In the distance a pair of excavators are feeding two industrial size rock crushers bucketfuls of red brick and loose debris ripped from the carcasses of the fallen, single-story patient cottages at the former North Jersey Developmental Center. Like some twisted Japanese food fetish porn, the massive crushing machines gobble down the debris which is constantly being shoveled into their conveyor mouths by their back-hoe masters. A cloud of brick dust rises into the air like a gassy burp, as the crushed aggregate gets regurgitated into a mountain of powder which is shit onto the backs of a line of empty dump-trucks awaiting their fill. Amongst the chaos of the demolition, I dart unnoticed across the active construction site and run straight toward the loading dock at the largest building on campus. Frantically, I randomly pull at doors, but nothing budges and the windows are all boarded closed. But just ahead, I noticed that the receiving doors seemed to be poorly secured, and with a one, two, three pull tug job, they unexpectedly blast open on the third yank.
Immediately, that dank smell of abandonment; a putrid yet satisfying concoction of mold, feral cat-piss, and saturated drop-ceiling fills my nostrils and sweeps the shit eating grin clear off my face. I enter into the stank and pull the doors closed again behind me. Years ago when I got caught on this very property snooping around like a dork, the security guard and I somehow managed to shoot the shit, which was a far better outcome than him alerting the State Po-Po who live within a small pigsty just across the road from the shuttered hospital. I'll never forget when the guard mentioned, "Yea there's an old morgue in that building right across from the loading dock. I used to sneak in there during my rounds before the State boarded the buildings up." "Oh really, what's a morgue?" I responded, playing dumb. "It's a freezer where they stored the dead patients" he answered. "You mind if I try to get in there?", I half jokingly asked of the guard. "NO!, no one is allowed in the buildings and you better get outta here, you know you're trespassing"! The guard uttered back in a tone of annoyance. I seemed to have pushed his buttons too far.