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The Burning of Pleasure
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We at YesButNoButYes love to live on the edge. Just ask Johnny about the time he went to Thailand and had a drinking contest with a tattooed lady. Of course, this was right before he went skydiving naked (also, coincidentally, with the Thai tattooed woman.) And for those of you not willing to risk VD or parachute malfunctions, there's urban exploration, which involves venturing into deserted man-made structures.

I grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, and spent most of my childhood exploring my neighborhood. Little did I know there was an honest-to-god Ghost Town steps away from my house. Tell me this wouldn't have been a 10 year-old adventurer's dream - a deserted town on a spit of ocean front land which was once a great vacation spot similar to Coney Island. The problem is, you can't access it. Not by roads. The bridge burnt down almost 15 years ago. I had no idea this place existed, but luckily "Keeter" sent me his pictures and stories in an e-mail.

CIMG0095.jpgSaturday mornings were spent exploring with my father. Leaving my mother to sleep in, he'd pile my twin brother and I into the car and take us into the bowels of Bridgeport. Often, we'd end up on the docks watching cranes unload produce from cargo ships in the shadow of the Bridgeport train station which had burned down years earlier. Even at a young age, the station's rotting husk haunted me with the idea that all was not well in this town. While my father's main motivation was to give my mother some peace and quiet, I think he wanted to expose us to the darker side of life. It wasn't all yacht clubs and golf courses. There was a danger and an evil in the world, and Bridgeport was the pure representation of that.

Bridgeport has always been a scar on the face of Connecticut. It went bankrupt in the early 90s, was home to one of the worst housing projects in the country, and it's tallest structure is a red and white smokestack that coughs out an almost constant stream of soot. And while I was exposed to all this early on, I rarely ventured into the town after the age of ten, despite growing up in the town adjacent to it. And because of this absence, I missed the beauty in Bridgeport's urban decay.

CIMG0055.jpgI'd heard the name "Pleasure Beach" tossed around over the years, but never thought much about it. I knew it was in Bridgeport, but never took the time to place it on a map. The story behind Pleasure Beach is pretty interesting. From the Wikipedia Article on Pleasure Beach:
The Town of Stratford owns 45 cottages on the Long Beach portion of the peninsula. For a decade, the town considered ending the leases of the seasonal homes, in part because of difficulties in protecting them. The town ended renewal of leases, and in May 2007, the remaining occupants agreed to give up their claims and moved their possessions away by barge. The cottages are now open to the weather and vandals, which has led to the town closing access and making it illegal to trespass and violators risk arrest.

As of July 2008, three of the 45 cottages have suffered arson attacks and burned completely, and every building located on Pleasure Beach has suffered vandalism. Four vehicles have been removed, and the area is littered with trash from squatters and party-goers. The mayor of Stratford is working to clean the land and possible transactions exist to sell the Long Beach land to the Department of Environmental Conservation or to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
To check out more photos of Connecticut's newest Ghost Town, check out Keeter's Photobucket.

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3 Comments

Coming soon to fine booksellers everywhere, Johnny Wright's "Adventures with The Tattooed Lady." Watch your back Dan Brown.

said Johnny Wright on July 20, 2009 1:03 PM.

Incidentally, the pics were taken with the 3.2mp camera on a Palm Pre.

said Keeter on July 20, 2009 1:21 PM.

never knew this existed. We should visit it via seadoo next month.

said Mr. Brightside on July 21, 2009 12:03 PM.
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