The Days After Pittsburgh

Detroit (Michigan) & Windsor (Ontario).

January 2010.

Between sleeping on the bus from Erie to Cleveland and Cleveland to Detroit, plus sleeping on the floor of the Cleveland Greyhound Station; I was rested enough that I was ready to tackle another Detroit day instead of rushing home to bed. After some breakfast & a healthy portion of coffee, I was right back to it.

We spent a good portion of the morning wandering and shooting building exteriors, but eventually we got down to business.

UJ had long wanted to see the inside of Max's Theater on Chene St - and since we were in the neighbourhood after a different fail - I suggested that we go check it off.

I can't lie, I thought it looked promising from the street too.

Anyway, once inside, the interior was comical to the point of laughter as we walked in the back entrance to find the scene captured in the above picture. After creeping around, avoiding people & generally being quite stealthy - it was definitely one of those 'oh boy' moments.

Moving right along.

While somewhat struggling to think of another place to go, UJ was talking to her Flickr friend & claimed that we were driving around aimlessly with absolutely zero ideas - to which her friend grew concerned and offered up an apartment for us to visit.

I certainly didn't need a handout, but the apartments ended up being quite excellent.

Walking into the building, UJ & I grew concerned with the maintained condition of the walls, signs, room buzzers and the lobby itself - but we simply concluded it to be a recent abandonment.

We moved from the lobby into the apartment hallways and into the rooms...

The lobby wasn't overly opulent, but attractive enough. The hallways were lined with pressed tin below the halfway point & the rooms were fair sized. It seemed that this place would have been middle-to-upper class in its day.

Some of the rooms were heavily decayed and empty...

...while others looked like the occupant left only weeks prior to our arrival.

It's likely that with increasing vacancy, the more decayed rooms sat empty for years prior to the evacuation of the entire structure.

The less decayed rooms had an assortment of old lady clothes and tacky items left behind.

This is what made this particular apartment building interesting: because typically you rummage through apartments and find empty bottles of Hennessey and Nintendo 64s - items typical of poorer, young tenants...whereas this apartment looked like somewhere you would imagine an 85 year old lady milling around.

Each apartment consisted of a bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. The building was so antiquated that the phones were of the old earpiece style & each kitchen had a built-into-the-wall fold down ironing board.

Moving into the kitchen, I'm aware that this a terrible panoramic picture, but it was nearly impossible to take a proper picture in the confined space without an SLR camera lens. In addition, I'm overlooking the picture quality because I was completely infatuated with the built in wood cabinets and overall intimacy of the kitchen - I pretty much want this setup in my own apartment.

Well, away from the white paint they seemed to buy in bulk and rolled every nook & cranny with...

Your typical living room.

I was taking the above image because of the 1970s pointy mirror, when UJ informed me that the picture stuck into the mirror was of a man in his coffin - a man you would assume to be the former tenant's husband.

Strange stuff kids.

I would think that you would have a better picture of your husband...but who knows.

When we first entered the building, we had a choice of going left or right - each direction leading to an entire separate and disjunct wing of the building. We chose right and finished that wing soon enough.

Returning to the lobby so we could move onto the left side, we noticed that the previously wide-open front door we came in, was now heavily chained up and barricaded from the inside! Great! Clearly, some resident came home while we were inside and we just happened to find it open because he was out for a couple minutes!

After asking UJ to hold on so I could take a picture; we proceeded to try and balance quickness with silence in moving these tables, nail buckets & chains - constantly imagining an irate hermit coming from the left side & wondering who the hell we were, why the hell we were there and why we were moving his precious nail buckets.

After 2 minutes which seemed to be made of 500 seconds instead of 60, we finally popped open the door and got the hell out of Dodge.

We tried to close the door quietly yet securely, before crossing the road and rolling away.

After some more driving around and a hospital building, we decided to call it a day because of the deteriorating weather conditions.

With large snowflakes falling and minor wind, I wanted to stand around and grow nostalgic about midwest winters, but I knew the roads were growing worse.

I think we drank that night, then we had Mooseheads the next night...

...and then a motel party the next night!

Pittsburgh was a nice break from it all, but now I was right back to the heavy drinking - which was okay because I would be back to my dozy life in Newfoundland soon enough.

Who am I kidding anyway? $25 motel room party with 5 people whom I don't see even close to nearly enough? Olde English, Kozels & Mooseheads to the sound of J-Kwon?

Life was good that day, life was good that day.

In fact, life might have been a little too good that day, as none of us were awake before 1p.m. the next day...

We did have plans to hit up a couple buildings on my last free day, but those plans were looking bleak after staying awake until the sun came up.

Who cares if we weren't leaving first thing in the morning though? It was my last day, so even if we hurried and only went to Detroit for 3 hours, it still would be a most excellent 3 hours.

Originally - after several late nights of drinking and carrying on - I was content to relax this Saturday; but the night before led to the idea of finally getting Steve to that tower. It had been 4 years since I first went there and Steve had wanted to go since first hearing about the place...but his visits would never work out - he had shoulder surgery, he would have to watch children, they sealed the building...he simply couldn't catch a break.

Therefore, when I remembered hearing it was open over Christmas, I asked Steve if he finally wanted to get it done.

^Complete bite of a previous shot by my friend. I thought it was funny how much you could bite the same exact shot.

I'm always happy to make a friend's dreams come true, but in addition to that; it was also nice to find some parts of the tower which I somehow always seemed to miss in the past. Therefore, even though it was about 15°F (-10°C), we were hung over & we were rushed - it was still an awesome way to conclude my Christmas holidays.

In addition to discovering new rooms, I also could never complain about the company - adequate comrades for watching the sun set on my holidays from 35 stories up.

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