I have been in New York City the last several days, broadcasting two shows live from Fox Across America headquarters in Manhattan.
Even though it has been in the low 20s, it feels like Spring compared to the last winter I was here a few years ago when it was 20 below with the windchill factored in.
While most tourists hit the museums, Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty, I made my way to Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island to get as close as I could get to the Ruins of Renwick. This was an old teburculosis hospital that now stands in decaying pieces, many of the outer walls now missing and allowing a glimpse of what used to be.
I headed out there last night, walking from 6th Avenue and 53rd to the Roosevelt Island Tram at 2nd Avenue and 60th. Not a bad little walk for a thin-skinned Californian.
The tram ride hugs the Queensboro Bridge and it's awesome unless you look straight down. Even at night, I could make out the lit up ruins in the near distance. The tram operator told me it was a short walk but it was a little too cold and a whole lot too dark for me to get the guts to do it.
So I grabbed a bite at the the little diner at the base of the tram and enjoyed a pastrami sandwich at 12:40 in the morning. I loaded up on coffee and planned my return to the island the following morning (or rather, later that SAME morning).
I went to bed late and got up at the crack of dawn to make my way back to the ruins. I had no idea when the outer gate was opened but I decided it was better to be there on the earlier side. So I watched the sun come up and finally gained access at 8:15 this morning. I was more than excited, which may seem odd to you. But as a lover of historic abandoned buildings and a ghost hunter to boot, this was the motherlode.
The public safety officer unlocked the gates and I made my way to Southpoint Park. Before you reach the ruins, you actually pass the rubble that once was the original Elmhurt Hospital. A sign explains how this was home to those spilled over from poorhouses, prisons, and "lunatic" asylums. It opened in 1832.
I conducted some respectful EVP sessions (looking for electronic voice phenomenon, or spirit voices...voices not heard with the ear but picked up on recording devices) before continuing the short walk to the Ruins of Renwick.
What an amazing site. It looks like a gothic castle just sitting there, decaying from the passage of time. An effort is under way to stabilize the structure before it collapses completely.
I did some more EVP work along the perimeter, just on the other side of the chain link fence that keeps the curious from breaking their neck exploring the actual building.
Those who would like to read more about it and see videos of the location should check out: http://rooseveltislander.blogspot.com/2008/05/rare-look-inside-roosevelt-islands.html.
I plan to post videos and pictures soon on my Listener Club page at club.foxacrossamerica.com in the next few days.
Some locals I spoke with had never been out there. It's an experience native New Yorkers and tourists alike should check out before there is nothing left of it.
That is, if you are into that sort of thing.