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Detroit - then and now. A return visit

Last week I went to Detroit during the day to re-visit the locations of my previous Detroit shoots. I shot Smash in fall 2004, almost 10 years ago, and have returned every 2 or so years to do more shooting.

Here’s how they look today.

Alleys & Ruins no. 136, Motor City

Packard Automotive Plant, now has no windows...

The Packard Plant is the largest industrial ruin in the country. I’ve explored many parts of it, but it is just incredibly huge. I shot a short video this time around that lets you get a glimpse of its enormity.

Alleys & Ruins no. 129, Bond & Bailey

The Bond & Bailey machine shop has lost a neighbor and now seems lonely… The graffiti below was on the side wall

Alleys & Ruins no. 63, Smash

Smash! The back alley of the abandoned Metropolitan Building.

The 2006 Super Bowl was held at Ford Field in Detroit. To avoid embarrassment, the city tried to clean up the downtown area. I was there for the street festivities, and saw they had added lights to the interiors of some of the abandoned skyscrapers, torn down some of the worst buildings, repaired some windows, added doors, created fake storefronts, deported the homeless, and… put up plywood on the smashed window in the alley of the abandoned Metropolitan Building.

Below are images of the front of the building. The hearts and letters have been there for at least a decade.

The neo-gothic Metropolitan building was built in 1924 and was for a time the home to many of the city’s finest jewelers. It was closed permanently in 1977.

The neo-gothic Metropolitan building

Alleys & Ruins no. 81, Heidelberg Project

The Doll House in the Heidelberg Project survives! Few of the original dolls remain from 2005, when I shot it, and the ones that were still there were bleached and droopy remnants of their former selves. And of course the entire dadaesque Heidelberg project is still going strong!

M.I.A - places I couldn't find

Left: Alleys & Ruins no. 79, Tunnel. Right: Alleys & Ruins no. 69, Enter

Alley 69, and many of the buildings along W Jefferson Ave near Zug Island, are now gone. That stretch of road was one of the longest unbroken strings of blighted abandoned buildings I had seen in the city.

And I have never been able to find Tunnel again, but no doubt it still exists.

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