Weird NJ: FORSAKEN–Abandoned in and Around New Jersey by Rusty Tagliareni (2010, Weird NJ)
One of the discoveries I made when I moved out to this part of Pennsylvania was the abandoned mental asylum not five miles from where I am now typing. I wondered down a back road one Thanksgiving with my dog to discover an abandoned city. I didn’t even know it was there. Suddenly, I felt I had walked onto the set of some post-apocalyptic move, with the mutants lurking behind the crumbling stone. I ventured over there many times over the years until the land was sold by the state to a private developer. Rusty Tagliareni has published the NJ answer to it.
Forsaken is a book of photography of abandoned structures around the state of New Jersey. The state being what it is, there’s not shortage of these locales and Rusty Tagliareni does a good job of showing them in all their faded glory. Most of the pictures are accompanied by his commentaries on the history of these structures. He supplies a lot of information on where they originated and what was the ultimate fate.
My favorite section covers “The Age Of Innocence”. These are the amusement parks, the abandoned schools, and summer camps falling apart. Gingerbread Castle, a structure designed to resemble a Grims’ fairy tale castle is especially heart-breaking. As is the Story Time Village collapsing. It’s as if you found one of your special childhood toys buried in the mud.
There’s also a section where he photographs various goth models in the surroundings of collapsing buildings. Easy on the eyes, but the contrast is shocking.
This is a beautiful book and moderately priced. You can order it by going here.
The author’s website can be found by going here.