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Nov. 28th, 2007

Rochester is such an... organic city.

We've been to Buffalo, parts of which are sad - empty houses and broken glass, urban prairies, windows, stations, and the 17 grand storeys of abandonment. It sure deserves some attention -

but Rochester! Overgrown decay, green and wild. Emptiness and police cars, factories, proud if rusting, graffiti and bridges, buildings cut into rock - and, slap-bang, a waterfall, right downtown.

Oh, did I mention the abandoned subway?

Anyway, we've been there. In the tunnels, mostly pitch black; in the Water Room with rains and cascades out of leaking pipes (although there was much less light there than you'd think from people's photos).

While we are at it, have you seen Dark Days, a documentary on the homeless who once lived in Amtrak tunnels, filmed by these same homeless? If not, I think you should. (Even after it, though it wasn't the point, I still don't know what to do when I see a homeless person in the street. Give money? Not really, unless they break my heart, and even then... they will probably be there day after day. I have my habits, like buying street newspapers, and I remember the times when my heart is broken - like that sad old man in Chinatown, with a paper cup and probably not much family, gesturing towards each passer-by, his whole body turning - in vain. Yet there is, as ever, *just so much happening* that... I'm always out of time.)


I should cut the story short because I have a cold and need to sleep and to go to work in the morning.

Here, we took pictures.
Road Trip 1, Buffalo and Rochester.
Road Trip 2, Rochester and a couple of parks in New York State.

There is more I'd like to tell, though, but I will not succeed, and not many people will actually read to here. Hi; I'm glad YOU did.

So, Rochester.

I dreamt of this place once. Well, it was only later that I realized I was dreaming of it, or of something very close. It was a mill the middle of a sea. I was standing on a pipe and then fell backwards into warm water, floating as I was looking up at the walls of pale yellow brick, rust-stained, punctured by chimneys and staircases.

Spirited Away hit home with things like this:

and this:

(Also, compare: a and b with c)

I don't exactly know why I like such images.

Again, anyway.

We had encounters with people. Of those, there is a story; it was written at a different time and so is not the same in tone; I will just quote it and go to sleep.

There goes.


Road trip number one: we arrive to Rochester, park, walk to the East Entrance, see that it has been sealed off with "No Trespassing, Will Prosecute" fences, and do not climb over. Instead, we walk along the streets under which the tunnel is buried, looking for clues, taking pictures, being greeted by locals when they see us staring into the arches of the Broad Street Aqueduct. Surprisingly, there is a fair number of police cars in the streets which are otherwise rather empty, and so we discuss how convenient it is that, of all people who would search for this tunnel, we possibly look the least suspicious. Eventually, we reach the intersection with Nick Tahou Hots, next to which the entrance to the West Tunnel is supposed to be, and stand at a light. On the other side of the road, by the restaurant, a group of old ladies get out of a car. They are wearing long skirts with flower patterns, and I look at those rather thoughtlessly as the ladies walk around the corner of the building and disappear from sight. Then, I decide to make a comment.
- Speaking of suspicious, - I say. - They look much less suspicious than us.
- That's because they are going to the restaurant, - parudox says.
- See, even YOU think that! So would the police. "Spotted in the tunnels? Oh, they probably just got a bit lost on the way to the restaurant." Very convenient.

The conversation continues in this key until we cross the road and also walk around the corner. There is no restaurant entrance there, just tracks coming out of a red brick wall, so we stop and stare.

- Now where the hell ARE they going?

The ladies (and their male companion whom we haven't noticed earlier) are indeed walking along the tracks which lead to some factory-like buildings in the distance. We get distracted by examining the bricks; no sign of any sealed-off tunnels. In the meantime, the ladies step down into the grass to the right of the tracks. parudox and me exchange glances.

- Let's go after them, - he says.

So we do, and this is how we finally find the tunnel entrance - by following a bunch of old ladies, of all things.

(They did go down there, briefly, after their guide checked out the area and deemed that spot safe).

Never trust little old ladies is what this means.


(You should read other people's account on http://www.infiltration.org/transit-roch.html, by the way, but I'm sure you figured it out if you got this far.)



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 28th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
My housemate Rachel is from Rochester =)
Nov. 29th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
Well, I care. Is that any consolation? =)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )