Eastern New York Correctional Facility
Monday, April 12 2004
I had another housecall all the way down in Ellenville again today, the second in as many weeks (though I'd never had housecalls in that blighted town before). It was a Mac housecall, and (typical of Mac work), I was replacing an expired hard drive. (The difference between the Mac and the PC is that with Macs I tend to replace parts that break after ten years of use, while with PCs I tend to uninstall adware and spyware.) The woman I whose computer I was servicing was an artist from New York City who picked Ellenville because of its famously cheap real estate. She said she's so different from the locals of the town that they assume she must be a Hasidic Jew (there are apparently lots of Hasidic Jews in Ellenville). She also told me that the Hasidic Jews completely control the drug trade in the town. She could have been bullshitting I suppose, but it sounded like she knew what she was talking about. When I came home I told this to Gretchen, she was more surprised than I expected her to be. Somehow it didn't strike me as odd that a hermetic group of religious fanatics would opt to raise money by selling drugs to people outside their community, people who are headed for Hell no matter what. After all, this is a time-honored tradition for both Muslim poppy growers and Amish root beer vendors.
On the way back home I decided to head back on Berme Road, a long narrow road that sticks closely to the south bank of Rondout Creek northeast of Ellenville. Not far from Ellenville it swings out around the backside of the Eastern New York Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison which I'd only known about from its beautiful Victorian facade, which leers across the Rondout Valley treeline towards US 209. Berme travels close along the backside of the facility, where no attempt has been made to keep things either beautiful or Victorian. It's all strictly functional, often looking somewhat Southwestern in the process. The main structure here is a featureless 30 foot tall concrete wall punctuated by the low acorn-shaped turrets of gaurd towers. Filling every gap and along top of every wall, in far more places than seemed necessary, were dense thickets of concertina wire. (I notice that no effort has been made to create an official website for this large government-run facility.)
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