“Closed” (Near Richfield Springs, NY)

A few weeks ago when I was roaming around the Adirondack foothills of upstate NY I had just spent a few hours photographing the little town of Sharon Springs and was looking for a Russian Orthodox Monastery when I drove by this (I guess you could call it a) retail outlet. I don’t think Wal-Mart has anything to worry about–business didn’t look too good the afternoon I happened by.

It appeared to be a part of an old farm–this huge window complex cut into the side of a big old New England-type barn–that had seen better days. It was on a lonely stretch of State Route 20 crossing Vickerman Hill–a magnificently desolate and melancholy part of southern Herkimer County.

A shop like this is what I would call a “Junk Store”–sometimes a “Thrift Store.”  I stopped at another one when I got into the Town of Richfield Springs about an hour after I made this shot.  You see these businesses just about every where you go in the eastern part of the U.S. I suspect they can be found everywhere–but since I’ve not lived everywhere I can’t say for sure if that’s the case.

Places like this are fun to rummage around in. It’s amazing the stuff you can find and whenever I spend any time in one I inevitably see bits and pieces of my own past. Toys, housewares, small appliances, magazines, tools that have outlived their usefulness and now–having somehow escaped the slough of oblivion–wait for a final resting place. That could be a collection of some sort, the  home  of someone poor who can’t afford something newer (notice I said “newer”–not “better”) or who is themselves a relic from an earlier era (World War Two and the cold war usually) or a landfill.

If a business like this aspires to higher things it can perhaps work its way up to Antique Store status–in which case you’ll pay more for a lot of the same junk (I guess that should be spelled “Junque” since we’re now operating on a higher plane).

After I parked I walked around in the blowing snow and wind  looking to see if anyone was around–in the field out back, a nearby garage or the crumbling farm house on the other side of the road but no one could be found. I spent 10 or 15 minutes shooting this big window and some piles of doors and shutters leaning against this same barn to the left of this frame then went on my way.

It was getting late–almost dark–I was hungry. When people my wife how she knows when to expect me back from these wanderings she always says,  “He’ll come home when he gets hungry.”

She’s never wrong about these things.

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