New york is old right. Really old. Well the world is old, but New York was settled by people of european descent so long ago it makes the west coast seem young. Heck, the last city I lived in was founded 5 years before the school I currently attend. What I mean by founded is that it wasn’t incorporated as a eurodriven, oregon trail traveling, “granny in a bustle sitting in the bucketseat shooting people out the window” kind of way until 3 years later, in 1851. My home town was founded earlier (as a mission settlement, yeah California was like that, the crusades or whatever) but still 1791 is quite a bit later than New York’s 1624. So, that crazy starved stinky murderous euro-trek across the continent took a while. And some people lived in cabins and tents and sod homes instead of solid gothic architecture, like for example, The College of the City of New York.
I have always love ruined things, since my childhood visiting lyme kilns on the UCSC campus, or even visiting the ‘mosquito cave’ and abandoned house on my growing-up street. But on the west coast we (yes, it’s still we) don’t have as many old abandoned structures that have held up. There were wooden gold rush towns in dry places that stuck around, but most are non-tourist spots that are deteriorating, and there are not as many steel and stone things. Not as many as in New York.
So now that I’ve finished my last class of the school year I’m researching places to visit. I need to get out of the city this summer (not that I don’t like it here, well, it’s actually kicking my butt, but I will prevail!). And I have so many options, even for a woman with no car.
I’ve found a lot of internet information about the abandoned, so I’ve listed and described a little of it here – in case you are a nerd of the broken, like I am.
This an awesome overall view of some ruins (and mapping) in the Hudson Valley, by a man who put out a gorgeous photo book about this topic: http://www.hudsonvalleyruins.org/rinaldi/PAGES/HVR-MAIN.htm, and through the clickable map on this site I found a Landmarks list of buildings in the city (though these are in-city buildings which are landmarked, and are harder to get in to, and mostly more intact). There are examples listed from all over the city (even my area), but not things like this abandoned school in my neighborhood: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/nyregion/03harlem.html. Landmark status is an interesting challenge for some building owners, there are restrictions, old school laws, and someone has to file which I believe costs something… so in the end many old buildings become controversial or confusing to their communities. I was recently outside this school with an old friend – looking through the fence, and a man walked by and told us he’d gone to the school 40 years previous! And about 2 minutes later some young women walked by and asked us about it (we were still looking at it, it’s gorgeous). We all wanted to go in, all of us, but it was the middle of the day and it’s a little sketchy, with a tall wonky chained up fence, many plastic bags caught in the trees that grow from it’s windows, and pried up plywood on the ground floor windows and doors that aren’t bricked up. Of course some good photographers have already gone inside: http://www.bluejake.com/2009/01/an-abandoned-school-in-harlem.html It’s just gorgeous!
This is a really cool one, The New York Farm Colony, it’s looks huge! http://kensinger.blogspot.com/2011/04/new-york-city-farm-colony.html This website is full of gorgeous photographs of broken buildings and ruined built up areas also, so poke around.
This is great! http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=3708#more-3708 The location in this post, and others on the site! There are so many gorgeous photos here. I would love to visit this old manor. And there are some amazing historical photos in the post. It’s wonderful to read about the history of the place, and the history of it’s deterioration.
There is other good stuff about history on this website too. I particularly liked the video about the high bridge. It’s so cool that some of these disused structures are being revamped. Probably in part inspired New York City’s gorgeous Highline Park, the high bridge is slated to reopen in 2013, as a walkway across the Harlem River, from Manhattan to the Bronx, and a couple of much needed riverfront park areas. I love learning about projects that will improve the lives of those of us who live uptown!!! http://www.thirteen.org/thecityconcealed/
This is pretty good, but it’s by a shoe company so there are a lot of shots of the host’s shoes (but I have some really good boots from this co.)… http://www.palladiumboots.com/video/ruins-new-york#part1
And, of course, here is a description of the ruined smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island, it’s gorgeous, and there are some pictures of it from a visit I made in 2009 or so on this blog. And here is some of the history of the place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox_Hospital,
Forgotten New York has a great collection of historical information. Actually it is completely vast, but this is post really struck me. Gorgeous ruins: http://forgotten-ny.com/2004/03/the-ruins-of-rossville/. And they do tours! I want to go on one! I’m excited to “keep checking back” on the page that lists the tour dates/times, to see when they post one. A tour would really help me, since I’m new here and haven’t much time to explore.
Well, darlings, that’s what I found in my first couple hours of un-art-related brainstorm about what I want to do now that I’m out of school for a couple of months. Well, that and make so much good art I explode, and also find a good temp art related job.
Take care! And don’t forget to watch where you step, it may be rusted through.