Archive for the ‘Places I want to go’ Category

Waterloo village to reopen?

After a shutdown in 2006, Waterloo Village seems set for a reopening. The state has allocated some money to repair some of the buildings, although considering how Chris Christie has been swinging the budget ax, who knows if that will actually materialize or continue.

Exploring an abandoned Navel park in Japan

And yes it’s spelled Navel

Abandoned surburb in California…

This sounds like a cool place to visit. That and the Honda Test track, though that sounds a bit more well guarded.

I’m adding this to my list of places to visit

Abandoned theme park in Japan

I think there’s a vacation in Cincinatti in my future….

Apparently there’s a really neat abandoned subway system in Cincinatti….

lots of underground to explore in Naples…

and the underground is easily accessible…

//marks off Naples on my list of places to visit.

A garbage Museum? in Conn?

I am so there

Hashima Island

If you aren’t watching Life After People on the History Channel, you should. The series is based on the best selling book by Alan Weisman The World Without Us, which examines what would happen if humans just vanished from the earth. It doesn’t ask how we might vanish, that ground has been covered by innumerable books, movies and tv shows. It asks what would become of our roads, bridges and buildings, our homes, museums, and the creative works we’ve created such as books and and art? It is a fascinating book and an equally fascinating series.

In it’s premiere episode, the series examined two places that have been abandoned for years: the area around Chernobyl and a mining island called Hasima Island off the coast of Japan. Known as a Ghost Island it was a source of coal for local residents before a mining operation was established. At it’s peak there were almost 1000 people per hectare living on the island, making it the most densely populated place on Earth.

I won’t re-invent the wheel by writing more here. Follow the link above or watch this video. Hashima Island is an urban explorers wet dream, and is place I would love to visit to document for myself…

take a tour of a cold war relic in the Florida Everglades

Tours of old Nike bases now being offered

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK – At the height of the Cold War, anti-aircraft missiles stood at the ready here in Florida’s swamplands, protecting the South from a potential Soviet nuclear bomber attack launched from Cuba. For almost two decades, beginning shortly after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the HM-69 Nike Hercules Missile Site was manned by about 100 military personnel, one of the last lines of defense if the unthinkable happened. When it closed in 1979, the park took control of the site.

Now the site is undergoing a rebirth of sorts as a public exhibit, drawing the curious who want to see the Cold War relic along with those who stumble upon it while visiting Everglades National Park. With a $10 Everglades admission fee and a phone call to park officials, tourists can join the hour-long driving tour of the Nike site, which was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. Although the missiles were dismantled and removed, visitors can see the site’s administration building, the tiny missile assembly shed, the missile barns and protective berms. Tours continue through March, during the park’s peak season.Sites like this sprung up during the Cold War to defend U.S. cities from attack and send the Soviets a message of strength. The missiles in South Florida were certainly not hidden — at 41 feet (12.5 meters) tall, anyone could see them. While some Nike missiles were nuclear-tipped, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis said the weapons at the Everglades site probably weren’t.

“You could just drive down the road and see them setting out there,” said Bobby Jones, who was transferred to the site in 1965, when it was still a temporary operation. “The missiles were setting on trailers. … everything was mobile. We could move within an hour. The radar and everything.” Jones repaired diesel generators used to power the site, including its radar system and missile launchers. He remembers the wild birds and alligators that he shared the land with, and the porous ground that the site was built upon. “I had never seen anything like South Florida before in my life,” said Jones, who was from Missouri. “It was all really new to me. And I was fascinated with the wildlife there.”

Park officials said interest has been high in the landmark, which takes on a greater relevance this year, the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. They have already added an extra day to the tour schedule. “I think certainly in this community, what people focus on is how things were doing the Cuban Missile Crisis. And a lot of our demographics are interested in the history of our dealings with Cuba,” said Melissa Memory, chief of cultural resources at the park. “But I think in the broader preservation community, Cold War historic assets, our appreciation for them is evolving.”

Because the site was placed inside a national park, it has survived urban expansion and is now well-preserved, said volunteer tour guide Gregg Halpin. Other Nike sites scattered around the United States, strategically placed near cities, have disappeared. As the threat of a Soviet attack faded, many of the sites (after the missiles were removed) were integrated into urban communities as parks or business centers. In Arlington Heights, Illinois, a former Nike base is now an 18-hole golf course. A New Jersey town proposed converting its former base into a commuter parking lot in December. And part of an old site in Gardner, Kansas, has been converted into Nike Elementary School. The school’s nickname: the Missiles.

The Nike site tucked away in the Everglades was not the only one in Florida. The former launch area of the Nike Hercules Site HM in Opa-Locka, just north of Miami, is now a National Guard reservation. Another site in Miami has become an Immigration and Naturalization Service facility. The Everglades site is now searching for information, historic replicas and artifacts used at the facility during the Cold War to include in the tour. Park officials are also working to spruce up areas that have not yet been open to the public because of health and safety concerns, and are conducting interviews with former military personnel who were stationed here.

