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A Decaying Mecca Part III of III

On my third visit to Grossinger’s I would visit areas that I had previously skipped over. There would be the usual trip to the indoor pool of course but this time we would explore a few of the surrounding cottages and the famous Jenny G building. The reason being not only for exploratory purposes but this time, for video purposes. Seems our previous trips to the G had caught the eye of a television show producer from New York City. They approached us via email and were basically looking for a couple of hosts for a television show idea that they had. They wanted to feature to explorers/photographers/contractors as the explored abandoned sites. We had a very loose idea of what they wanted but they were mainly interested in our on screen appeal and chemistry together. With 3 days to plan, an emergency video cameraman, and an outline script in our hands, we headed off to the G.

Like I said, my shooting partner and I have had our photos of Grossinger’s on the internet for quite a while and they have been viewed by tens of thousands of people. Generally when we arrive at the G we usually drive around the place to see what’s up. This time we drove around a little more as we were filming but every time we have visited in the past we have never run into another soul while there. This time was different. While cruising around we run into a couple who are looking to check the place out and approach to ask us directions. Much to our surprise as they approach us, one of the explorers recognizes us from the web. Apparently after seeing our photos, along with the millions of others on the net they decided they had to visit. We helped them out went on our way. No incident at all, nice people and it was cool to help them out. We head off to our usual spot and make our way in with the cameras rolling. Nothing to crazy on the way in until we start to approach the very first building. I notice what looks like a utility truck parked out in front of the tennis clubhouse. We make our way cautiously, worried that we may have a run-in with scrappers or worse. Turns out to be, nothing. Apparently someone just dumped their truck there and left it. Never a dull moment.

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As part of the shooting plan to cover 3 areas of the site we hit the indoor pool first. We are under a strict timeline and decide this would be an easy area to cover because we know it so well. We make our way in and find ice just about everywhere. This massively changes the amazing hues of the indoor pool and it’s various flora.

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I really get a warm feeling every time I come back to this place. It’s like a secret garden. I know many people have been to the pool and though the colors and minor things change, overall people have treated it well. The scrappers and taggers have pretty much left it alone and it is just such an interesting place to shoot. While the cameraman and my partner head up top to shoot a segment, I stay in the pool area and decide to do a wide panorama.

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We finished up the shoot in the pool area and headed off to the “Joy Cottage” to set up a few shots there. The Joy Cottage is in pretty rough shape. I had read on the net where a couple of explorers had fallen into the basement in this place so we had to watch our step. So sad to think this was once a premier place to stay here. We make our way in to the house and discover a couple interesting shots. I really liked what the light was doing in this room.

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Not to mention that the entire ceiling was on the floor. I would be surprised if this place lasts another 3 years before complete collapse. Here is a shot of the unique arched blue, I mean BLUE hallways. Did I mention they were BLUE?

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Just a short segment of the video was shot here. Not really much left to see in the old place. Last stop on this short trip is the top of the Jenny G building. We make our way over to this 10 story hulk that is quickly falling apart. As we make our way in we see many opportunities for a return visit. Unfortunately there would be no time this day for an extended shoot. We climb the rusted out and deteriorated stairway. All the while all I can think is that I am suddenly in some third world war zone. Windows blown out, walls caving under the building load, this place is the stuff of nightmares. Completely out of breath, we finally make it to the 10th floor.

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Right behind me was the door to the roof. I have a stupid fear of heights so for me to be up here was a bit of a triumph for me. I step through the door and I am greeted with 40mph+ winds! Knowing the condition of the building combined with my not happy being up here mood, I quickly set up a shot of the roof and called it a day. Right behind me was this really cool elevator control room that I just may have to try and test my mettle to shoot next time I am there. It was too cool to pass up twice.

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Well that’s a wrap for our video audition shoot. A short but sweet visit. I have to admit, while we were shooting this we really had no show details. In fact the production company had no idea what they wanted either. Our focus was just to show what we could do on air. In the end, we got canned. The network went with the scrappers instead of the photographers. Our thought for the show was to have two photographers go on the explore and show what it takes to “get the shot”. Then to show the process of what we go through to sell our works at art shows, galleries, etc and what the final cost/profit on the shot was. They decided to go with a different approach. And in case you are wondering, the show has aired on the History Channel and is called “Abandoned”. Since we were not chosen, and we had all this footage, we thought maybe we would put together our own web-show. Due to time constraints and logistics, we never made it past the show trailer and opening. For your enjoyment, here is a clip from our “show”, “Ruin Nation”.

Well, it was a good idea we thought. Who knows, maybe someday someone will pick us up. 😉 Since this was such a short trip I will include my last trip to Grossinger’s as part of this story as well.

The Final Visit?

