Archive for the ‘West Milford’ 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.

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Abandoned pickup truck

I have visited the jet in the woods well over a dozen times and not once did I have a clue that only 500 feet away lay this abandoned pickup truck. I stumbled onto it when trying to visit the jet recently and I got disoriented on my way. There’s not much here to see but it’s been pretty well stripped and trashed. No idea how long it’s been here, but it’s a while. Don’t ask where this is. if you already know where the jet is, take the trail north on your exit just past the small knoll. It’s real close.

Welcome IO9 and NY Scout readers!

I knew when i got up this morning that NY Scout had visited the jet in the woods because my site notifies me whenever someone else links to me. He was quite gracious enough to comment about my site a few times in his post (which I appreciate, as opposed to him just saying this is cool!). When I came home form work i went to IO9 and saw they had linked to Scout’s page and it seems we’re both getting a lot of traffic as a result. Today marks the best day I’ve ever had in terms of hits. I average about 10-15,000 page hits a month, or about the same as the Cheetos website. I think that’s pretty cool since I this is an obscure hobby which I do not promote outside of the community, I do not advertise for, nor do I advertise on. Today I got almost 3,000 hits and the day isn’t over. To make it easier, here’s a link to the most relevant pages about the jet in the woods since that’s what most people want to see today.

This is the main original post, notable for the heated debate over what kind of plane it was. A fan and fellow geocacher named Ian helped ID the plane after finding markings under the wing. This settled the debate.. I am friends with local Bergen Record reporter Bill Ervolino and he wanted a weird neat local story, so I took him to the jet which he wrote an article about. I later discovered that someone had cut a piece of the jet out presumably for scrap metal.

My favorite post is this one Ian Rothesberger, a conestant on Survivor was interested in creating a tv show about urban exploration and need some subject material for the pilot episode. He had heard about the jet but did not know its location, so I showed him. He eventually interviewed Ian and myself (the other Ian, the one who ID’d the plane) for the pilot episode. They are still shopping it around to the networks as far as I know. It was a fun, muddy day. If anyone has questions, feel free to ask, but don’t ask me for directions. I’m loathe to give them and in this case I flat out will refuse. After seeing how someone carving a piece out of the jet I refuse to take any more chances, so no directions. Any such requests will not even merit a response from me.

Someone has cut a hole in the fuselage of the jet in the woods

I have covered the jet in the woods several times here on my blog. It generated quite a debate over what kind of plane it was until a local geocacher located the model # on the wing. I visit periodically and the last time was about a year ago when I went showed it to Bergen Record Columnist Bill Ervolino I visited the jet in the woods today and was shocked when I realized that someone had cut a piece of the fuselage out with a sawzall. This was the jet 5 years ago.

Here it is today.

I brought a friend with me and he commented that the jet might not be there given the rise in value of scrap metal. He told me the airplane was made from aluminum and that it wouldn’t be too hard to cut off pieces of it. I laughed at the idea commenting “even the military felt it was too much of a pain in the ass to remove it from these woods. How would anyone possibly do that now?” I guess if you have a sawzall you can cut it down to size and then it’s easy to remove….

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.

I take a Bergen Record reporter to the jet in the woods

A few weeks ago, a local Bergen Record columnist asked me if I knew of anything abandoned and cool. Naww… don’t know nothing like that…. I immediately thought of the jet in the woods, and today the article came out No pics on the website though.

Here’s a few posts on my blog about the jet:

Original post

Jet is finally positively ID’d

Even more info

me + survivor runner up + plane expert + mud + crashed military jet = tv show pilot

I was contacted several weeks ago by a man asking where the jet in the woods was. After a series of emails he explained that he was producing a pilot for a tv show called Abandoned America. Ian Rosenberger, (3rd place finisher on Survivor Palua) was to be the host and they were looking for interesting local things to shoot for the pilot. They thought the jet in West Milford might be a good choice. I volunteered to take him on a scouting trip to the jet, which we did a week later.

