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Qualimax Car Wash & Lube

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Rolling up to this once-vibrant car wash, I couldn't help but reminisce about the blunder from my last visit. Okay, so, note to self: never neglect the basics. My camera’s autofocus was off and, embarrassingly enough, my photos turned out blurrier than the city's morning haze. You'd think after all this time behind the lens, I'd catch something so obvious during a review. But hey, even seasoned shooters have off days, right? After a short hiatus from photography, I probably was a tad rusty. This time around, I made doubly sure I got it right. The site, a casualty of fire damage, lay exposed, its innards spilling out for all to see. An odd mishmash of household clutter and heavy-duty waste was thrown about as if the place had held a garage sale for discarded items. The scene hinted at the handiwork of unscrupulous contractors using this dilapidated garage as their personal landfill. In its heyday, the lube bay was buzzing with activity, with workers navigating beneath a

Ross & Roberts, Inc

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I still recall my solo expedition to this place during the early days of my urban exploration career. I strolled past the ubiquitous Dunkin' Donuts, and with surprising ease, found myself inside the property, likely through an open garage entrance. I remember the anxiety, the fear of encountering someone inside who might be interested in my camera gear and wallet. But I pushed those thoughts aside and got to work, exploring every nook and cranny, save for the roof. The constant clatter from the neighboring recycling redemption business reminded me that I wasn't alone, and I didn't want to draw attention from anyone who might spot me from the adjacent property. Masked against the dust, I delved into the exploration, avoiding the roof to stay out of sight. This was back in September 2016, when I ventured far and wide across Connecticut's cities and towns. The building was mostly empty, save for a few metal containers on the top floor. The walls, however, were a canvas of

A Decade in the Depths: An Urban Explorer's Journey

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A decade has swiftly passed since my inaugural dive into the urban underworld, armed with a second-hand Canon T3i secured from eBay. The alleys of inner Brooklyn beckoned, leading me to a desolate rail line in the heart of Flatbush. That day remains etched in memory: the anticipation of a newly-acquired camera, the thirst to decipher its mysteries, and the burgeoning desire to capture the city's hidden tales. While online tutorials and articles offered some guidance, it was the hands-on experience, right there in the city’s underbelly, that truly honed my skills. Scaling the fence and descending a gritty incline, I found myself on the sweltering tracks, enveloped by the stifling heat of a typical New York summer day — a day when the sun’s piercing rays seem relentless and the city's concrete radiates an oppressive warmth. I have come a long way from out-of-focus graffiti pictures when I first started back on June 28, 2013. As I wandered beneath the iconic boulevards of Brooklyn

Former Empire State Dairy Company

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The Architecture The property in question encompasses 0.72 acres, bordered by Schenck Avenue to the west, residential properties to the south, Barbey Street to the east, and Atlantic Avenue to the north. This site boasts a rich history of diverse commercial and industrial uses. Dating back to the 1890s, it served as a dairy bottling facility before accommodating companies such as the Royal Plastics Corporation and/or Allied Tile Co. After the cessation of dairy operations, businesses that utilized petroleum products, solvents, and hydraulic fluids occupied the site, leading to subsurface contamination over time. The dairy complex has remained vacant since around 2020, and after the owner of Royal Plastics Company passed away in June 2012, the property's future became uncertain. The current redevelopment plan intends to transform the site into affordable housing. The Empire State Diary is a composite of six structures organized into two roughly symmetrical units, which once housed E

Former Lionetti Oil

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In a corner of the city where history is often paved over, the elusive site bore a name that seemed to vanish from the annals of time. My research, though tenacious, yielded little more than the faint echo of its past. Diving deeper, I stumbled across a similarly named enterprise, but a trail of online records confirmed there was no connection. The site in question was once a pulsating heart of industry. From the 1940s, it functioned as a hub for heating fuel oil transfer, its machines humming and workers bustling until it ceased operations in 1993. Yet, it wasn’t just the hum of machinery that it left behind. The ground bore the scars of its past, tainted with petroleum hydrocarbons and semi-volatile organic compounds. Remarkably, grant funds were once mobilized to cleanse this wounded land, leading to the removal of 10 above-ground storage tanks and sparking community engagement initiatives. Fast-forward to 2018, when my boots crunched the gravel of this forsaken property. The once-g