The Utility Building
The complex is stilled served by the Utility Building which was behind the Cafeteria Building.
We are now in the corridor leading to one end of the cafeteria and then on to the Maintenance and Utility Building. The cafeteria door is just beyond those newly installed fire doors.
The Old Man of the Corridors
follows you everywhere; he says you steal everything.
The old woman, his wife, lives in a storeroom
with twenty wedding dresses, trench coats, and knives,
bought at midnight in Filene's basement.
In the dark she gives you twenty-dollar bills and scarves. -Patricia Lynn Reilly
The length of corridor leading to the maintenance building was painted brown, floor tiles removed, and most of the windows replaced with solid insulated walls. It's still cold and now more institutional than ever.
Once inside the Utility Building you are greeted with a relic of the past! High up in the hallway is this panoramic photograph of St. Joseph's Village. Although it is quite faded, you can easily see the statue of the Blessed Mother outside the Chapel, the flagpole, and many other recognizable features stretching from the Infirmary to the Gymnasium.
Once the workshop of former Village maintenance man, Tomas Rooney, it is now the domain and of Don Heward who has a love for the buildings and their history. Don was eager to spend a whole day taking us on a tour and sharing many stories of his experiences during the building's post-Village years. His help was vital to the production of this virtual tour on the Web. The center picture shows the laundry room which once housed giant industrial washing machines and steam powered pressing machines. It is now is a maintenance store room. The shop equipment may have been from the wood shop in the gymnasium building. The sinks in the laundry room now serve as paint cleanup slop sinks.
On the second floor were apartments for staff members who lived on premise. Below is a bank of garages. In this building was the main boiler room which generated low pressure steam that was distributed through pipes below the corridors to all of the buildings for heating. Most rooms were heated with radiant heat from pipes berried within the concrete floors. The boiler room also generated high pressure steam for the laundry room's huge presses that ironed bed linens.
At one end of the maintenance building is the Village bus garage. Many may remember riding in this old un air conditioned school bus. We made fun of it, especially when it was hot and sticky riding home at the end of a trip to Rockaway Beach. But it still got us there and other places like the New York World's Fair, numerous Christmas parties, and other memorable days away from the Village.
A new electrical service entrance provides the added power for the greatly expanded electrical needs of the complex today.
Again we head back inside to the corridor intersection at the cafeteria where there was the school.