A few days ago I visited Tesla's lab. I'd been meaning to do this for a while. See, I'm on Long Island right now. And so is Tesla's lab. It's just convenient.
Plus, if I didn't, I'd always wish I had. So I did.
It took a bit to find. I wasn't expecting it to be well-marked, and, well, it wasn't. I found the post office and fire station (the only landmarks I had) then wandered around a bit until I found "Tesla St", which I hadn't actually been expecting. Still, it's a good indication that I was in the right place.
The lab itself was behind a rather impressive fence which, itself, was overgrown with vines. Thus a lot of these pictures won't be as impressive as they could have been. Still, there you have it - I'm pretty sure that is, in fact, Tesla's lab. Or at least, was at some point.
It's funny looking at a building this old, and that's only exaggerated when you know something about its history. What was this tower for? Was it just decoration, or did it have a purpose? Knowing Tesla, maybe it was a prototype ray gun. (You never know.) Now . . . well, now it's just metal and bricks.
Whoever owns the land now clearly doesn't want anyone walking on it. I'm told there's more than one group trying to get the lab declared a historical building - maybe someday they'll have tours and such in it. They'll have a lot of restoring to do first . . . a whole lot.
Here's where things started getting a bit weird. That building definitely isn't Tesla-era. It's not even close. And yet it's right next to the building that I thought was the lab, and inside the same fence.
Tesla didn't have truck loading docks.
Or rusty mufflers, for that matter.
It's worth mentioning it was about noon on Monday. There was no receiving going on - the place was dead-empty. And, I dunno, but I find it really hard to believe that anyone would refer to Tesla's lab as a "plant" . . . or that it would need scheduled receiving hours . . . or, for that matter, that anyone would have used that particular font.
For that matter, I also find it a bit questionable that Tesla had a modern bikerack. (Actually, I still don't have a good explanation for the bikerack.) But it looked like the right building. So what had happened? What *was* the history of this place?
You probably can't see this too well - who am I kidding, I was there and I couldn't see it that well. As near as I could tell, it was a circle of concrete . . . just randomly, in the middle of the area, with no reason for it to be there. Why? No idea. Maybe it was the Wardenclyffe tower site. Maybe it wasn't.
The gate wasn't exactly a marvel of security. I briefly considered pushing the branches out of the way and just climbing through, but decided against it . . . it was, after all, noon, and this entire thing was next to a rather busy street. I can only wonder what the people driving by thought I was doing. Note that we're now facing south - the previous pictures were mostly facing east, except the pictures of the loading dock which were also south.
Further down - still inside the neverending fence - there was a house. A perfectly normal white house. Why? It wasn't industrial-looking. I can't imagine anyone lived here after the changes . . . was it Tesla's house?
The windows were in lousy shape.
The steel plate on the door wasn't.
"Please Use Rear Entrance". Maybe it *was* used by whoever was here after Tesla.
I don't have a clue what this building was for. It was basically a concrete rectangle.
Up to this point, I was able to just follow along on a sidewalk. Unfortunately, at this point, the sidewalk kept going forward and the fence didn't. There was about a hundred feet of dense Long Island jungle between the fence and where the sidewalk finally did turn. I walked down to the sidewalk and realized there was no way I could get any good pictures.
So I trooped straight into the trees. Now we're facing west, incidentally.
Fences within fences! Was this part of the same complex? Was it completely different? Why did they feel obligated to put opaque fencing over this part, while transparent fencing was fine for the rest?
Not like the opaque fencing helped that much (although I did end up with a blurrier picture.) But, I'm sorry folks, this isn't a 1920 building. This is a modern factory. I mean, look, there's even a standard forklift pallet there.
And yet, this is a part of the same facility - same fence enclosing and all. (By this time I'd gone past the opaque-fence section.) I didn't get a shot of the "___ Days Without An Accident" sign (for reasons I'll explain soon), but there was one.
About this point I realized I was moving down towards what looked like a parking lot attendant station, and - lo and behold - there was a car there. A newish car. I figured it wouldn't be the best plan to be caught wandering through woods next to a bunch of "No Trespassing" signs, so I took the opportunity to make a right-angle turn and crash out of the woods, then come in through the driveway that led to the parking lot attendant station.
There's the car - there's a rather new American flag on the fence.
At this point the car door opened and a policeman got out. Even I'm not dumb enough to take pictures of a policeman getting out of his car, so that's why I don't have any pictures from this point on. He was very friendly and clearly had at least some idea that I'd been wandering around photographing the area, but I decided that it would be best for all parties concerned if I didn't bring it up, and he seemed to have come to the same conclusion.
He did tell me a bit about the history of the area. Yes, apparently those pics up there are, indeed, of Tesla's lab. After Tesla died it was bought up by a photo processing company, and that's what all the relatively new construction was. They used Tesla's lab as an administrative building (sacrilege!) and built up all the rest.
Eventually, they went out of business, and got bought up by another company that was thinking of using the space for their own industrial purposes. Unfortunately they found some levels of contaminants - mercury and the other stuff they use in photo labs (neither the cop nor I knew what that would be, though the cop kind of tried to shove the words "silver", "ammonia", and "nitrate" together a few times in various orders before giving up) and so needed cleanup. Which they did, but the land apparently wasn't valuable enough to do the cleanup they needed to make it usable. So they didn't.
And then *they* got bought out by someone else, who realized that new zoning for industrial stuff would be pricey since the area had gotten higher-class lately, and so decided they might want to turn it into residential area . . . only that would take even more cleanup from the remaining contaminants. As in, a few million dollars of cleanup.
And so that's where it stands. The area isn't really usable, and nobody cares enough to make it historical in any way. Plus, you'd have to get rid of the newer buildings and spend a lot of money restoring it . . . and there's really nothing Tesla-related in the area anymore, since the building was gutted once they moved it over to administrative purposes.
It's kind of sad. Tesla's totally forgotten, except by very few. But there you have it. Tesla's lab.