For those of you who visited - or worked in - the McKittrick Hotel from open to say, about a year ago, you’re probably very familiar with the mysterious black gunk. It would collect under your fingernails, but worse it would be in your nose for at least a day after. Super, super gross.
Recently I’ve had a few chances to dig around in a very old warehouse that hasn’t been used much since the mid-1950s. The building was built in the early 1900s and was at least two kinds of factories over the years. The upper floor was closed off around in the late 1950s and has sat, relatively untouched. It’s packed full of interesting things, but this is about the dust.
The first time I went there I did it without a mask. I blew black soot out of my head for two days. I can only imagine what went into my lungs. The next time I went, which was yesterday, I brought a mask, and I still had some of that old familiar mystery gunk. I think I now know why the McKittrick had it, and why it’s mostly gone now.
The upper floors of the buildings housing the McKittrick weren’t used much before Punchdrunk transformed them. A long time ago it was a place where they made things. Decades of dirt and grime and dust accumulated, and quite a lot of it was ground into the floors. Then came the nightclubs, and the dirt and dust they created floated upward and settled.
They we came along, stomping around on floorboards that hadn’t seen much use in a very long time. I don’t think it’s all graveyard dirt and artificial fog. We shook loose the accumulated grime of decades, old wood, spores, human skin cells, billions of dust mite carcasses, who knows what else. We beat those floors with our feet. We breathed in the decay. We took pieces of history, however small, home with us when we checked out.
We filtered the building.
About a year or so ago I noticed a marked improvement in air quality. Some of that was done by the people running the space, but I think a lot of it was the sheer number of human filtration systems that wandered through the space breathing in dust and breating out filtered air. If you go now, you still get grimy and there is fake dust to be found, and the graveyard will make your shoes grey, and you really don’t want to breathe the fog too often, but the true mystery gunk just doesn’t happen any more.
Anyway, I doubt anyone but me finds this interesting. Just thought I’d share.