cockaigne.jpg
Fictional location

Name: Cockaigne

Category: Luxurious underground playground for the wealthy

Size: Two square city blocks

Condition: Impeccable

Inhabitants: Only the very, very rich--and only occasionally

Map Location: D4

Description (ca. 1921):

"Ah, Cockaigne, the lap of luxury, the only place in the whole world where you can get drunk perfectly alone with a thousand of your finest dressed friends."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Abbott of Cockaigne," 1921

Cockaigne borrows its name from the medieval myth of a land of plenty. Originally intended to showcase the splendor and possibility in high-end underground establishments, it quickly became synonymous for debauchery and excess. Surreptitiously constructed at the same time as the RTPS Monroe Station in 1918, few Rochesterians even knew about the project, and many of the middle and working class citizens firmly deny it even exists, instead chalking it up to active imaginations swept up in the fervor of the New Steam Society.

The space has a 400-seat auditorium suitable for theatrical or orchestral productions, and a ballroom rumored to be the largest in the hemisphere. An ambitious project, it was built a half mile from the Cloud District with the expectation that both would expand and eventually meet, forming one enormous, unbroken subterranean community. As of early 1921, that vision seems unlikely to be fulfilled as the initial wonder at the extravagance of Cockaigne has cooled, especially as the atmosphere veered from the cultural to the carnal. While claims of wild feasts and Dionysiac orgies may be tasteless exaggerations, even ardent supporters of Cockaigne admit that having an open mind is indeed a virtue especially for first-time visitors.

George Greene famously dismissed Cockaigne as a "playboy's playground" that stood apart from his New Steam Society project, and the capital needed to support the project dried up soon after. A photo of a woman mistakenly identified as Frances Bausch, a granddaughter of John Joseph Bausch, dancing in her underclothes in Cockaigne hit the gossip pages in early 1920. From that point, few esteemed members of Rochetser's aristocratic society visited Cockaigne, and all topside entrances were closed. The main access to Cockaigne is through the Cloud District, through passage ways forgotten by most.