In the spirit of thematically grouping my photos from my travels, I now present to you photo essay number two: Urban Decay.
This sign was on the wall of a public housing building in uptown New York. I found it fascinating for two reasons, firstly because it speaks to a cold war heritage that we just don’t have or understand in Australia, and secondly, because it was so obviously out of date (probably 1960s) and yet it was still there, within reach of the street for everyone who walked past. I think it says something about the fact that the locals pay it absolutely no attention. While I was taking this photo, a gent who lived in the area asked what I was doing, and when I explained to him, he told me about his experience as a child being taught to duck and cover at school. It was quite surreal.
This wall is right near Times’ Square in Manhattan. I found it interesting that a building in such a populated, high traffic area was not being used for advertising. I also thought that the peeling paint was beautiful.
This pay phone was in a subway station in Manhattan. I love this photo.
This building was also in Memphis, but it was in a poorer area. It felt deserted and kind of desolate in the heat of the summer.
This is the view of a warehouse from my hotel in Memphis. We were within walking distance of the main city area, and from Beale St, the main tourist area, but this warehouse was empty and unused.
While we were on a river cruise up the Mississippi from New Orleans, we passed a series of docks which were severely damaged. This one looks like it hasn’t been used for a long time, but it could just be a hang-over from Hurricane Katrina that was never cleaned up.
A rusty water tower along the Mississippi.
The other thing I did in New Orleans was go on a swamp tour, the sort where they feed alligators hot dogs and marshmallows over the side of a tin boat. Along the Pearl River, outside of the city and in the middle of the bayou, were a number of houses and recreation structures that had been destroyed by Katrina and had been left to sink into the river. Many of them were accessible only by water and the owners simply didn’t want to repair them.
Still in New Orleans, this is a photos of one of the above ground vaults in St Louis Cemetery #1. Many of the vaults in this cemetery have been restored, but many of them are falling apart, like this one. Generations of people are buried in these vaults, according to the marble face plates. The earliest ones I found, that were still legible, were from 1750s. I still haven’t worked out what the little offerings and markings are, I think it’s a voodoo thing though.
This one is just of a carpark in Austin. I like the peeling paint, the door that leads nowhere, and the discolouration. I suppose there used to be a building where the carpark is.
This pay phone is outside a general store/truck stop along the road on the way to the Grand Canyon. I didn’t test whether the phone worked, but the cobwebs covered in red dust looked a bit like rusty bullet holes from afar.
This is the famous Route 66. It’s empty. Since the US government has improved the interstate system people don’t drive on Route 66 anymore. There are all these little towns dotted along the route, that runs between Chicago and Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, that are slowly dying out. We stopped in one, which was full of tourists because it was high season, but I would guess they don’t get much business in the winter months.
I acknowledge that this is not actually decay, it’s more like street art, but I really liked it. It covered an entire wall of a shopping centre in San Diego. I guess it speaks to the concept of changing cityscapes though.