goobing detroit

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A fence on Woodlawn on the east side of Detroit covered with memorials to people who used to live in the neighborhood.

From Camilo Vergara’s fantastic “Detroit is No Dry Bones,” some background on the fence:

“On the east side of Detroit, on a fence facing Woodlawn Avenue, there are more than twenty poster-size memorial portraits of people who once lived in the neighborhood. Bill, who lives on Woodlawn, does not like the display of mostly young bloods who “lived the fast life.” One of those memorialized, Big Pope, was loved in the neighborhood and remembered for dressing like Santa Claus at Christmas. His poster, at the center of the display, is decorated with yellow plastic flowers.”

I came across this fence a couple years ago, forgot to record where it was, and couldn’t find it again until I stumbled across it in Camilo’s new book of Detroit photography. The yellow flowers Camilo mentioned below Big Pope were not present, apparently, when Bing drove past in 2014.

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For background on how a street like this comes about, read this post.

This block is incredible. Still pretty dense with housing, but only one of them is occupied. If you go a block to the west, the housing stock changes to brick and the neighborhood looks pretty stable.

The New York Times visited this block during the Motor City Mapping survey:

“Blight, as Karl Baker, one Detroit resident, has seen, tends to spread. Along his block of Hazelridge Street on the East Side, he is the only remaining tenant. “Everyone went bye-bye,” Mr. Baker said the other day as he walked up the center of the silent street to get to his house since no sidewalks had been shoveled.

Most of the houses nearby are standing but abandoned, and visitors have clearly passed through — empty liquor bottles lie along debris-covered floors near broken windows and doors, every memory of a metal appliance or gutter seems to be gone from some of the homes, and two old couches that were dumped along a lawn are now blanketed by a thick layer of snow.

The last neighbor left six months ago, he said, and the single streetlight overhead has not worked for months. “I love the quiet, but if something went wrong, the city isn’t going to come,” Mr. Baker said. “They don’t do anything.”