Barry & me
Fri, Aug 24th, 2007
posted by Explorer Zero

It was a Thursday like any other Thursday. I came home for lunch to grab a quick burrito and check my email. Before I could login I noticed the message light on the 2xploraphone going off. I had just missed a message from blood brother Barry Kooda and he was in an abandoned basement again, without a flashlight, again! (see The Weiner Factory location for more basement flashlight tales)

I called the office, had my secretary clear my schedule and cancel a boring 2 hour meeting. Just tell everyone something came up and I'll reschedule it next week I said. Do you ever feel like blowin off work a little early on Friday? I know I do. I was off the next day anyway so this was in effect, my Friday.

I knew exactly where Barry was too. We'd both scouted and discussed this location before, way back when it was still active and I already knew the back way in. The front was a two story brick office type building being used for artists lofts and band practice rooms that is nearly 400ft long. In the back a somehow unrelated manufacturing and 226000 square foot warehouse facility. Peering through the fence I saw nothing going on and no Barry. Back on the 2xploraphone now:

Barry: hey man

2X: hey man Im here where you at?

Barry: around front

2X: Ok, you go through the hole in the back gate?

Barry: Naw, Im out front with the code compliance guy

2X whathe huh? Ok man, I'll be around in a minute

I knew exactly where Barry was now, this site fronts on a major thoroughfare thats being widened or re-paved. When I pulled up in the construction zone I knew this would not be a Thursday like any other Thursday.

There was Barry sitting out front like he owned the place, Code Enforcement officer on one side, dead dog carcass on the other. Come on in he said looks like we got at least one guy living inside. Shit I said, there used to be a lot of guys living inside have they vacated? Well this guys got this whole warehouse to himself here, I followed his bike tracks in but didnt want to disturb him Barry said. A window that had been wide open just minutes ago had been barricaded from the inside now. We assumed this meant he didnt want any visitors today so we headed for the basement.

I armed Barry with my spare flashlight and we made our way in through piles of debris, discarded TVs and other assorted appliances and furnishings. I commented about the poor air quality. It was wonderful! Ive been missing the cool damp moldy goodness of large industrial basements lately. As we separated and started checking out 2 dozen bizarre little rooms in the main corridor Barry said: heres the real basement. A sub-basement full of funky green water concealed some boiler room type equipment. Next door in another utility room something moved, and we froze. Barry said: something moving in there. It was just a big ole rat, we kept moving. A little black cat went scooting by silently down the long hall there were several cats inside today. The basement was amazing. Art work, sound proofing, poorly built stages, concert flyers and advertising posters were everywhere. And whiskey bottles. Not pints, not fifths, but half gallons and gallons!

Each successive room on every floor was equally amazing and I can only imagine this was one hoppin place when it was being rented out for band practice. Looks like a few musicians actually lived here and amateur recording studios had been built into some of the larger rooms. Most of the industrial stuff out back was gone but 7 or 8 giant warehouses contained even more weirdness. A boat. A mobile home. Odd little offices stuck in every corner where the under bosses could keep track of the worker drones. Amazing stuff.

Theres no better way to break up the grind of the work day than taking an extended lunch break, in an abandoned building! Because we don't do golf.