“The origins of this book can be traced to family drives through the Meadowlands on the way from central New Jersey to New York City. To my young eyes this devastated area was simply the inhospitable but mysterious outskirts of the city. When I moved to NYC as an artist, I made maps out of taped-together satellite images and began traversing the open areas. I walked at least twice a week, sometimes alone, sometimes with Ray Mortenson. It was reassuring walking with another photographer. We encountered wildlife: turtles, shorebirds, racoons. We encountered gunfire. We were stalked from a distance. We stumbled upon encampments in abandoned buildings. We learned to evade guard dogs, security personnel, police. Except when we didn’t. We took our last walk the week before September 11.” — Michael Ashkin. The photographs in this book were originally commissioned by Documenta11 and included in the 2002 exhibition in Kassel, Germany.