Last Chance Tours
Immersive scanning services for places that are about to be demolished.
360º Tours True to History
We create virtual reality portals into worlds that are about to fall apart, be bulldozed, or become redeveloped. We're Time Machine for what the physical world looks like.
Using Matterport technology with high-fidelity 360º scanning and infrared technology, we can capture spaces and structures in stunning detail. With a computer, mobile device, or VR headset, anyone could do a full walkthrough of a space: see a scrawled note on a wall, notice a tree bursting through a floor, or examine the detailed metalwork on a mailbox. Immersive 360º photography is a unique, new tool for historical research, journalism, education, and art, as these places can be experienced in more detail than physically possible with the dangers and restrictions (and impossibilities) involved in visiting them in person.
When interesting sites relevant to history disappear, we will virtually be able to visit them again.
Our Immersive Scanning Services
Here's a preview of a scan of the library stacks and rooms in the beautiful Gould Memorial Library designed by architect Stanford White in 1900, which has been slowly decaying since 1973.
This room is just a small portion of the entire library. Doing the full scan would reveal the cylindrical layout of the library, as our camera stitches together structural information about the space and transforms it into a dollhouse view. Immsersive scanning recreates a space more true to life than photography.
You can explore another Gould Memorial Library scan here.
Here is a scan of an old power plant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, now covered in stalagmite and broken machinery. We documented this space in October of 2016.
Our early immersive scans were featured in The Atlantic's Citylab with Atlas Obscura on their tour of the Holographic Studios in New York.
Last Chance Tours works with city parks departments, organizations, and individuals to create immersive experiences for virtual preservation. Through site visits, infrared scanning, photographic scanning, audio recordings, and research, we can create interactive tours of spaces that may otherwise be hidden. Unlike drone footage or 360º photography, experiencers can wear a headset or look at any screen and be transported into another world, explore it at their own pace, and read / listen to information and stories on particular elements they discover. We also keep the raw data of the space so it can be adapted to be experienced on any new technologies and devices.
This is a completely unique form of documentation that will be deeply appreciated in the future. Book us to document your space before it is lost.
While 360º tours are gaining popularity in real estate industry, little has been explored in 360º tours for historical documentation. There's millions of tours of empty lobbies, office spaces, and condos, but not many tours of spaces, for example: North Brother Island, the former place of residence of Typhoid Mary. There are thousands of wonderful places of intrigue as well as banal environments where we'll want to go back and glimpse into its grit, clutter, layout, and natural decay preserved at the moment we thought we should rebuild, before the space is handed over to a developer.
We follow strict safety precautions and provide our own liability insurance.
This service is run by Danielle Baskin, who has worked on graffiti-removal and preservation for the New York City Marble Cemetery and has worked as a mural restorationist. Contact Danielle here or email firstname.lastname@example.org for scouting missions, infrared scans, historical documentation, and collaborations.
Danielle of Last Chance Tours has worked on a photography collection for the last three years of places where it seemed like everyone suddenly left. Here's a small collection of these images (though she has a few thousand photos). Though many of these spaces no longer exist, she'd like to return to some of these spaces to document them with immersive visual scans and audio recordings before they are demolished and forgotten.
To preserve the fragile nature of these spaces, she's altered some of their names so they're difficult to find, but she encourages you to look for them too (it's rewarding to do the legwork). Some may no longer exist. Some may be being demolished at this very moment.
Finding spaces as she left them is also important to her, even if they're about to be destroyed. She doesn't alter spaces or take things from spaces, but occasionally she hides things for other people to find.
A neighbor I never met suddenly left the railroad apartment he lived in from 1968-2014, and I figured out who he was by sorting through his objects and journals, spanning 47 years of his life. Located in the East Village, New York.
A labyrinthine space that once housed books and study rooms for a university.
Metal Man Power Plant
An abandoned power plant, with a structure in the center that resembles a metal person.
A four-story hotel in a Southwestern mining town overlooking the desert.
The towers of an abandoned church, which is being transformed into an office building. Located in California.
Lord Anglia Dormitory
A former boys dormitory at a private school in Manhattan, New York. Vacant and nestled between crowded, occupied buildings.
Department of Human Resources
A small building in Nevada with documents about rabies precautions dating back to the 1980's.
Formerly a place to send typhoid patients (notably the chef Mary Mallon), the site of a tuberculosis hospital and in later years, a heroin rehab clinic, North Brother Island was the place Manhattan constructed and designated to deal with hiding epidemics. It's been abandoned for over 50 years, and now it remains hidden, crumbling, and overflowing with nature.
Dust Castle High School
The towering, abandoned high school located centrally in a city in California. Closed due to flooding. The windows are continuously painted white, creating a dim glow in the interior.
The 12th Floor
An empty penthouse that hosted a wellness clinic for decades. Located in the Flatiron District in Manhattan.
Our setup is mobile, so we are based anywhere.