URBAN SETTING


MISSION #6 – RANDOM HUNT FOR A ROOFTOP
May 18, 2010, 11:52 pm
Filed under: ARCHITECTURE, ART, GRAFITTI, PHOTOGRAPHY, STREET ART, URBAN EXPLORATION, URBEX

LOCATION: Lower East Side – New York, NY

I was recently down on Lower East Side of Manhattan, not workings and sort of bored. I had my camera on me and was interested in trying to get somewhere I was not allowed. I walked around for awhile and mainly noticed that the only places that would be interesting were rooftops or construction sites. It was around early afternoon so all construction sites were still active. I then started looking for the tallest most accessible building I could get too. During my trip to Chinatown I discovered that fire escapes were a good way of climbing buildings. Unfortunately, the Lower East Side is jam packed with people at all times of the day. Also almost every first floor was taken by a bar, shop, deli, salon, etc. I don’t think a store owner would want to see some kids legs dangling in front of their window, then discover me climbing their building.

I turned my direction to apartment buildings, and this is where I found my target…..

As I was walking up Ludlow I noticed an older women leave her apartment building. She proceeded to prop the front door open for it not to lock. I slowed my stroll  and when she was clear of view I entered the building.

The building interior was typical, nothing to special. I walked up the steps as if I lived there and eventually made my way to the roof. I exited onto the rooftop and took a look around.

Everything seemed pretty typical. The rooftop was decently clean. There was not a lot f graffiti. There was though a lot of wires, but not a big deal. The rooftop was cool, but what made this trip once again was the view. I had a great view of Manhattan in every single direction. It was a beautiful sunny day which made the city gorgeous.

So I sat up on the roof and enjoyed the view…..

I hung my feet over the edge….and looked down….

I enjoyed the warmth…enjoyed the view….then left knowing I found what I came for.

Til next time….thanks for reading!

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SPOTTED – DOLK on Metropolitan & Union

LOCATION: Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY

A new piece was just recently installed on Metropolitan & Union. The piece was done by DOLK. Its located next to Marci Park and is definitely worth a trip to Brooklyn to see in person.

DOLK currently has a show with M CITY at the Brooklynite Gallery in Bed Stuy. More info about the show can be found here (http://www.brooklynitegallery.com/).

More posts to come soon….



MISSION #5 – CHINATOWN ROOFTOPS

LOCATION: Chinatown – Manhattan, NY

It was a humid sunny day in New York and I was expecting to spend the entire day shooting with my freelance employer. The best/worst thing about freelance work is when there is none then you won’t be working. Luckily this day I did ended up not having to work. I immediately called Aaron and met him to do some spontaneous exploring. We decided to make a trip down to Chinatown.

On our trip to Sunset Park we noticed how unique the rooftops were in Chinatown. Every roof was covered with grafitti and the buildings were all different sizes and colors. As Aaron and I searched for our first roof we found a fire escape ladder to climb. We made our up the ladder and before we knew it we got to our first rooftop.

It turned out to be the same rooftops we saw while heading to Sunset Park. The rooftops were littered with laundry and satellite dishes. There seemed to be graffiti on every wall. The buildings also seem to connect like a huge playground. It almost appeared as if the buildings were made of legos and we were able to run from roof to roof.

After we were explored our first rooftop we gathered our gear and walked out the front door to try to find our next target.

We tried to find our next location the same way we found our first. Although it seemed that all fire escapes we found were to high or were very visible by the public. The last thing we wanted to do was be two white boys in Chinatown blatantly climbing up fire escapes.

So we decided to change our tactics…

Aaron and I took sometime to spot out some older buildings. We walked a few blocks and choose the best buildings. We walked to the front door and would try to the lock. We ran into plenty of locked doors and finally found a door that was unlocked. We walked in as if we lived there and made our way to the rooftop.

Once again we ran into mass amounts of graffiti and rooftops that seemed like a playground. As I hopped from roof to roof Aaron explored the view and the landscape. As I met back with Aaron I found him hanging over the roof photographing the street below.

And I found that it was a loooong way down….

We finished our exploring and went on a search for some food. We found a small hole in the wall selling dumplings and sat down. We ate like kings and only spent $6.50!

After our belly’s were full we headed back to Aarons scooter and made our way home. Good mission and definitely worth the trip

Til next time….thanks for reading!



SPOTTED – OBEY ON N2nd & LAUREL ST
May 16, 2010, 12:02 am
Filed under: ARCHITECTURE, ART, PHOTOGRAPHY, URBAN EXPLORATION, URBEX

LOCATION – N2nd & Laurel st. Philadelphia PA

After coming home from exploring the grounds of the Philadelphia Naval Shipping Yards (post to come soon!) I stopped off for some food at El Caminos. Driving home I spotted some street art by OBEY. Cool area of Philly and a cool location for OBEY. Check out the photos….

On a side note…..GO FLYERS!!!!!

I have a lot of new explorations to post, so keep checking back. Thanks for reading!



