Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Demolition Depot

On Saturday I took the bus up to East 125th Street to a place that's fascinated me for some time. About 6 months ago, I was coming back from LaGuardia Airport on the M60 bus and went by a store with a strange looking sign that read "Demolition Depot". At first I thought it may be a construction (or rather destruction) company. I imagined backhoes and front-loaders and items like that inside. But the shape of the building didn't seem to fit that kind of business. I went home and Googled it to find that it is a place that houses dismantled building treasures from 5 continents. It is the dream house of many a film art director, or a writer like me. This is where old New York (and every other major city for that matter) finds a home for what remains. Inside its wall are thousands of stories waiting to be told.

I went up there today on a little writing adventure. I've been working on a fiction piece and thought that a trip to Demolition Depot may help jog some kind of inspiration. It did not disappoint. It reminded me of an old, 4-story barn. The smell of the place brought a smile to my face - musty and oddly comforting. I picked up a clipboard with an inventory form just in case I found some artifact that I wanted to take back with me.

My favorite spot of all was the garden, an area out back that houses giant gates and doors and wrought-iron screens - exterior pieces that on the street we would have to admire from afar. Here I could get up close and examine their details, every twist, turn, and adornment. Gargoyles and ornamentation and stained glass windows that took my breathe away. Who lived among these items? Where did they go? What did they do? What did they learn?

I felt as if I was walking through someone's house, as if I was trespassing and wasn't supposed to be there. I just loved it so much that I couldn't turn away. I just spent hours weaving through the four floors and the garden. Taking pictures, making notes, even sitting at some of the table settings, two of which I immediately loved and wanted for my home.

The trip accomplished exactly what I had hoped. I walked away with images and ideas that will be cropping up in my writing for many months to come. I understand that material items are of little value when compared to the value of personal relationships in our lives. What I appreciate about the one of a kind items housed at Demolition Depot is that they have borne witness to extraordinary and ordinary events of the lives of thousands of people. People passed through those doors, looked out from those windows, told time by those great giant clocks that now lay in wait for some lucky new owner. A majestic treasure trove of history just waiting to be remembered and re-told.

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