Saturday, January 10, 2009

A higher education? "Street Wise, 101"

The building above, is directly across the road from the high school pictured below, one can see part of the metal post on the far bottom right to confirm this. Can anyone imagine this? What happened to the culture here? I suppose, if one were to ask 100 people, that you'd likely get 100 different responses. There were two men that were approaching me while I was photographing the school and this building outside the vehicle. "Hey! What are you doing there?!" one man screamed about 50 yards away. I turned to quickly bolt for the vehicle, as these men were now approaching towards me very quickly and again I heard, "What are you doing?!!"

I got into the vehicle and speed away, the rest of the entire photo shoot was conducted inside the vehicle and for good reason. I want to make it very clear, that this neighborhood and all others that I'm about to show, are very dangerous and filled with dangerous people. Some of these people have nothing to loose and perhaps a trip to jail, is better than the life they have now? I suspect, that many of the homeless people that are roaming the streets of Detroit today, would rather not risk confrontations such as the one I experienced, looking for a place to squat. Not twenty years ago, not today and likely not tomorrow, either. As for those that have lost their homes recently, perhaps the water, gas, and electric had been shut off? Perhaps, even before they actually left the home, the utilities have been shut off (could not be maintained) and they were then forced to leave the premises? If people are expected to stay in their homes, isn't it reasonable that the utilities not be shut off and other "maintenance" be made, in making the home livable? What about the maintenance of the people, themselves? Where would the money be generated to make such a notion possible? Catabolic collapse, is not a pleasant concept to contemplate... Isn't this what catabolic collapse is all about, the attempt to maintain the unmaintainable, until all resource is gone?

"greenstatistician" asked a question that I've asked at least 100 people that have lived in Detroit their entire lives, "When did Detroit start to fall?" That is assuming that, indeed there was a time when the society stopped "progressing" upwards and started proceeding downwards or declining... I think that perhaps shortly after my visit to see Santa at Sears, this may have come about. Most people, that I've talked to, think the riots that Detroit experienced during 1967, was the turning point. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12th_Street_Riot So might have Detroit experienced 40 years worth of Catabolic Collapse, already? I'm going to strongly suggest, it has.

It seems to me, that every time that I visit Detroit, it seems to have slipped further and further into decay... Sure there have been periods of recovery and I've witnessed this too, but these were only partial and could never again reach the heights experienced perhaps a decade before it. The pattern of decline is also the same, always reaching new lows. The neighborhood that I've been focusing on wasn't this bad 20 years ago! Furthermore, I'll be so bold to suggest it wasn't a "bad neighborhood" to live in 30 years ago. No, sir! I would not have thought twice about driving the main streets here 30 years ago. Now, here I was catching myself not spending "too much time" in one particular area in the neighborhood and moving on to another, was perhaps the way to go. There were very few vehicles on the streets and some of those vehicles looked like they came out of a "Mad Max" movie. One that passed by didn't even have a windshield in it! "Back then" the houses and yards were neat, orderly, and many of the driveways had Cadillacs on them............. I cannot tell you, how jolted and sad it was coming away from this experience...

http://www.detroitblog.org/?p=558





10 comments:

FARfetched said...

Did you have time to yell back, "I'm taking pictures, is that a problem?" I suppose if you were taking pics of a school, that someone might have some cause for suspicion…

One burned out building (a 1D point) — or even a series of them (a 2D graph) — doesn't tell the whole story, though: you need the third dimension of history. When I was in Biloxi MS in summer 1980, there was still un-repaired damage from Hurricane Camille 11 years earlier. The damage from Katrina likewise may still be around in 2016.

The 1967 riots were, as I understand it, years in the making. Wikipedia mentions race-based rioting in Detroit in 1943 and even 1863 — so this was nothing new. However, the city picked itself up after those two riots and continued on its way; what conditions were different in/after 1967 to allow that event to start (or at least signal) the decay?

Nudge said...

Yooper, do us a favor please and don't go solo into places like that. Talking with belligerent / drunk / prejudiced / angry people is an art form unto itself .. one must be very, very careful. In many places, there are street gangs that specialize in taking down strangers who've wandered into their area. As you noted, there were no other moving vehicles around, and some of the parked ones looked like they were already getting into the Mad Max lifestyle. Be prepared, friend.

The line “I'm doing a photo essay on the economic recovery of Detroit” might get you places, in terms of giving them some “candy”. Most people have some form of latent pride about where they live, or would at least like to hear good things about it.

How ironic that this weekend the International Auto Show is taking place in downtown Detroit. Is it bringing much “excitement” or even just “life” to the city? (insert sound of crickets chirping)

yooper said...

Hello guys! I spotted these two men enroute to the long abandoned school, they then turned direction and followed my vehicle towards the school, they picked up their pace went they noticed I parked. Now if that doesn't display an "aggressiveness" on their part, I don't know the meaning of the word. It is very common for outsider's (mostly coming from the suburbs) to come to the neighborhoods to look for drugs. I very much suspect that these men may have wanted to "help me out" along this line...However, I couldn't be sure "what" they wanted and wasn't interested, so I "moved along"....

