� I babble on and on | Main | It's been a long, long lonely winter �

Friday, January 23, 2015

Clutching the night to you like a fig leaf


Somewhere, this moon is shining down on a river. Just not here.

* Another excellent piece of rust belt journalism from the fine folks at Belt Mag: Manufacturing Consent: Chicago’s Oldest Steel Mill Will Soon Be Demolished. What Will Replace It When It’s Gone?

How did this living museum of manufacturing’s bygone days, now sandwiched between luxury shopping in Lincoln Park and trendy bars in Bucktown, come to be? How did the area stay industrial, even as condos and town homes sprung up all around it and land values quadrupled?
It wasn’t by accident. The preservation of industry along the river was the outcome of a previous battle over the area’s use. Chicago, like cities across the Midwest, gradually de-industrialized. By the mid-1980s, the number of factories in the city had dwindled. Clybourn Avenue became a ghost corridor, so empty that thrill-seeking teens drag raced up and down its length. Meanwhile, a condo boom was underway and developers started eying former industrial buildings for residential redevelopment.

Late one cold Sunday night, several of us piled into a borrowed sub-compact for the purpose of exploring this industrial corridor of our neighborhood. It was the early 80s and still in the beginning stages of gentrification. That is to say, house prices and rents were still cheap.

We wanted to know what went on down there by the river. Mostly, we were curious to know what was stinking up the neighborhood. We thought we'd have the place to ourselves being it was Sunday night and all. It was dark. It was desolate. Except for the occasional clank of metal on metal in the distance, the streets were quiet.

We were driving slow so as to take in the awesomeness of it all. Then, suddenly, a man stepped out of the shadows, just inches away from the car window, and pulled a rather large knife on us. On the rolled up window of the car. We gunned it, and hearts pounding, hot-footed it out of there.

* You hurry to the blackness and the blankets to lay down an impression... (Joni.)

Posted by Marie at January 23, 2015 8:45 PM