There are few things more appealing than abandoned, secret worlds. They are so intriguing and what a wonder it must be to travel back in time simply by entering a room or place that has been shut off, untouched for years.
I know of two abandonded places that were rediscovered this year. Both revealed treasures of time past and incredible artwork. Discoveries like these are amazing.
For 70 years a Parisian apartment had been left uninhabited. The rent faithfully paid but the apartment was unoccupied. The woman who owned the flat had left for the south of France before the Second World War and never returned.
When she died at aged 91, the flat near the Trinité church in Paris between the Pigalle red light district and Opera was opened to art experts to inventory and price articles of value for auction. Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat was like stumbling back in time.
“There was a smell of old dust,” said Olivier Choppin-Janvry. Walking under high wooden ceilings, past an old wood stove and stone sink in the kitchen, he spotted a stuffed ostrich and a Mickey Mouse toy dating from before the war, as well as an exquisite dressing table.
But he said his heart missed a beat when he caught sight of a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.
The painting was by Giovanni Boldini, an Italian born, Parisian taught portrait artist. His subject, a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist’s former muse and whose granddaughter it was who had left the flat uninhabited for more than half a century.
Abandoning a Parisian apartment for seventy years can be quite a profitable endeavor. The Boldini painting sold for €2.1 million at auction. Brooklyn, NY
If you take the 6 train to the end of the line and get off at the Brooklyn Bridge, you are missing out on something incredible. As the train loops around to go back uptown, it passes through an abandoned and beautifully preserved City Hall station from 1904.
The city closed the station in 1945, mostly because at its height only 600 people a day used it. Additionally,the loop created an unsafe gap at the platform. In 1995 the city vowed to restore the site and turn it into a part of the transit museum, but those plans were scrapped years later.
The station is still not open to the public, but it is now possible to see this beautiful stop untouched by modern updates or ravaged by time and human traffic. Until recently the MTA would force passengers to get off before the train made the loop. Now passengers are allowed to stay on. Don’t get off when you reach the end of the line, keep going because you won’t believe your eyes.
These amazing photos are courtesy of John-Paul Palescandolo and Eric Kazmirek.