I know the feeling of walking through the ghost of a thriving town. All around the Bear Mountain area are towns like that built in the thirties, forties and fifties. They came into being because of the auto industry and other manufacturing that abandoned New York State in the seventies.
The first one I ever drove through was like a Twilight Zone episode. Small shops and a Rialto movie theater with a marquee, a small white church on the corner, a park with a band shell all empty and in perfect condition. It looked as if the population just vanished in the middle of the day. There were no cars or people but everything else was in place. Even the local dress shop still had mannequins with dresses in the window.
At first I thought it was some kind of movie set but my brother explained it was a casualty of the Ford plant closing. After that I started to find other towns in the same condition. Some were older and really charming. One adorable and empty town, that was originally supported by a glove factory, made me wish I could buy it and start my own Mayberry. But they all haunt your dreams. When you think that all those people lost everything. Their homes, friends, jobs and lives all gone. Nothing lives on except these eerie snapshots of their home towns. Like life size dioramas.
I visit my home town often. It's five minutes from mid town Manhattan and it will never be a ghost town unless NYC goes first. Things have changed but in some ways for the better. I can't imagine it dead and frozen.