Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Westinghouse: They used to make lamps? Or chairs. Whatever.

When you start to actively search daily for places to trespass, it becomes clear pretty quickly that there are certain places everyone has gone to. These are like the novice levels, the wading pools of decaying civic gawkery. Westinghouse, for instance, will come up on everyone's Flickr page. It's like, the easiest place in the world to get into to. There's like, big open loading docks and no doors.

What the hell, I'm a novice. J. and I were going to try to get into this recently boarded up middle school first, but the only entrance was between some bars, walking a narrow ledge, then down a scary looking ladder, between some broken glass, into the pitch black basement. That would be what I would call intermediate level. I might have made the leap if I was wearing long sleeves and boots. But for now, maybe next time. For now I'll stick to the obviously open.

I love walking in these places. I feel like, with all this other stupid horrible crap going on in the outside world, nothing is going to touch me here. Except maybe a hobo. And I'll shank them if they try. It's so quiet and still. I mean, they are ruins. People go visit ruins all over the world. People pay lots of money to stare at buildings left behind. That particular sense of history you get from being in and around disuse and abandon, it's better than valium. I calm down instantly, but my heart also starts to race. J. called it "afterglow".

Architecture is marvelous to me, all exoskeleton and steel. The bones of the structure that poke out as the soft stone starts to peel away. And rust. Rust is amazing. I feel like if I get it on my body, it will eat me away too. It's looking to kill me with every step I make, I'm being hunted, I have to be careful. The rust is all around, a predatory fungus, winning. I'm the stupid bumbling thing in its lair.

And its great to run across good graffiti. Funny graffiti. It's a flag in the alien landscape. It reminds you to be braver. It's an important reminder to get every once in a while.

More photos can be found here.


  1. These pictures made me feel uneasy. . .do you ever sense another presence? I don't mean insects and animals and birds -- although they freak me out enough as it is. . .


  2. No, I don't really believe in stuff like that. Anytime you're wandering into strange empty places full of trash and decay, you feel weird. That's the fun part, conquering it. They're just buildings, used by people, and now not used. The really scary part is whether or not a step is going to hold. In fact, it's a lot like going into caves.

  3. I sensed another Presence. It was the presence of the guy who was living there. I could kind of hear him up above on the office-level and when I stepped up and found the still sweaty half-drunk 40 on the steps I said: "Let's not go up there."

  4. These are beautiful. I'm envious of your adventures.


Who wants to fuck the Editors?