Archive for the ‘Weird NJ’ Category

pictures from the inside of Demon’s Alley

Many years ago the New City development owned by the Newark Watershed Commission was demolished after numerous arson fires set to the abandoned buildings there. The buildings had become an eyesore and a source of great trouble as curiosity seekers often (illegally) explored the buildings because of rampant rumors of murder, witchcraft and bizarre events that were alleged to have occured there. I explored these ruins once but didn’t do more then wander around the 8 abandoned buildings. The buildings themselves were in such a state of disrepair that safe discovery was not possible. I took a few pictures thru the windows but never entered them.

Several years ago I was sent pictures taken from inside the buildings. You can see all the pictures here. The ruin is… impressive.

Advertisements

Bill Ervolino seeks the Iron Door

I’ve visited the Iron Door a few times. I actually suggested the idea to him but didn’t go with him because he’d already gone to the jet in the woods with me. His editors wouldn’t have gone for another trip with the same guide, so I suggested Brian Snat and voila. Another expedition for the intrepid Record writer.

Traction … err…. Action park

Action park was a waterpark that operated in the northern western part of NJ from 1978-1996. It was one of the first major water parks in the country and there was no attraction like it in the tri-state area at the time. Located in vernon Valley/Great gorge, the management decided to try to find a summer use for the property since skiing was not feasible. It began slowly, but by the early 80’s was a large park with numerous rides, a wave pool and a motortrack race course.

The amusement park earned many nicknames such as Accident Park and Traction Park because it was not uncommon for as many as 10 people a day to be injured seriously enough as to have to go to the nearby hospital. When an amusement park buys an ambulance for the local hospital due to the heavy influx of patients, that’s a bad sign right there. 6 people have confirmed to have died while in the park and the park closed down in 1996. Two years later the park reopened as Mountain Creek, with a heavy emphasis on safety.

I only have a few memories of Action park. I remember when I was in my early teens (mid 80’s) going there and hating the fact that the park was built on a hillside so every ride entailed long hikes with a rubber tube up the side of a mountain. I also hated the fact that the water was ice cold. It could be 110 in the shade and that water was always bone chilling cold. I did ride the infamous looping slide and it was not a pleasureable experience. It was neither thrilling, nor exciting, unless you consider being held up at gunpoint thrilling and exciting. I suppose you actually could describe being mugged in that way, because it sure felt like I had been assaulted by the time I had gotten off the ride.

I visited Action park again around 1990 or 1991. I recall stopping in because the TMNT were going to be there (this was right after the first movie had shown in theaters) They now had a bungee jump and I tried it. Was terrified. Looking back I was a pussy because I’ve gone skydiving without so much as a single tremor of fear.

I honestly don’t personally remember much else about Action park, but I hope you do, and I hope you’ll post your experiences here. I would say more but honestly why re-invent the wheel? There’s a number of good sources of info on Action park, and if you want all the details, go there. They did the work of writing it, so I’ll let them tell you rather then just essentially rip them off.

There’s a really lengthy recap of the rides and the siteowners experiences at Action Park here. very detailed and well worth reading.

Weird NJ has a page about Action Park, with many reader comments.

Of course the Wikipedia entry about Action park is really the best place to read up about it. It is extremely detailed and appears to be very accurate, covering the rides, the injuries, the deaths, the surly/drunken/couldn’t-care-less employees and more.

1983 tv ad for Action Park

1988 tv ad for Action park

Tarzan swing at Action park

The following pictures come courtesy of Abandonedbutnotforgotten, and the rest of the pics can be found here. I don’t know when these photos were taken, but based on the opne picture showing a reference to Mountain Creek, I’d assume they were taken right before Mountain Creek opened, which means they were taken between 1996 (when Action park closed) and 1998 (when Mountain Creek opened). I imagine this is what Jungle Habitat looked like in 1978 after it closed down.

Inside the house of Demon’s Alley

I received the following email and photographers from a reader.

I saw your page on Demon’s Alley and figured you might want to see inside. I live nearby and have to go past the New City Complex now and again. Even though I know the truth (radon and all that) the area still creeps me out. I think it’s those stupid windows with the fake windowshades. Anyway, I’d never actually stopped to check it out so recently when a friend was visiting from S Jersey I decided to take a stop by. I parked on the side of the road and walked over to one of the houses.

It used to be boarded up good but I see somebody ripped all the plywood off. Assholes. Anyway, the inside was completely rotted out, I mean the floor was *gone*. Nothing left, like rotted away to nothing! One of the other houses was in better shape but I wasn’t about to go in there. Who knows when that floor will give way? Then I’d be a candidate for the Darwin Award. Anyway I snapped a few pics thru the windows and then headed out. You’d be taking your life in your hands if you went in there, besides doesn’t look like there’s anything interesting in there anyway.

Why are people so fascinated with this place anyway? It’s just some houses that had radon. Course most of the people probably believe those horse-shit stories about kids who murdered their parents and the other crap stories they tell to scare each other before coming over here at 3AM. I bet the NWC bulldozes this place just to avoid the headache and the liability. It’s reasons like this why Cross Castle was taken down…

Great site, keep up the good work.

