Regret

The current Weekly Photo Challenge theme is a tough one – Regret. I don’t usually take pictures of things that are sad or ugly, but at last I remembered this series of photos. They were taken in early 2009, in Camden, New Jersey; unfortunately, there are still many similar sights not far away. (Camden is one of the poorest cities in the U.S., and it shows.)

This is a shame and a scandal, and certainly a reason for regret. Only a few decades ago, this was a small but adequate home. But during the years that I drove past this intersection on my way to and from work, it was a ruin. This is how it looked in March, 2009; I was afraid at that time that it was going to collapse any day.

Granted, there’s room for a tiny bit of hope here. Over the following two months, someone gutted this house (and the adjoining row houses) and started to repair them. Here’s how it looked by May:


Those yellowish lines near the top of the house are huge wooden brackets to stabilize the brick wall – they extend the width of the house and hook over the firewall dividing it from the next rowhouse* up the street. (The roof was long gone.)

Unfortunately, work stalled at this point. And since I no longer work nearby, I never found out if the project got completed.

Camden. Regret.

 

*If you’ve never been in the Philadelphia area, rowhouses are basically block-long buildings, usually brick and two stories high, that are divided into subunits twenty or thirty feet wide by brick and plaster firewalls. Each subunit is a separate home. This is the typical form of housing in Philadelphia and most of the nearby smaller cities.

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