5 Post-Apocalyptic Wastelands Hiding in Busy Cities

Archaeology is defined as "the quest to discover the crumbling remains of past civilizations, then get hammered and blasphemy-hump on top of them like impaired teenage chimpanzees." But you don't necessarily have to earn a fancy degree and apply for expedition funding in order to get your apocalyptic-bone on. Because, as we've shown you once before, you could turn any corner in your home town and stumble on stuff like ...

(Before you go wandering around wastelands, why not read up on guns in the Cracked De-Textbook?)

#5. LA-88

Col. G.O. Evans

LA-88 was built in 1956 and manned by more than 100 soldiers who had the endearing motto "If it flies, it dies." The base was just one link in the "Ring of Steel" -- 16 Nike missile sites that protected L.A. from Russkie bombers in the good ol' days of the Cold War (some say they were higher quality than the Reebok missile bases, while others say they lacked a certain flair).

Pasadena Star News
Conversely, some FILA bit SKECHERed out by the whole place.

If you're not familiar with Cold War death machines, the Nike Hercules missile packed a freaking nuclear warhead -- which seems like overkill for just "bringing down airplanes" to us, but we digress. Fortunately for those of us who value the relative uncookedness of our skin, the Nike program was dissolved in the '70s, and the site abandoned. LA-88 comprises two main tracts: One side contains a parking lot, a network of water treatment facilities, a creepy utility booth, and a small kennel for patrol dogs --

Natasha Saravanja
The nation's nuclear arsenal was in good paws.

-- while the other is a burnt-out, tagged-up complex of gutted warehouses, office buildings, twisted metal, and ... oh yeah, actual missile silos. You know, where they kept the nukes. The nukes right next to Hollywood.

Natasha Saravanja
Cleverly hidden under a flashy gold carpet.

The LAPD SWAT team drills there on occasion, so in addition to the freaky Cold War hauntedness, LA-88 also contains burned-out buses and bullet-riddled practice dummies, for just a little bit more of that Fallout-style wasteland ambience.

Natasha Saravanja
Great practice for all those perps who stand in stationary vehicles.

#4. Pollepel Island, aka Bannerman's Island

 Shaun O'Boyle

If you're ever traveling through New York from Poughkeepsie to Beacon, you might spot a mysterious island in the Hudson River that hosts what looks like a big-ass castle. If you get really high in the back of your colorful van and your talking dog insists you head over to check it out, you'll find that -- holy shit, it is a castle. And an ... arsenal?

via Head First
Yes. Yes, an arsenal. They're rather explicit about that.

Frank Bannerman was a 19th-century Scottish immigrant who had a serious kilt-lifter for both masonry and weaponry. At the end of the Civil and the Spanish American Wars, Bannerman bought up the government's excess stock of everything from weapons to ammunition to blankets and resold them. His stockpile eventually grew so large that the city of New York had to boot his ass out of Manhattan. There are only so many weapons you can comfortably own within city limits, and that amount is "slightly less than an islandful." Luckily, the munitions trade had made him a very wealthy man, and he was able to buy himself that island and stock it full of weapons, as well as a castle to hold them, and presumably some sort of ghost-dog to guard the objectively crazy weapon horde.

via Gottlock Books
A castle! What could possible break through a castle?

Bannerman, knowing that there's no point in subtlety after you've already established a private island for your arsenal, went full supervillain and even had some of the ordnance incorporated into the architecture. However, he died before his castles were fully complete, and years later a fire gutted much of the buildings' interiors. And so, the ravaged site was left to the elements.

Mary Colbert
And several of what we're sure were the best paintball games in history.

It's only a matter of time before the rest of the structures collapse, so try to catch a glimpse of the red and gray turrets while you still can. CAUTIONARY NOTE: Local American Indian tribes believed the island to be haunted long before the crazy arms dealer built a doomed castle there, so if you hear some sort of spectral howling, do not get out your rifles. Bullets only feed the Munition Mastiffs.

#3. The Dome House


Built as a seaside vacation retreat by Bob Lee in the early '80s, this Star Wars-esque domicile offered all the luxuries the 1980s had to offer: hot tub, satellite TV, white patent leather loafers without socks, a sense of desperate, greedy naivete ...

The home was truly futuristic for its time -- completely self-sustaining, its unique multi-dome shape collected rainwater to use for baths and dishwashing, and electricity was provided by solar panels. Unfortunately, living on the Florida coast comes with some pitfalls, chief among them being old ladies in bikinis and giant friggin' hurricanes. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma hit the Dome House pretty hard, and today, well, "luxurious" isn't the first word that comes to mind.

Kelly Farrell
It gets natural light, though. Some. So there's that.

The home's once shining white exterior has now deteriorated into the sickly mottled gray of a dead shark, and the domes have started tilting wildly as they sink into the sand. While we have plenty of crumbling castles and rusting warehouses in this article to remind you of the inevitable forward march of progress, the Dome House is the only ruin that is at once dilapidated and futuristic, like the aftermath of the Jetsons' zombie apocalypse.

Molly-Kate Walsh Photography
aka The Flintstones.

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