Best Place to Trespass
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
The best trespassing is not just an adventure, it’s a revelation. When you crawl under the chain link fence at McMillan Sand Filtration Facility, scramble up a short rise and onto the 25-acre site, and look out over the neighborhoods around it, you feel as though you’ve traveled in time. It’s like a forbidden trip to the past, when the city filtered its drinking water here and residents availed themselves of its vast open space. Then, when you descend into one of the sand cells that lie beneath the massive concrete storage bins, well, now you have defied the conventions of modern urban space: You are in some underground beach—a dark, dank one, with majestic vaulted ceilings and light streaming in through manholes. The slightest sound, like water dripping from above, echoes deeply. You feel a sense of wonder and awe. You might become anxious about being caught or becoming trapped, but you won’t care.