2023 Year in Review

bustling city intersection with a large, mirrored bean-shaped sculpture reflecting the urban environment. A blurred bus in motion conveys the dynamic energy of the scene, with pedestrians crossing and cars waiting at the traffic light, encapsulating a typical moment in the heart of a vibrant metropolis.

Reflecting on 2023, it's been a rollercoaster of a year for me, both professionally and in my urban exploration pursuits. The year began with a significant career shift – leaving a job I thought would be a long-term stay for a new opportunity. The old job had its perks: yearly pay hikes, a 30-year pension plan, and a family-like team. The new job promised similar benefits but with a shorter pension period and a seemingly welcoming atmosphere that, unfortunately, hasn't felt right for me. I've been grappling with this sense of not fitting in, a dilemma made all the more challenging by the current tough job market.

On a different note, my urban exploration adventures across the New England corridor have been a highlight of my year. I've pushed my boundaries, venturing further northeast of New York City, driven by an increasing stamina for long drives. This newfound exploration range has been a silver lining, enabling me to document more sites than ever before, despite the job switch altering my days off.

An overexposed photograph of a deserted beachfront with the remnants of Neponsit Beach Hospital buildings. The stark, weathered structures stand in contrast to the soft, bright sand of the beach, and a hazy sky suggests a misty or foggy day. Footprints are visible in the sand, leading towards the dilapidated buildings, while a worn wooden fence with sporadic colorful patches lines the border between the beach and the hospital grounds.

However, the year wasn't without its disappointments. Several cherished exploration sites slipped through my fingers – the Church of St. Edward and St. Michael,  St. Lucy-St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, the Neponsit Beach Hospital powerhouse with its unique basement-dwelling goldfish, the Rogers Avenue church and school, the Fort Tilden warehouse, a risky theater in the city, and a missed opportunity at a riverfront Queens restaurant due to a fire. Not to mention arriving too late at an old Staten Island city agency building.

But, it's not all been losses. This year also brought some incredible discoveries. I stumbled upon a site with live fish thriving in a boiler room, echoing my previous find at Neponsit Hospital. The survival of these fish through the harsh winter is something I'm eager to revisit and document. Other highlights include an abandoned airfield hangar, a rural farm with an empty silo, a vast manufacturing plant, and an intriguing animal testing facility. These explorations have been true gems, adding to the rich tapestry of my urban exploration experiences.

Overcast view of Lower Manhattan's skyline from Brooklyn Heights, with barren trees and a grassy slope in the foreground. The East River lies between, with idle boat docks and a solitary red tugboat. Construction barriers and machinery suggest ongoing development. Despite the gray skies, the city's iconic skyscrapers stand resilient, showcasing the quiet yet persistent energy of a metropolis in winter.

As I sort through old files, I'm continually surprised by forgotten photos and memories, a reminder of my ongoing journey and passion for documenting abandoned places. As 2023 winds down, I look forward to 2024 with excitement and anticipation for new exploration opportunities and discoveries. Here's to a year of more adventures, better finds, and shared stories of the forgotten corners of our world. Cheers to everyone for a fun and fulfilling 2024!


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