February 16, 2003

The Midnight Society is a great "weird New Jersey"/"abandoned places" site I stumbled across while looking for information on the long-gone Jamesway superstores of the '80s. (Couldn't find much on Jamesway, but my Google search did yield an entry on this abandoned Lakewood motel.)

The Midnight Society also pays tribute to a staple of my childhood and a source of much of my Jersey envy, Larison's Turkey Farm (which closed up shop a few years ago but seems to have reopened, if their home page is to be believed) and its scary wooden Indians and taxidermied bears. My parents and I drove to Larison's one recent Thanksgiving (looking forward to their outrageously generous turkey dinners), and when I saw the restaurant boarded up and the parking lot empty, I almost cried. If it's indeed open again, maybe this Thanksgiving will be different.

Speaking of abandoned/dying buildings... I found the building from the dream I told you about last month. It's hardly abandoned or dying though -- it's the Times Square Marriott Marquis and it's one of the swankiest hotels in New York City. I used to go there and hang out when I was a teenager (you can do that -- ride the glass elevators up to the top and eat in the revolving restaurant, or stroll the concourse in the eighth-floor "lobby," or have a $20 drink at the hotel bar). It is a little dated-looking, which is not to say it's dilapidated -- just that it looks so Dynasty-'80s. But when I walked in there yesterday to use the restroom after the big protest, I was really overwhelmed by how similar the hotel's structure was to the cavernous skyscraper I dreamed about: the very dim lighting, the banks of escalators going up up up, the endless space in the center with the suites off to all four sides, the long rows of plain, anonymous-looking doors hidden away on the upper floors. So the dream-building was some pastiche of the Marriott Marquis, the sadsack Portland Galleria deadmall (where I took my LSAT class when I lived out there), and the old, grim midtown offices I've worked in and visited over the years. Now I know.