EPSON DSC picture

Sierra Exif JPEG

Sierra Exif JPEG

Sierra Exif JPEG

Demon’s Alley

boarded

Demon’s Alley is another example of a well known (in Weird NJ circles) place which is over-rated. And yet it’s worth a trip anyway. Confused? Let me explain. First off, what exactly is Demon’s Alley anyway? It is a small section of road where there are a half dozen abandoned homes, which by itself is rather unusual. One or two abandoned homes? Blame the economy. A half dozen all on the same block? Well there’s got to be a story there somewhere, and there is, it’s just a tad boring…

The road is on Newark Watershed Land, in West Milford, near several reservoirs. The first stories about the places had the usual bullshit-hype behind it. Satanic cults, ritual murders, etc. The truth? Well in a letter to Weird NJ which was printed in the following issue, the Newark Watershed Commission stated that the properties were used to house employees. Known simply as the New City Complex, the letter simply states that the properties aren’t being utilized for housing. No duh. A separate letter states that homes were abandoned because of radon, which is, from what I understand the real truth. That would explain why they left behind personal items and furniture. When a home is contaminated with radon it gets into everything and little can be taken with you.

I recently was in the area and I had to visit and was actually quite surprised by what I found. First off, from letters I had read I the impression that the entire area, road and property and all were cordoned off, presumably by a fence. No such deal. I pulled off Route 23 and I saw the side street in question was right there with the houses in plain sight. Turned off and pulled to the side and began snapping pictures. The houses themselves are beginning to fall apart, especially the roofs. The doors and windows are all solidly covered with plywood, with one exception. Some folks may have no problem B&E, but I do. In their letter to Weird NJ, the Watershed Commission made it clear that anyone trespassing will be arrested.

Somehow I don’t doubt their sincerity. The condition of the plywood clearly indicates that whenever someone breaks in, the entrance is quickly covered up. This is the second really odd thing: for whatever reason, they paint the plywood to look like window shades. Now this is so obvious it can’t be meant to really fool you, yet why go to the trouble? Perhaps to cover the copious amounts of graffiti that cover the buildings?

fakewindowshade

The only building with any entrance appeared to be some sort of garage or shed. It has a large opening which appears to have had no attempt to be covered. After about 10 minutes of observing (without trespassing) I finally left. I can say that this place would give me the heebie-jeebies at night, even with my knowledge of the real reason why this place was abandoned. I must say if I had skittish friends, I could play quite a bit of mind games with them if I were to bring them here at midnight….

behindblocks

bigpond

bluesheets

Greystone is a hot spot for urban explorers

no duh. I am really surprised people used their actual names.

Oh and Heather Shade asks for permission before entering? I’m sure she have. But I don’t think that’s the norm. Same goes for the marks. I don’t think they had permission to visit the Fish Factory. Then again, maybe they did. What the hell do I know?

Also of note, this article made it onto the wire services and was published in the Star Ledger.

Do we do harm by discussing places on blogs/forums/websites?

Urban exploring has been around a long time, but it was always a hidden, secretive thing. People didn’t have digital cameras to document everything with, nor did they have websites to share their experiences in. They didn’t have magazines to write to, or to show them new places. It was localized. Your experiences were shared only amongst your local friends, and you explored local places.

That’s all changed thanks to digital technology and internet. With the popularity of magazines like Weird NJ, urban exploration has become more fashionable and cool. There’s a downside. That information can be read by anyone, anywhere, and you can’t control what they do with it. Were there kids cruising midgetville before the Weird NJ article? Of course, that’s why they wrote about it to begin with. People told them what they had seen or experienced. But once that article hit, people started coming to midgetville from as far away as Pennsylvania hoping to see midgets. Also consider the Dutch church, which was torched mere weeks after being published in Weird NJ.

Criminals destroy and vandalize. They spray graffitti. They attract attention and draw tighter security. Not to mention that they give all UE’ers a bad name. Locals don’t know the difference between the good UE who take only pictures and who wouldn’t vandalize a thing and the not a very nice persons who who go there just to be destructive. I created my original website shortly after I got hooked on WNJ & UE. I wanted to share what i had seen with those who hadn’t, and hopefully get intel on good places from people out there with similar interests. I’ve mad a lot of friends because of my website and forums, and I’m sure otger website owners have too. All well and good, but what about the sharing of info? Does it really hurt the places we love to explore?

That’s a tough question. I think it is true that the more exposure places get, the harder it is to explore. I know of a not-so-abandoned-nursing home that was profiled near my dads house. Theres really only 2 places to park, and whenever the locals see a car parked there that doesn’t belong, they call the cops, assuming that its UE’ers. Greystone is much tighter with security. So is Ancora.

I will continue to publish my adventures and explorations with photos. I will not be as casual with posting locations or directions. I had removed some pages from my site when people started getting in trouble after pics were found on their websites. I will be putting them back on in the redesign, but with less info on where they are or how to get there. I put disclaimers on the site and in the forums telling people that I provide this information for their enjoyment, but that bad behavior will make it worse for all of us. Someone said that good UE’ers “take only pictures, and leave only footprints”. Cliched, but true. I can only hope that people act appropriately. If they don’t I may have to scale back some stuff. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

What do you think?