Lost Cultures of Columbia Turnpike (Ongoing study)



Central Warehouse, Albany, NY.

The decline of the Industrial Age in America has blessed us with another form of pollution than the one we’re used to discussing. The remains from that golden time, the busted structures, falling ruins of factories, businesses covered in graffiti and shattered windows, has had a devastating effect on this city and all over the country. Manufacturers and businesses of old have crumbled and are presently rotting in our backyards. You can see them rotting all over the country, but here, in a city where industry never boomed, but was all we had, it’s a horrifying reminder of the fallen age of American Industrialism. In this ongoing study, we’ll examine the decline of this industrial age, as it pertains to its effects on this city, as well as the hieroglyphs and forgotten tombs that remain. We’ll examine what we worshipped in that long-since forgotten age and how those beliefs somehow fell out of practice.

Give a close look and see the decline of this decadent age. In this city, it only takes a CTdown the street. We’ve yet to see the birthing pains of the future, which promise to give us another age to adhere, much like the fallen industries of that forgotten time. This city, if we are to make it to that age, must pull away from that dying time. We can’t hold onto the boon of our ancestors. Their temples dedicated to the Industrial age have stood for generations, but all that they meant is long forgotten.

Industry brought on a golden age of ‘American exceptionalism’, which brought about the height of our empire. The World Wars left most of the industrialized world in disarray, leaving us as the heir to the ‘Imperialist Age’, for which we would profit. Within the past sixty years, steadily that empire has fallen apart.

Industrialism in America has disappeared; it’s fading from our lives, as well as our economy. Industrialism in America isn’t dying. It’s dead. We’ve entered the age of decline, a transitional state, before we either collapse into our dying infrastructure or create something better for the future. Still, this infrastructure is all around us. We’re surrounded by the reminders of industrialism. Massive structures that used to house hundreds of workers look out from cul de sacs around the city, but even more abandoned monuments survive around the country. They’re massive, brooding monoliths of a forgotten age, decaying into the ground, rotting between generations. We’ve grown up around these monuments to decadence. They’ve shadowed generations of Americans, who could hear the wind rustling through busted windows, shattered doorways and frames and blame ghosts, specters, forgotten souls lost in oblivion. We dared each other to enter these places, certain we’d find treasure or some accursed relic of the Ancients. Our grandparents or even great-grandparents worked in these places, but to us they’re just massive structures rotting into the backdrop of our cities. They’re all around us and although they don’t hold the same significance, still, they hold great significance.

-Why are they still here? Many relics and reminders still stand of ages passed. We make memorials for wounded soldiers from wars from which we only have stories. There’s plenty of curios of different ages that somehow remain in our time, even though they’re outmoded and serve only as a quaint reminder of a ‘simpler time’. In the case of the ruins left by the Industrial Age, there’s just no feasible means to dispose of them. The industries for which they stood will never return. Even if they did, the age has passed. These buildings have been rotting for decades and will require years of reconstruction. They’ll have to be torn down and made anew, which is an expense in itself that most cities that harbor these fallen monuments can’t afford. The answer is this, nobody can afford to put these statues dedicated to industrialism out of their misery. We can’t afford to bury them in the past. Our age is the age of decline, decay, the rot of Industrialism. We’re left with the shells of foundaries and manufacturers that made this country great. In order to survive into the future, we need to tear them down and rebuild. The falling infrastructure is one of the great modern struggles, for with their furtherance there’s a fear that America will continue to cling to past idols and not attempt to make any for the future. This is the generation, where we’re stuck with the idols, not of our fathers, but our great-great grandfathers. This is the age where every generation since that time has taken cover in the shadow of these monoliths, without any benefit to their being in our way.

It seems the time of transition is our only hope for salvation, as we reach that paradigm where we either cling to the past and die with it or move into the future. Technology is changing, as well as the industries arising from this age of consumerism. The area is becoming something different from what I remember. We’re entering a time where we’re the ones creating the monoliths. I wonder, still, if this city will create some that will stand for all of time, not as a burden to future generations, but something to inspire hope and prosperity. We’ve inherited the responsibility to care for the ruins of our ancestors and what we do with them, this will come to define our future.


9 thoughts on “Lost Cultures of Columbia Turnpike (Ongoing study)

  1. Like the skeletons of dinosaurs arrayed in the world’s museums, many of our derelict modern-age ruins recall provocative glimpses into icons of Americana known throughout the land.
    From the landfall of Hendrick Hudson more than 150 years before we would become a nation, to the RCA dog and birthplace of Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer at Montgomery Ward’s (Now Riverview Center, home to Video Game producer Vicarious Visions, among others).
    From Fort Orange to Troy, the Home of Uncle Sam himself, to the Watervliet Arsenal, the longest continually operating Armory in our nation’s history, the past has a voice in these silent witnesses.
    I envision a day when tourists will visit these touchstones of American history, our own home-grown Coliseums and Parthenons.
    Thanks for a great post!

    Take care and keep in touch,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I live near Detroit, so I can identify with this piece very well. it angers me that we can spend trillions of dollars on a military, and decimate everyone in our path, which achieves nothing but profit for the war machine, and igniting the hatred by those we have disenfranchised, to an ever higher fevered pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is powerful and carries with it the struggles I see here in the heartland of this nation. Factories empty and lost idle hands not knowing where to turn to make a living wage that seems to be rocketing out of their reach.

    We are in transition and not the death rattle as long as we push each other to create, inspire to care, and leave no one behind.

    Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s