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abandoned spaces

This is Not a Requiem for Detroit

I was born in Queens in 1975—the year of the infamous New York Post cover "Ford to City: Drop Dead," when New York City was about to declare municipal bankruptcy, and the federal government was desperately trying to divorce urban America. The New York of my childhood was one of boarded up buildings, intentional arson by landlords, graffitied subway cars, general dissolution of city services, decay and the chaos that comes with it. I grew up around the detritus of urban refuse, and the images I find beautiful and compelling are still things that are cracked or post-industrial—glassphalt sidewalks glittering at night, the shout of scratchiti on a subway car window, and the gentle curve of jumper prevention fences on highway overpasses. Detroit is not New York, and though the visual language of urban decline is familiar to me and spans geography, Detroit is a different story.