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Thread: News story - Urban Explorers..

  1. #1
    Level 3 User YellowSled's Avatar
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    Default News story - Urban Explorers..

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/loc...tory?track=rss

    Dilapidated buildings lure urban explorers
    After roaming old industrial properties, photographers post pictures online

    By Jacques Kelly | Baltimore Sun reporter
    June 1, 2009


    An abandoned garment-making plant near Green Mount Cemetery has become a lure to a band of adventurers who crave the thrill of its shadows and dank spaces.

    Calling themselves urban explorers, these uninvited, but tenacious visitors slip into to the century-old Lebow Brothers plant on Oliver Street, where once-expensive suits and topcoats still hang on racks - left by factory workers more than two decades ago.

    The explorers snap photographs and post them on the Internet, where they find a wide audience. "After a good day, I've had 100,000 views of the photos on my page on Flickr," said Chris Folsom, 31, an information technology worker from Catonsville who spends his days off exploring crumbling urban artifacts.

    The Lebow site is classic gritty Baltimore -- boarded, dilapidated, with weedy trees growing near the roof. It's also got a great story, having been padlocked with an unsold inventory of expensive menswear in 1984. Payroll records, rotary-dial phones, old computers and calendars remain suspended in a kind of industrial twilight.

    Harry Lebow, grandson of the clothing firm's founder, said his family and several hundred employees worked in the building making expensive suits that were carried at Sak's, Nieman-Marcus and Barney's.

    "We made a lot of cashmere sport coats and it is a shame they were left in the building for so long," said Lebow.

    Lebow recalled that when his family operated the clothing business, the building was owned by local philanthropist Zanvyl Krieger. He sold the property in the mid-1980s to a corporation controlled by Abraham Zion of New York.

    City officials have been pressuring the Zion family to fix up the building. The property was scheduled to be sold at auction in March, but the sale was called off.

    "It is the hope of my client to develop it in a wonderful way," said Baltimore attorney Paul Mark Sandler, who represents the owners. "It will take time and capital."

    Meanwhile, the old factory remains a Disneyland for urban explorers who relish the risk of visiting and photographing abandoned factories, schools and hospitals.

    "The Lebow factory is one of the scariest places," said Chris Piergalline, 29, another explorer. "You have no idea who's taking up residence in it. The rain has poured in and the solid wood floor looks like waves of the ocean. You do get a bit of a rush from it - a random sense of excitement. It's the darkness, the strange noises."

    Sometimes it's the wind slamming a door. It can be the sound of dripping water -- or a pigeon suddenly taking flight.

    The explorers say they are ruled by a "no touch" policy. "We leave the place the way we found it," said Folsom.

    Nevertheless, one of the risks urban explorers face is arrest. "In many cases, this is trespassing, but it is also dangerous to the individuals who come in contact with weak flooring and railings," said Troy Harris, a city police spokesman. "The Police Department does not endorse this activity at all."

    Folsom concedes, "There is an invasive quality to what we do." But he adds, "we never get a negative reaction to it."

    On their days off, Folsom and Piergalline, who also works in information systems, visit crumbling ruins such as the old Henryton state hospital campus; St. Mary's College in Ilchester, a former Roman Catholic seminary once run by the Redemptorist fathers; or the old Hebrew Orphan Asylum in the Calverton section of West Baltimore.

    They say that Baltimore, with its strong industrial heritage, is a natural city for urban exploring. "It's a very real city. Everything is intermingled. The good and the bad are within a block of one another," Folsom said.

    They see how quickly Baltimore can jump from scrap heap to upscale condominium. When the two explorers went to visit a building on the former National Beer campus in Highlandtown, they found the neighborhood was gentrifying so quickly that a Panera Bread restaurant had opened.

    "It's like we were too late," Folsom said.

    In his quest to find abandoned and forlorn Baltimore, Folsom says "I feel there is a need to document these buildings just as they were left and before they are renovated or torn down. They are a piece of the city's history."

