Old Stuff

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Old and nearly gone

I’m a big fan of old stuff. Not just any old stuff or stuff that clutters up the top kitchen drawer next to the utensils. Not just the stuff that’s been in the attic or basement, unseen for years. Old rusty stuff is even better. But this doesn’t apply to everything. Like dishes, glassware, utensils. Just no. But things like Vehicles, machinery, tools and basically anything that can rust. I’m a sucker for that stuff.

But there’s a catch, it can’t be anything from the 60’s and up. That’s when things started to lose their personality and had that whiff of corporate feet. So if it’s from the early 20th century (and we say that like it was eon’s ago when it’s only been 20 years since we entered the 21st), like the 10’s through the early 50’s, you’ve got my attention.

Architecture is something completely different all the time…. no… wait…. I have no respect for architecture of the 60’s to now. None. It’s bland, always shiny, square or rectangular, sterile, institutional and just plain boring. New architecture says to me “Run. Run as fast and as far away as you can, or we’ll put you in a cubicle and pile massive amounts of paperwork on top of you and threaten you with unemployment if it’s not done by the end of the day”.

As I ride my bike or the Harley around and I see old architecture, something pre-1960, it says “Look at me, wonder about me and my time, long for me and my days. Be curious”.

Be it an old house or a business, factory, state building, mansion, whatever. Old architecture just has more class than any building built since 1960. They are representative of a more innocent time, a proud time, a time when style and appearance was a sign of grace and polite. They are symbols of achievement and success.

Are there exceptions… eh…. I don’t know. Are some modern, current day buildings classy and have a cool factor? I don’t know, maybe, but any I have seen just wreak of “work”.

The building in the picture above is what remains of the Standard Nipple Works Factory in Garwood, NJ. I’ve passed this building a thousand times. I even had the pleasure of renting space in another part of this building in the 80’s as a rehearsal space for my band. Despite being transit past this structure so many times, I never really noticed it until the property was sold and demolition of the whole factory took place to make room for condo’s. What is pictured above is all that remains of the brick and mortar factory.

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The Aeolian Comany, 1910

The building began as The Aeolian Company where they manufactured Piano’s, organ’s and phonographs up until 1924.  It went through some changes over the years, including the addition of some hideous vinyl windows as shown, but eventually wound up a pile of bricks and rubble.

What is to become of this facade is anyone’s guess. It is rumored that it will remain and become part of the new development proposed around it.  That’s a shame.

So the next time you’re out on your bicycle or motorcycle, take note of the old architecture that helped build your community and your country. Take a picture, help preserve that past.


POST UPDATE

On Wednesday, July 3rd, a portion of an attached factory section of the building collapsed into the street, taking down power lines in the process. As a result of this incident, authorities thought it best to have the entire structure, including what is pictured in this blog, torn down amid safety concerns.

Sadly, another case and victim of poor planning and afterthought engineering, good job knuckleheads. So much for preserving history.

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