It was my birthday, and I decided that I wanted to treat myself and do something special. So I decided to on vacation. To Buffalo, New York. In November.
This was the first stop on our road trip trough the I–90 rust belt. I was definitely excited to visit a place I had never been, and didn't know anything about. After a decade of crawling through broken windows and inhaling asbestos around New England, there isn't too much left to see that someone you know hasn't already have the details on. This was new location for me, completely unknown. It meant adventure. It also meant it was a bit nerve-wracking. The property was massive, and wander around with no idea who or what was there had me treading lightly.
We snuck in after a breakfast for lunch type-deal at a diner down the street. The tiny neighbourhood surrounding the plant was tightly clustered around the building. The weather was unseasonably warm, and the yards were busy with families trying to make the most of a sunny November weekend. Closer to the property, the town buildings and adjacent train yard were really run down. While driving around looking for a safe place to park, we found a few other small buildings nearby, empty, and totally wrecked. There were also what looked like some abandoned boats sitting on the side of the road (in upstate New York), and some of the trains looked like they hadn't moved in months.
Inside, the building was eerie and still. It was an anxious visit, both of us walking quietly from room to room. The air was charged with tension. Wind moved through the building, slamming doors and blowing shreds of plastic tarps around. The warehouse was massive, with other hulking buildings surrounding it. It definitely looked like the location was a massive operation at one point. But the shifting wind meant the building was constantly readjusting itself, and the massive gutted interiors announced our movement from room to room with booming echoes. It almost felt like this trashed old building knew it looked like a disaster, and didn't appreciate our unannounced visit. After four or so hours, I felt uneasy. The roof rattled in the wind, metal beams creaked and shifted overhead. I felt like we were maybe pushing our luck, and that as we stayed, we were multiplying the chances that something awful was about to happen. Like, some kind of Final Destination act-of-god bullshit.
We explored a massive, hangar shaped production area, and the offices attached to it. I was disappointed to find that most, of the machinery had been scrapped. All that remained was the pits where they had stood, dug out of matted, oil-stained sand. The offices and workshops contained the most interesting relics: wrenches and other old tools, mechanical equipment, notebooks, industrial appliances, x-ray machines, etc. But, it didn't take long before we were running out of sunlight. We decided it was probably best to leave before dark, even though it felt like we were being hurried out the door. We still had a lot of driving to do before we slept that night.