Thursday, May 13, 2010

Harlem-to-Pittsburgh: Search, Seek and Employ

Upon graduation in August, I will be looking for a place to call home. Slippery Rock, PA has been good to me for the last 8 months, but I'm ready to spread my wings and hit the big city- PGH! Well, maybe not Pittsburgh proper, but some of the lesser known and shrinking communities surrounding Pittsburgh.

#1 on the list is the borough of Braddock. I've visited Braddock many times, and it reminds me of Harlem about 20 years ago. So much potential, yet so much destruction. The demolition companies can't knock the vacant and abandoned homes down fast enough. The population has shrunk from 20,000 in the mid-1970s to just over 2000 residents today. The building stock is largely vacant and uninhabitable, beyond repair and should be removed. A deconstruction project is due, rather than demolition. The resources- brick, stone, wood- are irreplaceable. But why would anyone care about the neighborhoods of it most vulnerable citizens? Why would anyone care about a hydraulic arm smashing into the side of the house next to yours? Well, I do. I see the beauty of Braddock, what once was, and what is yet to be. Yes, call me sentimental, but I feel for the structures being destroyed. I know they have generations of stories to tell. Every brick placed knows a song, an intimate moment, a whispered prayer....

But hopefully those who remain are there to stay and will share some of those moments with me. Please join me on the final leg of my journey to from Harlem, NY to Braddock, PA. I'll be posting some images and more stories and quite honestly, I'd love the company.

Check out some sites if you want more information on Braddock, PA Braddocc Braddock Films