While urban blight is wrong and sad and hideous for several reasons, it can also be exhilarating to ogle. Consider the voyeuristic tourism of Detroit’s former factories, and every last photographer’s obsession with decrepit post-industrial abandonment. Boston has a long way to go before repairing all the broken windows, and the war to keep natives put through gentrification is already getting ugly. At the same time, there is remarkable progress underway from Dorchester to East Boston, as Mayor Marty Walsh has pledged to revitalize all sorts of corners and develop city property for fair and equitable use. In the meantime, get to know your small walking metropolis before every neighborhood begins to look like Legacy Place in Dedham.
Dudley Square and the Ferdinand Building
The geographic center of this great city, Dudley Square is finally en route to once again becoming the gem and destination that it once was. But before the school department moves into the Ferdinand along with all kinds of new businesses, head down and snap a couple pics of the building’s shell before it gets entirely covered. History in the making.
The East Boston Waterfront
Over the next few months, the Dig will be looking at the rapid displacement of renters and homeowners in Eastie, as developers build out the waterfront and scatter local families. While they’re still in construction, take a look at the conditions that the low income community there lived with for years, and be sure to holler loudly at the predatory real estate turds circling the area.
The only theory that makes sense about why Cleary Square got lost in time is that former Mayor Tom Menino liked keeping his home base of Hyde Park under the radar. Before it’s inevitably re-structured, peep this prime example of inept urban planning, and grab a bite at the kickass Fairmount Grille while you’re at it.
City Hall and City Hall Plaza
Sure, this may not qualify as urban blight, per se. But without making any more cliché jokes about City Hall, we’ll just note how much Mayor Walsh despises the place, and say it looks like his administration wants to spiff things up. While the cold shell remains, though, let’s pretend it’s cool we still have such a distinct and retro brick box for a municipal headquarters. If you’ve never been inside, this would be the time.
The fight over the rapidly corroding bridge of horror above the Forest Hills station in Jamaica Plain continues, even though the state is right about to tear the sucker down. Before they do, get a picture of yourself beneath a true wonder, and watch out for the falling metal. If that’s not frightening enough, head for the McCarthy Overpass in Somerville.