MISSION #4 – SUNSET PARK ROOFTOPS

LOCATION – Sunset Park Brooklyn,NY

Aaron and I met while working at an outdoor advertising agency, we were both photographers. Are main amount of work was focused on taking proof of performance shots of all of our media. We had to shoot everything that we owned that was currently running advertisement. This included sides of busses, phone kiosks, ads on Long Island Rail Road, ads on Metro North Rail Road and banners. We also had to occasionally shoot billboards in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.

Whenever we made the trip to shoot the billboards in Brooklyn we would always pass by a set of warehouse buildings that were made into artist lofts. This huge buildings stood next to each other and were all practically identical and could not be missed. At the top of each building stood water towers which seems to be the defining characteristics of the all of them. We always thought about trying to visit the buildings but never did until recently.

We hopped on the train and after a short time we were in Sunset Park Brooklyn. We walked to the lofts wondering how we would be able to get to the rooftops. We acted as normal as possible and scoped out the area to look for possible entrances. Shortly it dawned on us that practically every door was unlocked and it was just a matter of which we would like to choose.

We walked to the first building…walked to the first door…entered the building…used the elevator…and walked directly on too the roof.

In a way I wish it would have been more difficult. I wish there would have been window we had to work our way in too, or maybe a fence that had to be climbed. It seems as of late that to enter these buildings all it takes is walk through the front and exit in the back. I don’t think I should complain as just feel blessed that all I have to worry about is my photography.

Back to the story….

We begin to settle down from the astonishment of how easy it was to get to the rooftop. We each separate and begin to look for what photos we each want to take. Aaron does he same routine of setting up the tripod and scoping out a perfect shot. While I on the other hand run wild and shoot everything from the hip completely hand held.

Our main point of interest on these rooftops were the defining water towers. They seemed to show a progress of decay with the closest being almost complete while the farthest almost completely torn down. In a way it was a more depressing sprint advertisement (please correct me if I got the brand wrong).

Here a few photos…

After we got done with our interest in the water towers we noticed how amazing the views was….here are a few photos…

After shooting we took a second to just enjoy the view and take a look around Sunset Park from the roof. As we were looking we found another roof off in the distance that looked interesting. It was only a few blocks from where we were so we packed our gear and left towards our new destination.

As we got closer to the building the area got sketchier.  The streets became dirtier. The smell in the air become more thick and pungent. We were entering a shipping yard and I never did figure out what I was smelling. It was the end of the day and there were very few people around, but the people that were there noticed that we did not fit in. We pushed on as if we belonged there and arrived at the building we were interested in.

Aaron approached a door….turned the knob….opened the door….and we were in.

BOTTOM LINE! The building was creepy! The air was cold and wet. The hallways were dimly lit and dirty.

This building was not abandoned and was an active shipping warehouse. The work day was done so nobody was there when we entered. I was still afraid of encountering someone that would not want either of us there. We both proceeded with caution and made our way through the building.

Aaron and I looked up the stairwell and noticed that there were probably about 10 floors to the roof. We looked for an elevator and did not see one. We shrugged our shoulders and made our way to the top. Huffing and puffing…we finally arrived at the exit to the roof. Unlike the last building this door was not wide open inviting us to the roof. The door was shut and what looked like an alarm was constantly beeping acting as warning to us not to enter. We packed our bags in anticipation to charge down the steps incase an alarm was set, we looked at each other and I extended my arm and pushed the door open. There was no alarm. Or at least no alarm that we could hear. There was a symbol that lit up which showed that the door was open. We took our chances and entered the rooftop.

Here are a few photos of what we found…

We both climbed to the top of a water tower and decided to spend the rest of the day there. The water tower had a perfect view of the river and Manhattan. We took more photos and waited til sunset to get some night shots. The view was incredible and watching the sun slowly hide behind the river and turn the day into night made the entire trip worth every second.

Til next time….thanks for reading!



SHEPARD FAIREY TAKES OVER HOUSTON&BOWERY

LOCATION: Houston & Bowery st NYC, NY

As any New Yorker who commonly visits soho the murals on Houston & Bowery seem to always define the neighborhood. From Keith Haring to Os Gemeos the wall on Houston represents a huge source of expression and art in a rather commercial neighborhood. As many have seen, the latest artist to take over the wall is none other than Shepard Fairy.

The new work has gotten plenty of attention, and not all of it positive. The Department of Buildings has dubbed the project illegal and slapped the project with a STOP WORK ORDER notice. In a thought of kindness they did paste the order on the side of mural. The mural has also gotten negative attention due to the fact that retired cops are guarding the work at night from taggers. Many other people believe  that the wall is not art but a billboard to advertise Fairey’s recent show MAY DAY exhibition at Deitch.

Wether you consider the mural art or an advertisement….hate it or love it…its Shepard Fairey. Keith Harings mural was incredible, Os Gemeos mural was amazing but when I saw Shepard Fairey a big smile came to my face.