After several weeks of discussion, investigation and general paranoia that I wouldn’t be prepared, we went to the site yesterday to shoot the video. I brought in Ian Hopkins, who settled the debate over what kind of plane it was when he found a stamp of the model on the inside of the wing. He was far more knowledgeable about aircraft then I was, so it was logical to bring him on board. As the “historian” and “local expert” for the segment, I knew I needed to nail down more information. I knew the basics of the incident, but had very little hard data. I managed to track down a local resident who had interviewed a police officer who was on scene the day the jet crashed and obtained a copy of the interview.

The film shoot was to happen at 11am Sunday but for a variety of reasons, including lack of a car, I arrived at 1pm. I met Ian Hopkins for the first time and was introduced to the film crew and to the host Ian Rosenberger. He is 6 foot 8, skinny, and generally likeable. Did I mention he’s a jolly green giant of a man? I recalled how I liked him a lot on Survivor Vanuata, but decided not to pester him with questions about the show and his experience. We were there to film a video of a crashed jet, not an episode of the Survivor fan club.

What amazed me was Ian was wearing flip-flops. I had warned the film crew that the area gets very very muddy during the summer and it had rained a fair amount in the previous days and so it would be worse then normal. I advised wearing boots and bringing a change of footwear, socks and maybe even pants. So was he a non-believer or did he not get the message? or did he just not care? Regardless, I knew he was in for a muddy icky ucky trip…

We filmed an intro bit at a rock wall just inside the trailhead. After getting rid of some jitters and wondering how to look, where to look, and trying not to smile like a geek we got into the shoot. There were a lot of people there. Besides the three of us, there were three film guys, a sound guy, a director and two producers, as well as one of the producers girlfriend. I had been clued in only the day before that a family of bears lives about 200 yards away from the crash site. Luckily if they hear you making noise, they were give you a wide berth as they want no part of you, so I was confident that a dozen people trekking thru the woods with camera gear would make more then enough noise to keep them away… now as for the poisonous snakes that live here, that’s another story.

After the intro shoot we trekking down the hill and thru the boulder field towards the jet, which is about a 7-9 minute walk from the trailhead. The best time to view the jet is in winter because a) it’s not muddy and b) there’s little folliage so you can find the jet easily. In the summer you can be 75 feet away and not see it. I actually got a little disoriented by the dense brush but if you know where to go, it’s pretty hard to miss it.

When we got close I could see this was the worst I’d ever seen the mud. Several time I was in the mud halfway to my knees. Ian’s feet were a mess from the start and after about 5 minutes he gave up and ditched his flip-flops entirely and just went barefoot. Considering there’s snakes, ticks and pieces of metal from the aircraft around, this was not the best move, but he got by ok. Below is a picture of us afterwards. You can see Ian’s feet and they’re a mess even after he washed them off. He was covered with a layer of mud most of the time.

Here’s what my pants looked like when i got home. I sank half way to my knees in spots, but got mud all the way up to my knees. I also had muddy hands and arms and it took a lot of scrubbing to get the mud from under my fingernails…

We spent about 2 hours shooting video and eventually it was all over. The original idea was that they would film an entire pilot episode, featuring the jet, Bannerman Castle and North Brother Island. The entire episode would be shown to the networks to see if they wanted to pick it up as a full series. Now it appears as if they are going to pitch the series solely based on the jet. THANKS GUYS! NO PRESSURE! NOPE, I DON”T FEEL AT ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCCESS (OR NOT) OF YOUR TV SHOW!

They will be doing all the graphics and voice overs and editing and hope to be pitching it by early July with an answer very quickly. I do not know if the show gets green lit if this will be used, re-shot or not used at all. obviously I’d like to see it used, but even if it doesn’t, this was a fun experience. I will be given a copy of the finished product and (with their permission) will post the video on this site.

Oh,… as for the true story of the jet crash… I’m going to remain silent on that and wait till I have the video to post.

There’s more photos over on Flicker