Stories featuring Shane Perez

November 2010

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November
/ USA
It's remarkable how different life is now to how it was just over a year ago. My buddy Shane and I climbed the Williamsburg Bridge once more, for him just a night out, for me as a little reminder of my trip to NYC back in 2009 and the startling realisation that came with it: there's a whole world out here, and it's not going to wait.
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Freedom no more
/ USA
The familiar feeling of returning to the overworld greeted us, climbing back out of this place and onto the streets of Manhattan. Here was a city that had lost something important, but of course nobody knew. They were too busy queueing up to pay the $20 entry fee at the Guggenheim, oblivious to the art theft beneath their feet
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Taking The Subway - Part 2
/ USA
Despite the fact that we weren't dressed as MTA staff this time it paid to be on our guard, especially when there were active platforms not so far away. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the locked doors on the platform passed directly into maintenance areas still in use.
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Taking The Subway - Part 1
/ USA
Jet-lagged and tired I rolled back into New York City aboard a shiny silver NJ Transit service. Frantically I struggled up the stairs, out of Penn Station and into the bright bustling clusterfuck that is downtown Manhattan. I breathed that city air and looked around. It was good to be back.

October 2009

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The Fifth Deadly Venom
/ USA
On arrival back in NYC and with my imminent return to Blighty drawing ever-closer, the risks of being caught trying something like this seemed lessened. Sure, I'd never be let back in to the US, but since I was going home soon anyway what would it matter if I were to be deported.
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It's cold out there every day
/ Canada
As I'm sure to write about again there's something calming and surreal about having a high rooftop to yourself and your friends on a clear night. The city continues on as it always does but now you're far removed from it, almost like an invisible observer viewing the whole show through some kind of vast skylight...
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Only in Detroit
/ USA
As I shivered and tried to draw my blanket ever-closer, Shane slept like a baby, nestled in his makeshift incubator. In all fairness he had suggested I move nearer to the center of the room but had neglected to mention the three electric heaters he'd dragged over there and fired up in preparation.
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Paint it black
/ USA
Looking up and around I contemplated the massive open space before me like the cathedral to modern manufacturing that it is. Here within these vast halls Henry Ford conceived the snaking mechanical monster that would shape industrialisation in the 20th Century, radically changing the way of life in the West.
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Welcome to The D
/ USA
In one simple yet alarming movement an arm swooped in through the open window and the keys to the van were gone. The blur of a second officer shot around behind the vehicle, coming to a stop on the other side of the window which for a good few hours now had been my pillow.
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No alarms and no surprises
/ Canada
Opting instead to shove past the barrier at the end of the platform and descend onto the line, we hurriedly completed our manoeuvre and took off down the tunnel, following the shiny rails until they veered off chaotically through complicated pointwork: this was our junction.
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The Canada Malting plant is dead
/ Canada
Standing forlorn on the Toronto Harbourfront, the old Canada Malting silos were no strangers to intruders. For the several decades after they fell into disuse countless people breached the somewhat-fortified exterior. On a bright day in October 2009 a small band of us risked our necks to clamber up and into the remains of its workings.
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Into the belly of the beast
/ Canada
A vertical ladder took me up beneath a hinged steel lid, apparently devoid of locks. Shoulder to the cool metalwork I pushed, swinging the grill upwards and then letting it fall open. Stepping upwards one last time I clambered out of the misty darkness and emerged onto the main turbine hall floor. The method had worked.
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Confluence
/ Canada
Standing near the top of Horseshoe Falls, for the time being just another tourist, I watched the waters never-ending procession with unease. A gigantic cloud of mist and a terrifying persistent rumble completed an experience like no other I can think of, but one that would later that night be completely surpassed.

September 2009

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Through the supply line
/ USA
Through the trees we could see the shape of the High Bridge. This mass of steelwork was built to ferry the old Croton Aqueduct across the river, carrying millions of gallons of water down into Manhattan from the Croton River. Long since disused, we sought a way in to investigate this curiosity.
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The Jet Lab
/ USA
Surrounded by broken fencing and barbed wire, the nature of the enclosure was clear: signs declared it a Restricted Area. And naturally photography was completely forbidden. We picked our bags from their heap on the back seat, said goodbye to Yaggy and dashed for a hole in the fence.
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The Manhattan Project
/ USA
Shoulder on the heavy hatch and a clang as it fell open. Finally a starlit sky was all that remained above, Orion and his belt watchful over the night travellers. We'd made it up to the top of the ornate bridge pylon, and since we were on the Brooklyn side we had the twinkling lights of downtown Manhattan at our disposal.
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The rotting carcass of Glenwood Powerplant
/ USA
The years have been anything but kind, and after the salvage of turbines and generators, the shell has been left to the elements. On rainy days water pours in, rotting wood and metalwork alike. The two chimneys stand tall, but for how much longer?
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A view from the bridge
/ USA
The trick was to avoid being seen by pedestrians, motorists and the police, counter the steel guards built around the cables and then negotiate the big wires themselves. The PBR took care of the first one (i.e. it removed the worry, not the risk), leaving just the second two, either of which could claim lives. Our lives.
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The audacious City Hall infiltration plot
/ USA
For the hundredth time that night Shane's laughter reverberated across the room. With Johnny Cash thundering from the jukebox as her soundtrack the vivacious barmaid, dressed in questionable attire, shimmied along the bar top in her cowboy boots deftly stepping over glasses and bottles balancing two cans of Coors on her head.
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The Hell Gate
/ USA
A rough understanding of block signalling and the fact that there were only three lines suggested there was sufficient time to reach the bridge, unless a wildcard freight decided to pass by. We ran, bottles in bags chinking together, trying not to trip on sleeper-ends and ballast, an experience not unfamiliar to at least half the group...
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Blinded by the lights
/ England, France, USA
Five-strong we waited for a gap in the pedestrian traffic on the Williamsburg Bridge, allowed the traffic running on the car deck below to die down and had a last check for cop cars. Deciding that now was a good time we clambered up onto the ironwork of the giant suspension span connecting Manhattan with Queens