Back during high school years I found myself becoming a part of an underground society of teens whom took to appreciating the local New York History. Suffolk, Nassau county and Brooklyn became areas of interest where we took to our old broken down vans, Honda Civics and Saturn Ions to scour our local areas in search of rich history. However the history that we wished to seek was that of long forgotten ghosts of buildings shrouded in mystery in the annals of abandoned New York.
My interest was first piqued when my friend took on a photography workshop in the city. He invited me out one time to help him peruse the artistry of Manhattan in hopes of a good picture worthy of his portfolio. It was a mandatory part of this workshop for my friend to create a portfolio based on one central theme, he picked the city seeing how he only took this workshop for credits towards college. I was this day that we were approached by a peer of his from the class that we found his new theme and an exciting new hobby for the both of us.
This peer of my friend took interest in him after hearing he was from Suffolk county as so was he. They both commuted to the city so there for this peer decided to show us something that he was passionate about that would make for great photos. The next day my friend and I met with his peer at one of Long Islands abandoned mental hospitals the Kings Park psychiatric center. This decrepit center for the mentally ill was off limits to trespassers, however we found a loophole in the fact that the area surrounding it was also a county park. We carefully entered a few of the buildings through broken windows.
First we entered the quad, which housed many of the patients, which gave off an eerie feel as we saw rusting beds with leather straps on it and in some rooms were paintings on the walls created by the mentally ill themselves. The building was sub par at best for photos, and the building was far from tall enough to get any type of shot out the window that wasn’t a dead oak tree. We moved on heading towards the haunted building 93, but first we made a stop by the old power plant to see if the smoke stacks were intact, and indeed they were not (but did make for a creepy photo). we did have to make a stop at the morgue where we shimmied down a rusty basement opening. I remember the stale dead air of that basement which made for the creepiest photos we shot all night. It was home to dozens of metal morgue draws. My friend opted to want to go in one before we saw the light of what must of been the security, and its hard to not be discovered when these old building echo, even in the basement. We of course ran it now being twilight and the visibility non existent, I relied on the dim light of my cell phone until i tripped falling onto the abandoned torn up pathway leading from the psychiatric center to the county park parking lot. I had hit my knee pretty hard (later finding out I dislocated my knee cap) but was helped to the parking by my friend. It seemed that this thrilling and liberating experience that I had may be short lived.
Time passed and we later went looking for more abandoned places. We went to Montauk, the end of Long Island to Camp Hero rumored to be an old US military base which created the Montauk Project which was alleged to be research into psychological warfare experiments and some say even time travel. what was most fascinating to us was not only exploring but seeing what those could not see exposing truths. See anyone would be curious when this base was completely sealed with feet upon feet of cement. Finally our exploring brought us to my own backyard to Tesla’s Lab. I grew up in the neighborhood behind Nikola Tesla’s failed lab and there we went to explore, finding nothing but an old decrepit house we did gain knowledge after meeting with fellow urban explorers that told of the maniacal experiments of Tesla, my friend found a new item to add to his portfolio, painting the abandoned area that of intrigue and mystery.
We later grew apart from our urban exploring, seeing how trespassing was now added to our repertoire and didn’t seem like a good idea anymore, we decided to ease into a more law abiding form. We went to visit many haunted places, as the intrigue to exploring abandoned places was that of the thrilling ghost stories that accompanied them. We went to a road known as Mt. Misery where Native Americans were said to have been driven and subsequently starved off of the lifeless land. We went to the Satan house of Nassau County where a charcoal like gothic style victorian house stood adorned with red velvet curtains, a hearse in the driveway and the sidewalk painted pitch black. Urban exploring was a fascinating exploration in the history that we as New Yorkers let fall by the way side, and I don’t believe that these building should have their history abandoned as well.