Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Cabrini Green Demolition - The End of an Era
Nikon D7000 w/ 16-85mm Nikkor, 1/800sec at f9, ISO400
The building above is at 1230 North Burling Street, near Halsted and Division. It's the last of the Cabrini Green high rises and is being torn down as I write this. (check out this live video for the status). They started tearing it down late last week and the photos here are all from Saturday, April 2nd, 2011.
If you're from Chicago, this is nothing new, as we've been in the process of dismantling Cabrini for about ten years. If you're not from Chicago, this Wikipedia page will give you a better overview than I can provide right now. In short, Cabrini Green was a massive public housing project, built with good intentions in the 1940s and 50s and once home to over 15,000 people. It was ultimately neglected by the city and became the poster child for urban blight, racial segregation, and gang violence run amok.
I made a special trip here on Saturday to photograph this. I wasn't alone, as there were several other photographers wandering around. At one point I was approached by a man who told me that he used to live there. He said he lived on the 12th floor and had helped install the boilers in the basement. He wanted to know why so many people were photographing the demolition? I told him that while it probably wasn't a great place to live (which he affirmed) it was still a part of Chicago. For over 60 years these buildings have stood on the Near North Side. Sixty years of residents living and dying, hoping and dreaming. It's for the best that it's all coming down, but that doesn't make it any less significant.
Nikon D7000 w/ 70-300mm Nikkor, 1/800sec at f9, ISO400
Nikon D7000 w/ 70-300mm Nikkor, 1/640sec at f9, ISO400
Nikon D7000 w/ 70-300mm Nikkor, 1/1000sec at f9, ISO400
Update 4/8/11: I've posted a followup to this post with a four additional photos. I've also put all of these into a set on flickr, if you prefer to view them there.