“We can go on the Internet and other research is available to us, so we know who built (it) and when it was built,” Halpin said. “But we need those personal stories to make it a connection with the people, so the people will want to come here and see what it was all about.”

College campus is home to 7.5M books, will eventually house 32M books

all those books reside in Forrestal campus near Princeton

The first thing that hits you is the sheer enormity of it: thousands of books packed on shelves that stretch on for so long they end in a blur. These shelves march on and on in uniform rows. And then you look up, and realize these stacks climb three stories high. This is a real-world place, but it can feel like you’ve stepped into Alice’s Wonderland. The Research Collections and Preservation Consortium, or ReCAP, is an astonishingly huge offsite library facility, the largest of its kind in the country, located on Forrestal Campus, in Middlesex County, near Princeton. It holds 7.5 million volumes, overflow from the shelves of Princeton and Columbia Universities and the New York Public Library. Every day, an average of 3,000 more books are dropped off. Eventually, the 85,000-square-foot facility will triple in size, to absorb a staggering 33 million books and media items.

“This is something new in the last 10 years, for libraries to think this way, to store their materials away from the public,” said executive director Eileen Henthorne, during a tour of the 30-foot high shelves in the huge refrigerated warehouse that first opened in 2002. Four forklifts beeped and whirred as their operators retrieved requests of bound volumes or other archival materials, microfilm, audio and videotapes, maps and posters. In a few cases, portions of books would be electronically scanned and e-mailed to patrons. But most users want to thumb through the authentic article. ReCAP will deliver about 24,000 volumes this year to the college campus or city library, all within 24 hours of a request, by daily shuttle.

Little known outside library circles, ReCAP is not a browsable library, and is not open to the public. Henthorne has received professionals from England, Australia and Taiwan who come to see how a high-density storage facility for low-use books can free up limited space and preserve assets. The facility is funded through a consortium of Princeton University, Columbia University and the New York Public Library. It is how the New York Public Library can move forward with plans for a major transformation of its facility at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, where it plans new reading rooms. Materials from the central stacks will be carted away to ReCAP and another storage facility.

Three million of Columbia University’s 10 million volumes now reside in Plainsboro, said ReCAP coordinator Zack Lane. “There is a general shift in libraries to repurpose the library for study space, instead of collection of books.” “There was quite a bit of resistance before it started” said Lane. “People were afraid a book would be out of sight, out of mind.” But now every book can be accounted for and accessible; ReCAP boasts a 99.999 efficiency rating.

“Actually, we never lose an item,” Henthorne said. “If anything goes missing, everything is halted and we scramble. Because if you miss a book’s bar code, the item will be lost forever.” It helps that the people Henthorne hires to work at ReCAP share her admitted Type-A personality. For relaxation, the former project manager enjoys putting together several jigsaw puzzles at once. She looks for similar exacting personality traits in applicants, a strong sense of responsibility, and the ability to count backward, for shelving duty.

“When you get an old book, over 100 years old, you feel like you are preserving history,” said Scott Popovich, 37, of Trenton, doing a shift in the Accession and Verify department. His job on this day (the workers alternate job duties, to avoid getting bored) is to pick up books, such as “The Journal of Sub-Microscopic Cytology and Pathology,” measure it against a sizing plate to determine the kind of acid-free cardboard tray it will fit into, and scan the bar code. Many of the books he touches are written in foreign languages. They can be very old, or very rare. “In a real sense, I’m taking care of this stuff, ” he said.

With 3,000 books passing through every day, this is no place for a curious bibliophile. The workers rarely stop to take a peek. “Well, once some Playboys from the 1950s came in, and the line did slow down a little,” Henthorne said with a laugh. ReCAP’s master plan calls for 11 modules, or free-standing, interconnected storage facilities. The fifth just opened, but plans to build the next one, which will hold about 3.3 million books, have been shelved until 2011 due to the weak economy, said project manager Bob Rittenhouse of Aegis Property Group, Philadelphia.

The costs don’t end with the construction, which includes special fire walls to reduce the consequences of a disaster. To keep ReCAP at a steady 55 degrees Fahrenheit, 33 percent relative humidity, the nonprofit consortium pays PSE&G $400,000 a year. To stabilize the cost, it recently entered into an agreement with PPL Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of Pennsylvania Power and Light, to allow 5,000 solar panels be installed on the roof. “We locked into a relatively modest utility rate over next 15 years,” Rittenhouse explained.

One might wonder why universities and libraries bother to keep books at all, in this digital age. Karin Trainer, university librarian at Princeton, explained in an e-mail: “It’s a common misconception that Google is digitizing every book ever published. Intellectual property law, as well as various technical problems with page size and illustrations, mean Google’s scope is actually more limited.” So the shelving will continue at ReCAP, where conscientious caretakers are preserving treasured physical artifacts, guaranteeing their longtime survival. “I don’t think of this as a morgue at all; this is a spa for books,” said Henthorne.