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Friday, October 30, 2009

Luray Caverns

My first big family trip was to Luray Caverns and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. For wide-eyed children, the trip met all of our expectations, with the unexpected perk of Southern hospitality, which we all found so disarmingly wonderful that the family still talks of it today, decades later.

Of course, after a long ride down, a road stop was in order for a hungry family. There was a spirit of vacation esprit, and I was able to order the deluxe breakfast, which, if I recall, was somewhere in the order of 50 cents and came with everything. My father, whose capacity for coffee knew no bounds, was delighted with the unlimited refills policy, something he had not experienced before. We were all in heaven and had not even set foot in the caverns yet.

The commercial cavern was an astounding display of dripstone - limestone formations created by the deposit of minerals which precipitate from dripping water. I learned about stalagmites and stalactites and how to remember the difference ("g" for ground, "c" for ceiling).

While looking at the black ooze coming from openings in the hideous walls in the East Broadway subway station while waiting for the F train in New York City, it occurred to me that the same type of mineral sedimentation might be occurring. A conversation with two friends who have worked for a long time at the Transit Authority said the black ooze was a sedimentation of sorts, specifically insulation. They explained the reasons for this in detail - the construction of the walls, tunnels, rainfall, water accumulation, saturation, and oozing.

The display is certainly not as dramatic or colorful as the world's renowned show caves, and I doubt anyone will be running tours. But the black color is so appropriate for a New York City subterranean gothic feel. Our own secret Luray Caverns :)


cmf1313 said...

ewww.. Just ewww. LOL
but what are those gobs of beige goop you see everywhere down there?
Gotta love working in NYC

Beth in NYC said...

Luray Caverns is an amazingly cool place. We also went there when my brother and I were youngsters and were awestruck. Thank you for that memory!

Brian Dubé said...

cmf1313 - I will have to get more specific about subway substances with my expert friends.

Beth - now ur memories may be triggered by every oozing subway wall :)

American Bull Dog said...

there are actual stalactites in the 7th ave BDE station

Russell Claxton said...

If this was in Rome instead of NY, it would be "bel patina," and we'd be paying extra to see it.

Michel said...

have to admit: that Subway of NYC ist one of the most exiting ones :))

There are 2 way to handle it: you love it or you leave it. Me i was back again. Just as a tourist - but i loved that 'well patinaed' underground as well as the busses of the MTA.

Btw: last year i also visited the Luray Cavers and yes: Brian is right. It is pretty much similiar. Except of the strollers parking lot INSIDE of the Caverns :))

See here.... LOL

Last row of pictures...