Sunday, April 26, 2015

Inside Mussolini's secret bunker

In order to provide shelter to bureaucrats and party leaders during World War II, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini built several secret bunkers under the city of Rome. Now, many of those bunkers open to the public for the first time. 

This bunker was a 55 m (180 ft) long converted wine cellar, deep beneath Mussolini's residence, Villa Torlonia, which housed the dictator and his family from 1925 to 1943. Mussolini ordered its construction in 1940, fearing his house would become the target of an Allied bombardment. 

The bunker had 3 escape routes and was quipped with a double set of steel, gas-proof doors, and a sophisticated air filtering system that could provide oxygen for 15 people for 3-6 hours. Later, Mussolini decided to build another bunker, and then a third, which was still unfinished by the time he was arrested in 1943.



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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The ghost island of Boston

For the last three decades, Boston's Long Island has been the home of a vibrant community: the city's shelter, housing hundreds of homeless people, addicts and troubled teens. During the recent years, Boston's taxpayers and nonprofit groups have spent millions of dollars to refurbish the island's old buildings where until last October up to 700 people sought shelter and other services every day. The community thrived and its two farms were producing some 25,000 pounds of produce a year. Potatoes, parsnips, cilantro, as well as eggs and honey. 

The shelter however fell victim of America's infrastructure crisis. A bridge between the island and the city of Boston was deemed unsafe. To replace the bridge, the city would have to pay an estimated $90 million. An evacuation of the island was ordered instead. With about one-third of Boston's shelter beds for the homeless and about half the city’s detox beds based on the island, the city's social services are now in limbo.

The deserted shelter facilities now complete the scenery of abandonement on Boston's Long Island. With, long-abandoned bunkers that hid gun batteries and Nike missiles, a dusty chapel that hasn’t held services in years, a shuttered morgue, a 150-year-old cemetery, Long Islang now looks more like a ghost island.



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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kayakoy, a Greek ghost town in Turkey

Close to the Aegean resort town of Fethiye, there's an abandoned village called Kayakoy or Levissi, as Greeks used to call it. Kayakoy was built in the 18th century on the site of the ancient city of Carmylessus. After the nearby town of Fethiye (known as Makri to Greeks) was devastated by an earthquake in 1856, Kayakoy thrived. In 1900 its population was about 10,000, mostly Greek Christians who lived peacefully close to their Turkish neighbors.

It all changed though after the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922. The governments of Greece and Turkey agreed to engage in a compulsory population exchange. With the exchange, about 6,500 Greeks were deported from the area and Kayakoy was left abandoned. Today, the site of the village is a historical monument and serves as a museum. Around 500 houses remain as ruins, including two Greek Orthodox Churches, the most important sights of the ghost town. The willingness of the Turkish government to protect the village came into question recently as a plan to lease the village and open it to construction was announced. 



Monday, January 19, 2015

Photos of abandoned arcades in Arizona

Arcade games were popular in the US from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s. However, as video based game controls made the transition from 2D to 3D graphics, arcades lost their appeal for many.

Photographer Thomas Schultz documented some arcades gathering dust somewhere in Arizona. 


Note: This is the last regular post on this blog for the next several months. We will be posting once every few weeks till regular updates resume. Still, you can follow us on twitter and like us on facebook for your weekly deserted places dose. 








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Monday, January 12, 2015

Inside the abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery in New York

The Domino Sugar Refinery in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City used to be the largest sugar refinery in the world when it was constructed in 1882. Ships would deliver sugar cane from all over the world and half of US more than half of the sugar consumed in the entire country was refined in this Brooklyn factory. The business was so successful that in May 1896 tha factory's owner, American Sugar, became one of the original twelve companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The refinery's long history also includes one of the longest labor strikes in New York City's history when in 200o, 250 workers went on strike for twenty months protesting wages and working conditions.

After 148 years of operation, the refinery closed in 2004 and 225 workers were laid off. Since then, the 11-acre site has been purchased by private corporations twice in order to be redeveloped. The latest plan includes a mix of creative office space, market-rate and affordable housing, neighborhood retail, and community facilities. The demolition of the factory's structures began in fall of 2014.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

The abandoned City Hall station of New York Subway

It has been called 'one of the most beautiful subway stations in the world', but today it's one of New York subway's ghost stations. City Hall station opened in 1904 and served as the southern terminal of the "Manhattan Main Line", the subway's first line. Designed by Rafael Guastavino, it is an usually elegant station and unique among New York's first subway stations. The platform and mezzanine feature Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers.

During the following decades, New York subway saw an increase in passenger numbers which meant longer trains and longer platforms had to be used. As the City Hall station's platform was built on a tight curve, it would have been difficult to be lengthened. Moreover, City Hall was never an important station and it was close to the far busier Brooklyn Bridge station. The station closed on December 31, 1945. It served 600 passengers on that day. 

Today, the tracks going through the station are part of the turning loop which is being used by 6 trains. Passengers who remain on the trains as they go around the loop, can see the station's platform even though trains no longer stop there. Since the mid '90s there have been many ocassions when this very unique station opens to the public for tours. 


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