This was a pretty common sight when driving around Detroit. So many gorgeous houses that have just been left to the wayside, an unfortunate side effect of the huge decline in industry and the mass exodus of people in the last 50 years. We talked with a neighbor who said that the owner of this house had been forced into a nursing home and then had recently passed away, and the home has been scheduled for demolition.
If Sephiroth and Aeris are foils to one another, Cloud walks between the parallels their arcs draw. All of them are on journeys to reconcile their own identities, but Aeris and Sephiroth represent the radically different poles that Cloud will have to choose between to move forward.
Aeris leaves Midgar in search of answers about a part of herself she’s always kept hidden, and though her Ancient heritage has brought her much suffering and a heavy burden, she hasn’t let it define her or stop her from embracing her own truth. She still may not know everything about the ancients, but she has come to know herself. That self discovery has granted her the faith, courage and power to trust herself and keep going.
Sephiroth’s been at once defined by and refusing his identity since Nibelheim. He strives to reshape his identity into something that suits him while simultaneously being completely overcome by the hatred, sorrow and rage his history has brought him.
Cloud, at this point, only knows enough to understand that he doesn’t know himself at all. He’s afraid of what the truth might be, but he wants it anyway, and his vengeance along with it. He’s still pretending to be someone he’s not and walking a path that’s been laid out for him, but before much longer he’ll have to find his own way.
North Brother Island sits in the East River, nestled in between the Bronx and Riker’s Island.
“Between the 1880s and the 1930s, North Brother Island was the site of Riverside Hospital, where those suffering from infectious disease were treated in isolation, the infamous Typhoid Mary, the cook who carried a deadly disease and infected more than 50 New Yorkers in the early 20th century, spent her final years confined to this mysterious island. After World War II, it served as a housing community for returning veterans and their families. In the 1950s and early 1960s, it became a juvenile drug treatment center." The uninhabited island is now designated as a bird sanctuary. The adjacent South Brother Island once occupied by brewery magnate, Jacob Ruppert had a summer house there before it burned down in 1909. No one has lived on the island since then, and now serves as a wildlife sanctuary.
Since 2008, with permission from the NYC Parks Department, Payne has been one of a few photographers allowed on the island. His photographs comprise a comprehensive record of the buildings and its evolving landscape over many seasons. The book ‘North Brother Island - The Last Unknown Place in New York City’, is available for purchase online
The Forgotten City is one of my favourite locations in the game for how rich in atmosphere it is. It’s design, the music, and your purpose there all coalesce into a shroud of dreadful mystery and eldritch peace that blankets the place. There is something barren and harsh about it, all the houses of the dead standing empty, even amidst its stunning beauty.
It feels like an Otherworld - one that Aeris has already passed into, and one that you know you won’t emerge from unchanged.
I really like the imagery the artist used for the border / background of this image. It makes me think of the City of the Ancients / Forgotten City, which is nice to think of them actually visiting there together.
“Your mission: Race your speed demon car from New York to Tokyo in record time. With the cops and the enemy on your tail. They ambush you at every turn, pushing you off the road, leaping into your path. You outsmart them, firing an arsenal of oil cans you’ve collected in the road, knocking them out and racking up more points. Cover every stretch of the highway in order to hit the next city. You can make it. Or can you?”