I did not have the luxury of taking any chances with these men, as my sister's 21 year old son was in the vehicle. He's the one who took most of the pics in the passenger seat as I knew my way around AND knew what to look out for, from experience.

This is the perspective that I'd like readers to come away with in this article: 30 years ago, I would have not very likely been approached in this matter, even if I were taking pics in the area and I would have not very likely fled the situation, if I was approached back then. 20 years ago maybe, 10 years likely, today, well...

Far, I thought, I was providing a kind of three dimensional look back in history, by describing 40 years worth of experience within the city.

However, I do view history as very one dimensional, that is, there are no options or alternatives that today presents, it is was what it was, and there's nothing that can change that. It's a view from the past, it's already done.

Duely noted however, (Thanks Far, I do want this project the best it can be!), I'll attempt to descibe this "over lapness" better and I intend to show just that coming up.. I'll likely post links to other viewpoints of the same history that I'm pertaining to. I did post a link to the 12th Street riot. I did not know Willie Horton (one of my all time favorite Tiger sluggers) had tried to stop the riot, to no avail. I also came by this, "the auto industry that placed the city at the industrial center of the nation". As you might suspect, I'm going to hammer on that notion and what this might mean for the rest of the nation, later on (heh! heh! How many times have you heard that one! ha!)...

thanks, yooper

yooper said...

Oh! You bet Nudge! The North Amerian Auto Show is another "World Class" event! It's located at Cobo Hall, just underneath the towering RenCen. I've been to it several times, sometimes making the trip from the North especially to go to it.

http://www.naias.com/

It is well attended from peoples from all over the world. I'd say it brings life to places of the very inner most downtown area. Just one thing though, don't forget to bring your purse, as you'll be needing it! ha!

I'll be describing these places of the inner most downtown area, a bit later. It basically is the RenCen/Cobo hall area, Greektown/Casinos a mile away, the Riverfront/Chene Park another mile to the south and east from downtown, this is where the action is and of course it costs money, a lot of it......

FARfetched said...

So do the Pistons still play at Cobo?

Sure, Yooper, I was just pointing out that damaged buildings long un-repaired might be that way for different reasons… disasters both natural and human-made are disasters, and not always easy to recover from. There's a lot of frustration with how slowly NOLA is getting rebuilt, but what about the frustration with Detroit? or Biloxi MS?

One thing I noticed with Detroitblog that also holds true of the little town on the other side of the state where I grew up: lots of not-chain businesses. As depressed as my old hometown has been in stretches since we moved away ca. 1975, a lot of the same businesses are still there over 30 years later.

Funny how people talk about how conservative the south is, and they're changing so much faster and embracing the chain stores and letting die the local businesses that give a place a heritage.

yooper said...

Hey Far! The Pistons play at The Palace, in near by Auburn Hills. Never been to a Piston's game! I've been to countless Tigers games and quite a few Lions games, oh and a few Red Wings games. At least the Lions did move back to Detroit to play at the new and very nice Ford Field, a lot smaller than the Silver Dome.

I'll likely devote an article about the sections of the inner most downtown area. Wish I took the time to take pics of this area! I'll just post links to them.

What effort has been made to the city has been made here. This area, is much better than say 30 years ago. Detroit is a very attractive place to hold a conference, hard to beat, because of the attractions being close by, easily accessable by the "people mover".

Heh! heh! Very few McDonalds like restaurants in this area! ha! It's also the home of some world class restaurants, heh! Don't forget to bring your wallet!! ha! It was'nt often that I'd dine at such places...

splendid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
auntiegrav said...

Ha!
Check out what's next to my old high school:
http://www.chipincasino.com/
When I say "next to", I mean within about 200 yards.
The high school was built on reservation land in the town of Harris, Mi. It also happened to be right on the main highway. When the tribe needed a place for a casino, the best place was almost on top of the school. Built a new gym for the school, too.
This is America! Land of Opportunism!

yooper said...

Heh! ha! auntiegrav! The 'ol ChipIn!!Been there, a couple times!I'm not much of a gambler, sure wish I could be there to see Paul Anka in June though! Maybe he'll come over on this end?

Gee, Harrisville, eh? Nar the metropolios of Hermansvile? heh!Now that's what I call a real "Yooper"!! ha!

Gee, that building near the school fell down since the pic was taken in Nov. Went back this spring and it had fallen. We're discussing this in a couple of spots on latoc.

http://www.doomers.us/forum2/index.php/topic,43340.45.html

if ya read that thread real close it'll take ya to a link that has a couple pics of me! ha! ha!

Thanks for stopping by! Yoop, waiting to yell out, "The Smelt are Running! The Smelt are Running"!!!! (Just to watch 'em come a runn'en!) ha!ha!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.