A whiff of dysfunctional infrastructure

Sir Batshit Crazy

dysfunctional infrastructure:  

its old, cracking, failing structurally, water damaged, about to collapse, grand pappy's pride of union days and war vets, grandma's favorite bridge, your dad's "son men were men when they built that", where you lost your virginity to a milf named Joanne, where your cousin OD'd on herion, where cops don't bother going, homeless men stab other homeless men over cigarettes,  and just a place to find empty beer cans and a  history of untold violence.  Empire state building as skid row - for the middle class.

Did you have a whiff of dysfunctional infrastructure today or a while ago ?

Stories please.

Feb 8, 18 11:08 pm

sharp, sour smell as you enter the underpass. Fetid mix of urine and pigeon shit tempered with scraps of rotting food and discarded condoms. Across the street a man with no place left to go urinates on a century-old steel column holding the whole thing up. Back on this side you notice the bases of these columns are so corroded some don't even tough the ground. You wonder what is holding up the trains above. You shrug. Watch out for that piece of re-bar poking out of the ceiling. 

Keep walking.

Feb 9, 18 9:18 am
Sir Batshit Crazy



Leaping ahead to the digital realm, I nominate the internet.  

As with physical infrastructure, it offers much promise as a conveyor of  convenience and communication.  But it has also vastly accelerated people's ability to berate, humiliate, incite and condemn.  All of that stinks, too.

Feb 9, 18 11:18 am

"Jesus, that telephone pole is leaning almost 30 degrees into the road!  Oh, the bottom has rotted out and it isn't touching the ground; some genius from the city has actually tied it to another pole with some sort of rusting metal.  Fuck, that one has rotted and isn't touching the ground either???  There is a third goddamn pole, and only that one is connected to the earth?"

-Welcome to Boston!

Feb 9, 18 11:46 am
Sir Batshit Crazy



Not really infrastructure, but this is the most dysfunctional I have ever seen a structure. 

During my last internship I accompanied a PE on an exploratory site visit; the roof of a distribution warehouse had partially caved in after heavy snow and they wanted to know if we could design a fix within their budget.  The business was housed in a 19th century factory building, so we thought there might be some issues besides the roof collapse that would prohibit a quick-fix, but we decided to check it out anyway.  

Boy, did we ever underestimate the state of that place.  A worker led us up a rickety staircase to the top level, the floors getting dirtier and more covered with trash as we ascended.  When we got to the top we noticed patches of fresh wood holding up the roof that definitely did not look like an architect or engineer's design.  Much of the roof framing was cracked or leaking.  

The collapse was two bays wide, and roof material was still dangling unsecured over the edge of the hole.  At first we thought that a column had failed allowing the roof to cave in, but I looked at the pile of rubble and didn't see any column, even though the structure was regular and a column should have been there.  I looked up at the ceiling and saw a remaining piece of a roof beam haphazardly nailed to the next column over.  I pointed this out to the PE and that's when he gave me an "oh shit" look.  It was obvious that they had removed an entire column to make room for merchandise and rigged up a built-up beam that they thought would do the trick.  And they were wondering why their roof had collapsed.

The worst part - while we were performing the inspection there were employees carting heavy stacks of goods through the area that had collapsed.  They had not closed down the area and were still working.  I left the internship shortly after that.  I wonder if they took the job.

Feb 9, 18 9:59 pm
Sir Batshit Crazy

holy shit!

Here in Paradise:

The roads are full of potholes. Garbage in the form of plastic bags, Starbucks cups, beer cans, and other crap from the inconvenience mall up the road blows into the hedge in front of my house, where it nests. Teardowns and construction sites in old neighborhoods - often several on the same small street - are like open sores bleeding dirt and gravel out into the road. There is a near-continuous cacophony of construction noise as well as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, emergency vehicle sirens, private jets and low-flying helicopters, and the smell of exhaust permeates the air. Public transit consists of three trains a day at odd hours like 3:30 am and noon and some public buses that shuttle day laborers around.

This is the town where plastic bags are banned, except of course for the special town bags you have to buy to get rid of your garbage. I kid you not.

