House of Cards
We paddled our kayak against the swirling currents of the Hudson River in early April, a time when the water is still ice cold and no one was watching except for the deer foraging along the desolate rail line nearby. Perched on the rocky island before us was arguably New York's most spectacular ruin, Bannerman's Arsenal, crumbling away brick by brick for over fifty long years.
After circumnavigating the dilapidated bulkheads and other structures sunken in the shallows, we disembarked and dragged our vessel into the overgrowth. The beginnings of new developments on the island were evident, such as the clearing of land and removal of the vines which strangled these old buildings. It was apparent that some organization was starting to work on sprucing the place up, and it wouldn't take much to lock down this small island, so we began to wander aimlessly around the broken buildings for one last time at our own leisure.
There is an oddness about the whole place. Behind the breathtaking facades there is nothing but an empty void, making them appear more like a movie set or amusement park construction upon closer inspection; designed to look impressive, they hold nothing of the sorts beyond their veneer. Surely this was the case when they were in use, as these "castles" were simply munitions warehouses, but the mind presumes the existence of spiral staircases and grand dining halls when confronted with such an image. I have even read that the structures were built to be slightly larger at the top, to appear more taller and imposing. Despite the emptiness and mimicry, my neck grew sore from looking up at the colossal feat of masonry around me in amazement.