The Armory in Brooklyn

image courtesy Google Maps

“See? I walk past this every day on my way to work, and I’ve never seen any of the doors open before. I knew you wouldn’t want to miss this,” my friend says, pointing at the rusted door hanging ever so slightly open on the side of the massive, castle like armory. The three of us stand there, shivering in the cold Brooklyn night air, and glance around nervously. I’ve been living in Brooklyn for a few months now and have only done minimal urban exploration here, and nothing on this scale. I’m excited, but also a bit anxious.

We can’t see anybody watching, so we slip inside.

We make it in without any alarms going off, or even seeing any signs saying not to enter. Once inside, with the door nearly closed (but not latched), it looks like we’ve got the run of the place.

We creep along, flashlights in hand, sticking together like a proper Scooby Gang investigating some weirdness. Cavernous, echoing corridors, racks of large empty cages, and the sound of distant machinery has us on edge.

We decide to investigate the machinery, and come across a room full of enormous pipes, cranks, and catwalks. The sound is coming from somewhere inside there, but we can’t see anything moving. At this point we’ve been in here half an hour, so we figure that if somebody was going to show up and yell at us, it would have happened already, so despite finding the source of the sound to be coming from inside the building, we’re starting to feel fairly safe.

One of my compatriots all of a sudden has the idea to try out one of the light switches. Normally there’s no chance that they would work, but given the strange sounds from the machinery…

It does! With a hum and a buzz and a slightly distressing crackle, lights flare to life. The enormous interior  is illuminated like the middle of the day. I’m really regretting not bringing a camera, or at least my cell phone.

We explore as much of the ground as we can find, of which there is surprisingly little – mostly hallways, bathrooms, and more mysterious cages. Isn’t this supposed to be an armory? Then we decide to go upstairs.

The upstairs has balconies, but is for the most part empty – the huge central room takes up most of the area where a second floor would go. But what it does have, is a way onto the roof.

The roof is dominated by an enormous, arching half cylinder running the length of the building. The wind is whipping up, but there’s a curving ladder going up to the top of it, where the wind is even harsher. I’m even more regretful that I don’t have a camera with me, though to be honest I appreciate having both hands available to hold on – the wind is rough enough that it sure feels like I need the grip.

A police car roars by, sirens wailing. We take that as a cue, and head back down.

Photo is from Google Maps. The armory is in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, a bit south of Eastern Parkway.

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