The deep reds and impressive figures ad power to the wall. While I spent my time admiring the work I did not see one person not stop to take a closer look. The work seems to bring out the size of the wall and makes any spectator feel miniscule in comparison. I enjoy having the work there and seeing it everytime I pass Houston St. I hope people respect the work and let it stand in testimony to an artist who molded the industry.

After I spent some time at the mural I decided to stop by the OBEY pop up shop at 151 Orchard St.

I was hoping to pick up a print or two but none were on sale. So to add to my never ending tshirt collection I decided to buy one more. I found the design of the store to be excellent. The skate shops and clothing stores within the area all seem to have a hip hop urban fashion theme, which is fine by me but gets old fast. The OBEY pop up had a small rustic feel with wood burnt hangers, vintage persian rugs that seemed to be pulled from the trash, ripped black n white photos of Faireys work made into a collage on a section of wall and unframed photos of graffiti artists on another.

To top off the entire ambience the store was filled with music of old cool smooth jazz, not your recent Kenny G or Dave Koz but the classics like Miles Davis. Unfortunately the store will close May 16th. I wish this store could be a permanent fixture at this location. I’ll probably have to make another trip before it is gone for good.

Till next time……thanks for reading!



MISSION #3 – FLOYD BENNETT FIELD

LOCATION – BROOKLYN, NY

A brief history…

A point of departure for record-breaking flights of famous aviators, including Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes, Floyd Bennett Field — part of Gateway National Recreation Center – opened in 1931 as New York’s first municipal airport. This storied area is now open to the public. It offers visitors the chance to learn about the history of aviation and escape from the nearby hustle of the city.

Floyd Bennett Field was built originally on Barren Island in Jamaica Bay, and was later connected to the mainland with landfill under the guidance of Robert Moses. The airfield was named for naval aviator and Brooklyn resident Floyd Bennett, who was the first person to fly over the North Pole. After serving as the city’s municipal airport, Floyd Bennett Field was converted to a Naval Air Station in 1941. It was the most active airport in the United States during World War II, and it has an important place in the history of military aviation.

The historic control tower and terminal at Floyd Bennett Field has been converted into the site’s visitor ‘s center. From the top of the tower, enjoy a spectacular view of Floyd Bennett Field and Jamaica Bay. Exhibits and interpretive programs celebrate the people and historical events connected with Floyd Bennett Field. The runways are now popular with model airplane enthusiasts and cyclists while acres of restored grassy fields give nature lovers a chance to explore the wildlife in their own back yards.

INFORMATION TAKING FROM FOLLOWING SOURCES –

http://www.nyharborparks.org/visit/flbe.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Bennett_Field

Personal history….

As I was sitting editting photos and publishing my last few post at 2am friday night, I began to wonder where my next trip would be. As I was almost finished my two roommates walked through the front door. The one noticed what I was doing and instantly began telling me stories of places I should visit. As he is rattling off several places he tells me of the time he was almost arrested at Floyd Bennett Air Field. Apparently he was confused for some other people that were using the airfield to shoot bondage porn. As he was telling me about being chased through the air field with guards screaming “ITS DEM DAMN KIDS AGAIN AND THEIR POOOOORN!” I knew I had to see this place for myself. I tell Aaron and the next day we make the trip. As we get there we notice that it wasn’t as abandoned as we thought. The make shift parking lot is littered with cars and a high school football game was in full swing. I didn’t pay much attention and just was happy that the space was being used for something positive. Aaron and I park and take a quick look around and find several hangers off in the distance that were definately in decay. We had in that direction and find the easiest way inside.

Id have to say my one problem with exploring modern day ruins, is that my mind runs wild with what could be found. Since we were visiting a semi abandoned airfield I assumed giant rusting planes would be scattered everywhere. Unfortunately all we saw was huge empty warehouses with greenery growing through floors and ceilings falling to the ground. It was definately not what I expected, but it also wasnt a complete failure. The one story warehouses were huge and the weeds growing through the ground added a weird sort of battle between man and nature. Aaron and I made sure to explore the entire building and documented the entire trip.

As we were leaving we decided to see what all the sports commotion was about and stopped to look at the game. As we looked around all of a sudden Queens, NY turned into middle America. In every direction we saw mothers with families piling into minivans, kids hauling sports equipment and drunken fathers crowded around a make shift bar. As we observed all the family commotion we noticed a building in which everybody was exiting from. The building was an old hanger but when we entered we saw it was now a giant sports complex. There was arcades in the distance, wall climbing to my left, moon bounces to my right, ice hockey rinks and public skating rinks. There was also a dozen or more young girls running wildly through an upstairs section in princess costumes, most likely a birthday party. The idea that were exploring abandoned ruins no more than 300 yards away from a thriving sports complex was amazing to me.

So there Aaron and I were in a sports complex in Queens, NY. I tried my hardest to get him to go ice skating with me, but he doesn’t see the fun in going around in a circle. It was a good trip with many discoveries which were completely unexpected. Enjoy the photos!

MISSION STATUS – SUCCESS