Town of Southampton Bans Plastic Bags

Disposal of Garbage, Recyclables & Green Bags

Feb 9, 18 11:57 pm
Sir Batshit Crazy

beautiful miles, in a dysfunctional infrastructure way ;)

Sir Batshit Crazy

heading up the Major Deegan in my Uber office we pass under a concrete steel bridge.  In the wall there was an electrical disconnect panel with it's cover off.  It was about an Arch D paper size - 36" x 24" with what looked like those ceramic transistors you may have seen in old radio circuit boards but at ten times the size.  A fistful of circuitry.

The history evidenced junkies had gone looking for copper and metals to sell at the junkyard to cover their habit.

I thought of Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Antonio Sant'Elia.

Sometime in the 1940's the civil engineers designed an electrical panel into the bridge retaining wall and foundation.

sci-fi was based on an NYC that once was, a futurism we're now living on the back end...always looked better in the movies?!?

Feb 10, 18 12:38 am

Since it's the winter olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea right now:

Almost every Olympic site (except for London maybe I think they handled the post-olympic tragedy of abandoned buildings, etc.). Atlanta, Athens, Beijing, Rio, Sarajevo, etc.

Feb 10, 18 12:49 am
Sir Batshit Crazy

Nice list and examples


Agreed. Same goes for Brazil. Wonder if the tourism brought by the Olympics managed to offset this loss.


Barcelona was, I think, the one Olympics that has very successfully used the athletes village and performance arenas for community benefit.


Man, I love Rio. I was there a few months ago. But yeah even the locals knew the facilities would eventually get abandoned. A part of the Olympic Village still gets used every now and then for big events though (like Rock in Rio) but everything else, as they say, there's not much to do, as the area is far from the south zone where people mostly thrive. Plus their government is also going through shit right now. But their upgraded transportation system is really doing well for them after FIFA and the Olympics .


Barcelona wants to host the 2022 Winter Olympics with the indoor events held in the city and the outdoor stuff up in the Pyrenees. Why not, they seem to know what they are doing.

Feb 10, 18 9:30 am

Anyone ever been to the Port Authority Bus Terminal?  Yeah.

Feb 10, 18 10:18 am
Sir Batshit Crazy

twice a day! during the week.


squeaking creaking vinyl upholstery, clanking of steel on steel, you pull into the station in the countries historical railway capital. That was long ago though. As you disembark from the stained aluminum and linoleum train vestibule, 50 years out of date, the stench of mildew and exhaust hits you. Water drips from cracked concrete where what was once re-bar peeks out, splashing into shallow puddles amid bricolage of patched concrete in every color of grey imaginable. Exhaust has stained seemingly everything and the masses cough and sniffle as they stream towards the door to the station. Little do they know that the environment inside is even most sweat, steam, and exhaust choked than outside. You pop into the toilet where the first stall shakes rhythmically as man masturbates furiously inside. On the other side a man has set his coffee cup atop a urinal. you wonder what he does. Where the fuck am I?

Feb 10, 18 1:41 pm
Sir Batshit Crazy



50 parents making a right calling the 50 parents making a left cunts...50 parents making a left calling the 50 parents making a right pricks...little kids running across the 2 way death trap, as over packed pickup trucks drive by....pissed off ups drivers barrel down the street at 60 mph...more kids huddled on the corner plotting to cross like a band of soldiers before storming the beaches of Normandy.  Why is crossing the street so hard they ask???  Somewhere a miserable traffic engineer laughs muahhhaaa!  If there was ever a need for a stop light it would be here at the intersection of the road that runs parallel to my sons middle school and the main road it intersects...Fuck you traffic engineer!  Of all the dozen school in my area, not a single one has a stop light at the intersection that leads to the school so the kids can cross safely, and the parents picking up and dropping off don’t have to play real like frogger every day.  “Sir our traffic studies dictate where stop lights are useful”   Your traffic studies are dumb, you are dumb, Fuck you traffic engineer!

Feb 10, 18 3:02 pm
Sir Batshit Crazy

Oh man...sounds like a true story

Superfluous Squirrel

The Washington D.C. Metro isn't doing so great these days.

Feb 10, 18 6:51 pm
Sir Batshit Crazy

. RUN with it

for more

Feb 17, 18 9:51 pm
Sir Batshit Crazy


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