As part of a whirlwind one day excursion to another site nearby, we decided, why not hit up an old friend and stop by Grossinger’s for a visit. Little did we know, this time would be much different from the previous times. It was our standard hike in on this day in July. Nothing spectacular or eventful. We headed straight for the lower floors of the Jenny G this time. This was the office section of this particular building. Here you can really get a feel for what is going on at Grossinger’s. The water damage, the reclamation, and the scrapper damage are all present. About the only thing that there was not an abundance of was tagging. I am going to bet that the sheer ominous presence and potential danger of this building keeps them out. In the very first room we enter we are greeted with an amazing reclamation scene.

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From this perspective, you really have to wonder how long this structure has left. You also have to wonder why someone hasn’t taken a backhoe to this extremely dangerous building. I would highly suggest against anyone trying to enter this building now.

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In this next shot you can really see the damage that scrappers do to a building. To remove the copper wire from within the walls they find and end and just start ripping. Note the damage along the lower half of the hallway walls.

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I have come to a conclusion from visiting all of these sites. There has GOT to be a owner somewhere. I just don’t understand. If the profits are gone and you have given up on your site, why not organize a photography shoot to preserve the memory of the site, then organize LEGAL scrapping of the site, then demolish it? This way, taxes get paid, you don’t lose your shirt, the site gets preserved in art. It really would be a triple win. Of course if it can be saved that would always be the way to go. I am talking about sites like Grossinger’s that someone, at some point knew was going to just be abandoned. There has to be a point where someone knows its over. Very sad to see the neglect.

Almost every visit to the G we look for what we have been told is a nearly perfectly preserved cottage. After a few phone calls, one of which is to someone who used to actually LIVE at the site, we find our prize. And what a prize it is! I think I will just let the pictures do the talking…

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What a gem in the rough. Bloodied from our trek through the heavy brush to find this place we decide we MUST go take some shots of the indoor pool once again. This IS tradition of course. We head back out into the heavy brush and up the hill towards the Paul G. We decide to take the easy way over to the pool by way of the walkway between the Paul G. and the Pool. This walkway has a rotted floor but if you know the trick to crossing it then it is no problem. Except, when we get to the double doors at the end, we find that someone has “locked” them with a piece of conduit wrapped around the door handles. What the?!? Upon bypassing the “lock” we then see the destruction. It is like our home has been broken into. Column mirrors smashed, tags everywhere, Graffiti in the pool (which I actually liked), smashed windows!! In all the years I had visited the indoor pool, those windows were perfect. That is what kept the plant life going and made it so unique. But now I could see, this was the end. My exploring pals snapped away but I could not even raise my camera. It was heart breaking. Why would someone do this? In the lower levels we found large walls painted with signs against urban explorers and photographers. I just don’t understand what the point is. I took two shots in the indoor pool area. In the second photo you can see the tagging in the background on the diving board and windows and the graffiti in the pool.

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So with my head hung low, we wrap it up and head back to the car. One last stop by the old outdoor pool to take a nice panorama and ponder the exploration of the day.

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”Standing at the Edge of Yesterday”

Funny what we consider ruined or destroyed. The Grossinger abandoned resort has long been a favorite haunt of mine. Just recently a great amount of vandalism has sprung up there. Yes, it is decayed, and yes it is abandoned, but somehow I feel violated. As if some secret treasure has been stolen from me. Last visit, one of my favorite parts of the old resort is the indoor pool where plants have sprung to life from the broken tile floors in between miscellaneous strewn lounge chairs and pool buoy was particularly hit hard. The pool itself, once home to amazing algae and mold, now covered in useless tags and spray painted gibberish. Although there are a couple of pieces of beautiful graffiti there, most of it is just vandals tagging every surface in sight. Even the once pristine glass windows of the indoor pool are now broken and shattered. My secret garden has been destroyed. So much so that on this last trip just a week ago, I could not even bring myself snap a single frame of this once grand spectacle. Instead, I give you the outdoor pool. Not nearly as grand but fading just as gracefully. I am afraid that my last trip to Grossinger’s has come and gone. Goodbye old friend, you will be missed.

~A.D.

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Comments (9)

  1. In the updated pictures of Grossinger’s indoor pool, how did you manage to make the pool chaises look so pristine ?

  2. Hi Penny, I did nothing but photograph them.. I think their “cleanliness” is what attracted me to shoot them.

  3. This are some simply brilliant shots A.D.
    I’m sorry to the see the degree of “intrusion” on the decay as well. I’ve been fascinated with this modern ruin for ages.
    Cheers,
    MP

  4. Breathtaking photography. I read through as if it were an epic novel.

  5. I grew up in a small, very small, town not far from this hotel. Many neighbors worked there and it provided summer employment for peers. “G” was a big deal! These pictures are amazing! I am trying to put into words how they make me feel but I’m speechless. I had a very visceral reaction. Again, I really can’t put it into words but I guess that’s what good photography is supposed to evoke.

  6. I have so enjoyed these many views of this old place. Was saddened by the decay and even more so by the vandalism. I wish someone would see the value of a tv show about photography, abandoment of places that deserve to be preserved if not for real than in film.

    1. I feel the same Donna. Trying to do all that I can.

  7. I have subscribed, but still can’t get to part II :'(

    1. Angela: https://goo.gl/tsRxtt

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