The first of many stories I will end up sharing, because as I continue to explore, I have found myself forgetting important details of these long days and nights.
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Similar to many of the nights I spend out and about in New York City, it began with the long uphill walk from my apartment to the D line train station on Fordham Road. After a successful fare evasion, I caught a southbound train heading towards manhattan. At 125th street, my good friend Undetected hopped on board with me (surprisingly on time). We made it to lower east side around 10pm where Lightfeet was waiting. The next train wasn't coming for a good 10 minutes, so we pulled open a door at the end of the Delancey street platform and explored the strange unused section briefly.
By the time we got to Brooklyn, it was pushing midnight and we really wanted to get going. Tonights goal, was Brooklyn Technical High School. And while the roof of the school alone was pretty cool, our main motivation to get up there was the 465 foot radio tower on top, that boosted the schools height to a dizzying 597 feet. About two weeks before, I had spotted scaffolding around the school, and immediately reached out to some friends asking them if they were interested. While a few were, nobody was as excited as Lightfeet, and we quickly made plans to go for it. The only option besides going up the scaffolding was to get inside the school, and upon talking to friends that attend Brooklyn Tech, this seemed unlikely.
When we reached the base of the building and had a look around, we noted three small problems.
1. There was a hospital directly across the street with several police cars parked out front.
2. Each corner of the building had an entrance and lobby with a policeman hanging out inside, seemingly to keep watch.
3. The scaffolding we planned to use as our way up, started on the second floor and had walls preventing an easy climb up.
Despite all this, we felt that this scaffolding was not going to be around long, and we devised a plan. Undetected offered to look out while we climbed the scaffolding, as he didn't bring his camera gear, and had plans to go see his girlfriend later. So, Lightfeet and I set out to a tree that rested up against the scaffolding, and 1-by-1 scaled it up to just above the wall. Then, using a large branch, we pulled ourselves across to the scaffolding and dropped onto it. With a quick glance both ways, and a wave to Undetected we felt that nobody had seen us, and proceeded to the stairs. As quietly as possible, we ascended the stairs. Unfortunately, being quiet on a set of rusty metal scaffolding is impossible. So after a few hundred squeaks, bangs, and clangs we ended up next to the wire-mesh enclosed gymnasium that sits on the schools roof. Using the wire-mesh as a ladder to reach the upper level of the roof, we reached a final set of stairs up to the base of the antenna.
As soon as we got to the base of the antenna, Lightfeet opened his phone to a bunch of missed calls. Luckily, they were not Undetected telling us that we had cops to deal with. But, the call was important, so I let him take it, and began to climb up the antenna alone.
While I was climbing I noticed two things...
1. The antenna was prone to moving a lot in the wind
2. It was quite windy that night
Despite the wind, I climbed up quickly and began to take long exposures as best I could while hundreds of feet in the air on top of a skinny, rusty radio antenna.
The higher I got on the antenna, the more it was moving, and the exposures I took had to be shorter. I had never been on such a sketchy structure at night, and knowing that there were a handful of police below me having a chat was a bit worrying.
Despite this, Lightfeet soon joined me near the top of the structure and I attempted to get some photographs of him before switching positions and posing for him.
About 50 feet from the top of the radio tower, it gets extremely radioactive, and tons of little antenna's stick out of the metal (similar to the one's in the photo below), getting in the way of the ladder. After a short discussion we decided that was where we drew the line, and that the platform we were stopped at was effectively the top, unless we wanted a third testicle.
Another thing to note when you are 500+ feet up on a radio tower is that it gets pretty cold, even on a rather warm night. The wind was not helping us stay any warmer, and after a good 15-20 minutes at the top platform we decided that we should make our way down.
I led the way back down to even ground and decided to get a shot of my feet on the ladder (cringe away lol). The reason that I even share this shot is because it clearly shows the wind was pretty strong this particular night.
To wrap things up, our exit was smooth and without issue. Lightfeet and I parted our ways after the classic fist bump that comes after a solid climb. This was one of the first times we had done something just the two of us and I think we were both pleased with the result.
The Brooklyn Technical High School radio antenna was one of the main goals I had for exploration in Brooklyn. I figured sharing this story can act as proof that checking spots frequently and waiting for the perfect moment can really pay off. I also want to be able to look back at this one day and remember some of the finer details of what some would call a stupid ass idea.