Trip #2 – NYC

←Trip 1

Planning this one out, we had a better idea of what to expect – lots of driving, no sleep, amazing spots. We were right on, just this time with way more traffic and a longer drive. Again, we left Thursday afternoon in another awesome rental (Ford Fiesta this time), but headed out around 3pm this time. Without Atlanta traffic, we should’ve gotten to our hotel in Richmond around 11pm. We ended up getting there around 1am. Alarms set at 4 or 5am, I can’t remember, but we didn’t get much sleep and got to Ron‘s around 10:30am. Off to the first spot…

Always interesting when trying to enter a semi-active location on a weekday morning, people and workers walking all around. Nonetheless, a little searching and in we go. I’ve been to this hospital before, but this building was sealed at the time, so as soon as we got in here, I quickly forgot about the 13 hours of driving and few hours of sleep. Body full of adrenaline, I pull the camera out and we start exploring. There were a couple particular things here I wanted (needed) to see here, the hall of balls and the chopper. This building was just full of amazing scenes. This building combined with the others from a previous visit are easily in my top 5 explores ever. I’ve gotten some of my favorite pictures from this place. Here are a few from this building…

Windows Lary coat check twins deep chair green room bed bugs bucket seat balls chopper

After safely leaving there, we decided we’d go to another abandoned psych hospital somewhat nearby until the sun goes down. When we got there, it was immediately evident that we weren’t the only ones about to go in one of the buildings. As we pulled up, there was a car-full of teenagers hanging out by where we parked, looking like they were getting ready to party. Apparently the party was inside, because there were probably at least 20 other people in there walking around, a bunch of kids, but there were also people in there who must’ve been in their 50’s. We spend an hour or two in this building, looking for a specific hallway which was destroyed, then headed over to the big building. Again, as we pull up here, more kids hanging out in the parking lot, seemingly carelessly. Are there zero cops/security patrolling around here? We park along side like 5 other cars/trucks and walk over to the other building. Before we even get there, we can hear music and someone popping off a paintball gun from the roof, like 15 stories up. I’ve never experienced anything like this at any abandonment, let alone a giant psych hospital. Luckily, the kids either didn’t see us or didn’t take aim at us as we walked up. We jump in and start shooting. I walked into some sort of foyer or lobby with a skylight, take a few shots, then as I walk away we hear a huge bang on the roof. Immediately, I’m wondering “WTF are they throwing off the roof??”. Whatever it was, it sounded big. We kept hearing it, maybe every minute or so. You could almost feel every hit, it was so loud and shook everything above us. As Ron walked toward the foyer, a huge chunk of concrete came flying in through the missing skylight. I was pretty pissed when I saw that. I started thinking “what if that shit hit me or Ron while we were in there?”. I honestly wanted to go up and start throwing them off the roof one by one. We decide we’ll let them have their fun and we’ll go get some more shots.

blue hall options rays pipes basement hallway asbestos left turn golden hour entrance

Finally, it was getting dark and we decide to take Ron home and go check into the hotel. We have notoriously bad traffic in Atlanta, but we have absolutely nothing on New York. Not only are they super aggressive and not use turn signals, but there are so many cars on the road, they need like 10 lanes everywhere. Anyway, it took forever to get back to the hotel, so we ended up eating some shitty pizza and getting a few hours of sleep. Alarms set for 6am…

So we get up at…7am and head to pick up Ron in Queens. He’s still not answering texts or calls when we get there just after 8, so we walk down the street to a deli for some breakfast. As we’re picking up food, I hear from Ron, and we head back to his place to eat real quick, then we’re off to the 1st spot. After a decent drive, we’re at another huge psych hospital. We hit one building that was pretty cool, then went looking for entry to another, which we understood held the rec center and bowling alley. After walking all around, Sergio jumping in some thorn bushes, trying to hide for no reason, and seeing a marked patrol car driving around, we decide to just head to another location. I probably shouldn’t even admit this, but we stopped to eat at a Pizza Hut (which wasn’t good, but was actually better than the pizza we had the night before) before stopping by a nearby abandoned county jail. I’d seen plenty of pics from this place before, but never realized how big it actually is. There was definitely a guy living in there. It looked like he was bathing or cleaning himself off when we walked in, but he quickly made his way out back, so we either wouldn’t see him or bother him. We hung out there for a while until my friend Sonja from North Carolina met up with us just outside.

skylight hanging plant auditorium double broken glass kitchen toys bedroom cell block cells falling in stairs home rows of cells missing floors jail paint

After meeting with Sonja, we decided to hit a school nearby to finish the day. The school was pretty empty, and may have been in the process of being worked on. Not super exciting, but we were able to get an hour or two of shooting out of it. After that, we drove (forever) directly across Manhattan and through Times Square (crazy). I remember many times in the past walking around Times Square, thinking “there’s no fucking way I’d ever drive around in NYC”, and here I am driving right down 42nd St and didn’t even realize where I was until we cross 7th Ave. The traffic is no joke and those cab-drivers are legit maniacs. By the time we drop Ron off in Queens and get back to Long Island City to eat, it was already 9:30pm. We crushed some delicious burgers at Petey’s and went back to the hotel. Are we actually going to get some much-needed sleep? Hell no! We go over to meet up with Sonja at Gantry Plaza State Park and LIC Piers to get a few skyline shots. We planned on getting up around 8am to hit one spot before hitting the road for a short 13 hour drive home, but I think we got back to the hotel around 2:30am….

shadow on stage hot seat stair well buggy silhouette gym cafeteria pier NYC

We lazily got up before 9am and probably checked out around 10. Once again, traffic is our enemy. If we had a helicopter, we probably could’ve hit like 5 more spots over the weekend. Nonetheless, we arrive at our last spot around Noon (was really hoping to be on the road to Atlanta by 1pm). It’s our last chance to get some pics here, so we just shoot it up and try not to worry too much about time. Regardless what time we leave, we’ve got a monstrous drive ahead of us (me). I don’t remember what time we finally left, but I know Sergio and Belina were both passed out by the time we hit NC and I still had two more states to go. I fought my heavy eye lids for a few more hours, dropped off the others and finally got home around 4:45am. No sleep, lots of driving, and amazing spots, just like we expected.

stretcher doors overunder cabinets  bed room crumbling

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