Urban Spelunking - Primer

Urban Spelunking (US) is more commonly known as Urban Exploration (UE). UE involves the exploring of structures, areas, and urban features that are hidden, inaccessible, or prohibited, such as abandoned buildings, ruins, wrecks, tunnels, and various city infrastructure.

We prefer the term Spelunking because of its evocation of hidden and forbidding destinations. "Exploration" might conceivably refer to investigating a new and exotic neighborhood, or trying different and strange cuisines.

US also extends the conceptual scope of UE to include activities like infiltrating events in which one has no expectation or sanction to participate. One such example is society balls. These are grand parties usually thrown by or at least originally patronized by groups of people connected by ancestry or affiliation. They are customarily lavish and somewhat exclusive (if not by policy then by privacy and/or economics.)

We use the following terms and phrases to communicate, categorize, and manage urban spelunks. These are mostly of our own amateur devising, and by no means represent a standard amongst all urban spelunkers/explorers, or even anyone other than us:

Difficulty: A criterion of a spelunk describing the level of physical effort, skill, resilience, etc. involved in breaching, escaping, or contingencies. This can be categorized as "Low", "Medium", "High" (and variations.) Low level may entail things like walking moderate distances, clambering over obstacles, or waking up very early in the morning. High level might be free-climbing bridge towers, picking locks, and diving in sewer water.

Danger: A criterion of a spelunk describing the aggregate risk and consequence severity of bodily injury or damage to equipment. This can be categorized as "Low": cuts and scrapes, soiled/ripped clothing; to "High": death, permanent suffering, etc.

Exposure: A criterion categorizing the likelihood of being discovered (specifically by people who might put an end to one's spelunking activities.)

Jeopardy: A criterion categorizing the severity of legal consequence to being caught. "Low" being a small fine, "High" being hard time.

Recon (abbreviation of Reconnaissance): Any necessary field investigation of current actual conditions. E.g. discovery of access points, testing of security measures, surveillance of patrols and other Exposure measurements (i.e. determination of the odds of getting caught,) etc.

Breach: The crossing from an area or conceptual space that is open/accessible/known to the public, to one that is not. This happens at an Access Point. The converse of this is Escape.


Night Market - Primer

The Lost Horizons Night Market is a recurring underground volunteer-produced carnival of sorts whereby attractions are built and operated inside box trucks parked on a New York City street.

Each attraction is independently conceived, funded, built, operated, and cleaned up after by its proprietors; and their scope and scale determined only by those proprietors' imagination and resources.

Pillow fighting ring

Blacklight painting

Pie in your face
Hot tub

It is expected that the amusements and services be provided free of charge, but patrons are encouraged to tip proprietors to show their gratitude and appreciation.

The locations selected are usually industial areas with no stores or other facilities nearby. Toilet facilities are available, but otherwise patrons must bring everything they need, and remove their own trash.



Impressionist Formal, or Imformal, is a dress code used especially for underground or so-called "guerrilla" events, such as the guerrilla balls series. It requires attire and accessories that project the impression of formality--or extra formality--to the public eye, or incorporates exuberance derived from traditional formal dress. This includes standard White Tie (colloquially: "top-and-tails/ballgown",) Black Tie ("tux/evening gown",) and some extravagant versions of Formal ("suit-and-tie/evening dress".) It may also include variations such as non-western traditional, military, and period garb, caricature, couture, etc. as long as it appears to the observer to have aesthetic integrity (i.e. it looks good.)

It is context dependent, such that the adopter (or group) should be distinguishable from the norm or default the by their degree of projected formality, extravagance, or exoticism