abandoned Rochester subway - The Dainty Squid

abandoned Rochester subway

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Last week Jeff, Jason, and I took a quick day trip up to Rochester, NY. It was my first time in the city, and let me tell you, we had a blast. The main destination we planned on visiting was the abandoned subway tunnel. The Rochester subway was a light rail rapid transit line that operated from 1927 to 1956. The Subway was constructed in the bed of the old Erie Canal. Most of the tracks have since been removed but it's a really incredible tunnel nonetheless.

We ventured into the West side of the tunnel first. Despite having a flashlight, and being told numerous times it was the darkest dark I'll ever set foot in, I wasn't prepared. There are basically three things I don't like in the world; birds, authority, and the dark. I was sweating bullets. I don't even know what I was afraid of but I was tense.

As we got further into the tunnel we approached the main part of it, where all the beautiful graffiti is. We peeked around a pillar to find we were less than fifteen feet away from a construction worker. We darted back into the darkness and I silently cursed under my breath about having to walk the mile back through the dark.
We took some awesome group shots with light painting in the darkest part of the tunnel before venturing out to snoop around the city. We passed some time exploring other places until it was late enough that we thought the workers would be gone. Eventually we made our way back, this time coming in another entrance directly into the graffiti (and light!!) filled area. It was GORGEOUS. There was just so much color.  We wandered around taking photos. After about twenty minutes I heard a weird noise, saw purple lights on the wall, and just about peed my pants. I had no idea what it was but we all dashed into the darkness and hid until it went past. Minutes later we figured out it was just some guy on his motorcycle, he drove it down to take photos of it. Hah! If he only knew how much he frightened me.
As soon as the sun set, the tunnel seemed to come alive. Not with homeless people as one might suspect, but with young people hanging out. I couldn't believe this place we were sneaking around and trying to be so very stealthy in was crawling with so many people. Kids drinking, smoking pot, taking photos, being SO incredibly loud. Seems like it's quite the hot spot. I can't fault them though, if this were in my city I'd mostly be there quite often as well. It's a beautiful spot.
There are talks of the city turning the tunnel into a walkway with gift shops and a museum but only time will tell if something like that will ever pan out. It would cost a lot of money up front but it does sound pretty great once you learn that it costs the city $1.2 million in repairs per year just to keep it in this condition!

Rochester, you're a real cool city.
xoxo

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21 thoughts

  1. That fish mural, though.

    I'm just in love with the exploring happening here. :)

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  2. Such a gorgeous space, that graffiti is incredible! I bet it would turn into to a cool walkway with shops and all but 1.2 is quite a bit!

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    1. 1.2million is how much it costs now to keep in this condition.

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  3. what an adventure! really nice photos :)

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  4. I want to visit these tunnels! So neat. :)

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  5. I am going to Rochester in a couple of months, I am going to look for this place

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    1. Have fun! Rochester is an awesome city. :)

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  6. Wow, there are some seriously talented street artists up in there! My favourite thing about this post is actually the light quality in the photographs. The way the light shines between those pillars onto the concrete is just beautiful!

    Owl Girl | A London lifestyle blog

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    1. Dude, right?! I wish people would come paint Cleveland like this! :)

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  7. This is AMAZING. I live an hour from Rochester and I've never really gotten to explore the city.
    xo Julia || Julia Made Simple

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  8. I used to live in Rochester in the South Wedge and happened into those tunnels once or twice with my roommates. Definitely cool and definitely dark and scary haha! It was several years ago, but I think I remember the ticket booths and a grand set of stairs that went to nowhere? I also remember nearly losing my shoe in some mud. ...at least I hope it was mud lol I couldn't see at that point. Awesome photos!

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    1. Both those things are gone now. I think the stairs were there until last year though.

      Haha! There are always random shoes in abandoned places, now I know how they got there. :P

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  9. This is incredible! I love that toad - he looks so smug, guarding the abandoned subway tunnel. :)

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  10. Sooooo much beautiful graffiti. I loooove the hawk.

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  11. This city definitely has SO much to offer in both art and history, as well as cool little 'nooks' to discover. Many Rochesterians don't even know those tunnels exist! I love my city and am so excited that you got a little taste of what it has to offer. Thanks for visiting!!! Cheers!
    P.S. I have followed your blog for a long time and LOVE all of your beautiful photos- esp. the mushrooms!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading for so long, Arica! :)

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  12. I'm from Rochester but I've never been down there.

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  13. I think it's kind of more fun that you felt like you had to sneak around and be quiet before all the people came out. Kind of adds to the adventure

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