the structures on the island have been abandoned for many decades, do to most having completely collapsed in on themselves. Access to the island is supposedly prohibited, guarded only by its mere existence as an island.