    He says that he has nothing against abandoned structures being restored. "I just like to see the original character left, the way Bill Struever did at Tide Point. I don't want Baltimore to have a cookie-cutter look on every block."

    In September, Folsom's photos will be on display at the Baltimore Gallery on Eastern Avenue, the first public exhibit of his work.
    Last edited by Dan; 06-01-2009 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Evan was lazy
    ~Evan~ UA member #12
    Kosher Sausage, what?

  2. #2
    Reality Hacker Dan's Avatar
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    Who is Chris?

  3. #3
    Level ∞ User don corleyone's Avatar
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    neighborhood watch?
    leave the gun, take the canoli.

  4. #4
    kts's Avatar
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    nope that's not his name, and he's younger. i thought chr7s but i don't think it's him.
    All I do is party...
    L/amE

  5. #5
    Herbal Exploration Crew sean's Avatar
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    dunno who he is, but google tells me this is his flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/zero101
    dogfishheaded

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    kts's Avatar
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    nice find.

    i've seen his stuff before when someone linked me to the 'abandoned maryland' group on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/groups/abandonedmd/

    i remember being rather with this:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/abandon...7615843437228/

    What are your thoughts on sharing information about locations you have been to?

    I recently had a conversation through Flickrmail about the fact that I geotag my locations. His feeling was that sharing such information would lead to vandalism and destruction. Thus, the fewer people who know anything about these places the better.

    My response is... the only way I, or many of us on here, found out about some of these locations is because someone told us or we saw it in a photostream. It seems silly and greedy to try and keep such places a secret. And frankly, most of these places have been closed for decades and have seen hundreds of visitors already.... a few more probably won't cause them to crumble to the ground.
    All I do is party...
    L/amE

  7. #7
    Level 3 User Doomed's Avatar
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    awesome story.
    "I'm coming down fast, but I'm miles above you."

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    Level 3 User briansbrains's Avatar
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    nice find.

    i've seen his stuff before when someone linked me to the 'abandoned maryland' group on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/groups/abandonedmd/

    i remember being rather with this:

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/abandon...7615843437228/
    lolz
    i was the one that messaged him about geotagging locations.
    diecunt

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    Level 2 User chr7s's Avatar
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    Not me, I do know a lot of people have been through Lebow and there is a ton of info posted online.

  10. #10
    kts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briansbrains View Post
    lolz
    i was the one that messaged him about geotagging locations.
    diecunt
    lol something told me it was you who talked to him about that.
    All I do is party...
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  11. #11
    Level 3 User Palehorse's Avatar
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    Am I the only one who saw it was Lebow and thought "Damnit, there goes another good location"?

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    Reality Hacker Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Palehorse View Post
    Am I the only one who saw it was Lebow and thought "Damnit, there goes another good location"?
    I highly doubt it but I personally don't care anymore. At least in Maryland... These places are disappearing faster than even we can keep track of. And its not because they were "known places".

  13. #13
    kts's Avatar
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    i was happy they only discussed lebow and a few other very well known and trashed locations so i will give them props for that. but like dan said spots in MD are disappearing quick these days.
    All I do is party...
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    Level 3 User Soldat222's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kts View Post
    ...but like dan said spots in MD are disappearing quick these days.
    Some goes most places. Progress man, it will fuck you up.
    'You know what the problem is, Brucie? We used to make shit in this country... build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pockets.'

  15. #15
    Level 3 User Doomed's Avatar
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    As the mighty Clutch would say- "You cant stop, you cant stop progress! You cant stop, you cant stop, no no no!"
    "I'm coming down fast, but I'm miles above you."

  16. #16
    Reality Hacker Dan's Avatar
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    Found this... A story from the guy leading up to this article.

    http://www.zero101.com/

    http://zero101.tumblr.com/post/11388...e-sun-near-you

    Don't think he is a member here.

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