The Other Wing
A cold mist hugged the ground as we sped towards the old asylum; even the scalding hot coffee from the gas station wasn't shaking the chill from our bones. The building stretched upward imposingly into the blue-gray mist when we arrived; I could smell the damp basements from the open car window, and I couldn't wait to get inside.
We had an objective this day - to get to the wing opposite of the one we shot just a while ago. An easy task, except for a crew of maintenance workers that operated in the central portion of the building. I had an old map of the place from the late 1800s, which showed a service tunnel that ran behind the central portion to the other wing, and it indeed still existed. It was a narrow passage and involved a good amount of head-ducking and sloshing through rotting pipe insulation that had turned to a muddy substance on the floor. A bit of raw sewage smelled like it mixed in from some unknown leak in the dark snake pit of pipes above our heads. Hot water pipes clanged and reverberated eerily through the passages. Near the center of the complex we passed a massive ventilation fan, about 9 feet in diameter; it freewheeled slowly and silently in utter blackness, pushed by natural air currents. I wasn't sure if it was motorized, and didn't stick around long in case it was.
We stepped out of the narrow passage and into a large tiled room - it was a part of the rear kitchen area that was still functioning to cook food for the homeless. Light blazed ahead, and the sounds of clashing pots and pans in the distance echoed off the smooth, sweaty walls. I really wanted to see how far in I could get without being seen, but the lure of the wards in the other wing kept me on track. Across the room was a narrow black hole of a service tunnel, blasting out the cool air, and from there another set of passages that mirrored the others led us to our destination...
This wing seemed much emptier than the other, but still had some fantastic character that the entire hospital held, although I can't quite describe it in words. The rain steadily beat down on the old windows and a myriad of drops echoed in the halls. I became less focused on photographing the place and more interested in just wandering around alone and taking everything in, perhaps due to the lack of sleep and the solemn mood slowly growing in me.