Droning with Tom

I’ve been hanging out with Tom the Carpenter lately. I wrote about him awhile back when he was making his sweetheart handmade gnoochi. If you recall, this is the man who began cooking this romantic dinner by first carving a gnoochi board. Tom is pretty amazing.

A little more than a month ago Tom broke his foot at work and started going out of his mind stuck in his apartment all day. You can imagine how tortuous this is for someone used to running about creating all kinds of fascinating gadgets, not to mention biking everyday, everywhere. The first week was okay because he constructed a camera obscura over his bedroom window.

But by the second week he was full-blown batty. Since I developed serious hand/fingers cramps from typing too much, we decided it’d make us both sane if we took his drone out and explore interesting parts of the five boroughs.

Our last outing was to the abandoned New York City Farm Colony in Staten Island. The Colony was conceived as a poor house in 1829. After Staten Island became part of the city in 1898, the population swelled to more than 2,000 impoverished individuals, families and, most especially, the elderly. They lived and worked communally, cultivating orchards and fields of wheat and various vegetables. Besides several dormitories and administration buildings, the grounds incorporated a hospital, carpentry and blacksmith shops, studios to make household items, and recreational facilities. The Colony prospered by selling surplus food and handiwork until the enactment of the Social Security Act in 1935 and the implementation in 1964 of Great Society programs. As the poor began to receive help in their own communities the Colony’s population dwindled. The last residents moved out in 1975.

The Colony’s 75 acres are designated a historical site and is surrounded by a tall chain-link fence and the buildings, once sealed, are open to the elements, slowly disappearing under vines and tree saplings. Tom and I, of course, thought it was a perfect place to launch his drone.

We parked on a side street and crawled through a hole in the fence (unfortunately photos of one decrepit woman and one lame man in a walking boot were not taken). We clambered up a dirt hill to an overgrown path and found a place for Tom to launch the drone near the main administration building.

Then we sent it down to explore inside.

Next, we followed a path lined with other buildings.

We found the greenhouse!

A few buildings later I decided to go inside to see what I could find.

We wandered about to the other buildings, got separated and found each other, kicked around some smashed beer cans, met a couple of kids, almost got run over by a dirt biker, then decided to call it a day.

We thought we remembered the way back to the fence but we really didn’t. The sun light dimmed through the trees and underbrush, Tom’s foot throbbed, but we didn’t panic and finally found our way out.

Coming up next, Brooklyn’s sunken submarine, a few graveyards, and the abandoned negro league baseball stadium! Unless we do something stupid and get hurt. Or his girlfriend and my husband sees this and we’re grounded.

This link will take you to some amazing infra-ray shots Tom took. He really is a good photographer.

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