Before we even got to the parking garage (I put a red dot on the satellite image of it, below, image courtesy of Google Maps, which rock), we were looking at the attractive, old cemetery on S. Clinton Avenue (I put a yellow dot on the image below where the cemetery is), thinking about the trip we took to Camden a few months ago (I blogged about the differences and similarities between Trenton and Camden here).
(Image courtesy of Google Maps)
What struck us in Camden, was the condition of an old cemetery, which was well on its way to becoming a landfill. No, Trenton hasn't sunk that low, but the cemetery across from the Trenton train station sees thousands of people walking by each week, many are non-residents, going to and from work. This cemetery is loaded up with litter, along the boundary it shares with the sidewalk. People, unfortunately, as a whole, have some piggish tendencies, and I'd be willing to bet money that the locals are piggier than the outsiders. I blame the locals because commuters tend to not drink on the way to work, and/or toss their empties into cemeteries, or discard their old prescription drug containers in cemeteries when there are perfectly good trash cans at their homes and offices. Because of the the tight space between the bars of the fencing, I don't have many full landscape shots to show you all the litter, but this kinda sums up what every few inches of the sidewalk edge of the cemetery looks like.
Glen and I thought about going in, maybe to clean up, maybe to just assess the damage — it was an impulsive thought, quickly dashed by the fact the gates were chained up.
We made our way over to the parking deck, and saw a happy little squirrel with an entire chocolate chip cookie. Lucky guy!
Once atop the garage, we walked around and I took some shots in each direction, as best as I was able. True West was difficult because the buildings in front of the garage on S. Clinton Avenue, are a wee bit taller than the parking garage.
To the North:
To the Northwest:
To the South:
Over all, the view of the South Ward was the most hopeful, and it wasn't just because the sun shone on it ever so nicely. But I'm not sure why vandals and/or community activists have not yet climbed the Manex water tower and removed the big M Logo of Betrayal. I hope someone gets on that soon. If you need pointers, just ask the guys in the North Ward along Olden who keep capturing the water tower in the name of the city's Polish, or the Bloods, or whatever group is ambitious enough to climb up it with several cans of paint on any given month. I know it represents a serious character defect, but wow, I admire people who vandalize water towers. Sure, their energy could and should be harnessed for more productive acts, acts more helpful to society, but you gotta admit they are different than your average, petty graffiti artists. ANYONE could tag an overpass, or the side of the building. I never have, but I know I could if I wanted (but I don't). And if I could do it, anyone could, and that's why the knuckleheads who make street-level scribble are so incredibly lame and vulgar. It takes a special, brave, dedicated someone to climb a hundred or more feet in the air, carrying paint and brushes, risking life, limb, and arrest, to spread their message. Don't you think?
Come on, water tower artists, the Manex Tower is essentially a smooth, blank canvas awaiting your colorful brand of love. To quote West Ward Council rep, Annette Lartigue (somewhat out of context, admittedly), "Take it back, take it back."
I spent a lot of time taking pictures of the East Ward, which is where we live. It looks abysmal from on top of the garage, and while we know there are plenty of beautiful homes and tree-lined streets, what struck us was that an outsider would basically see a ruined, rusted, burned-out, boarded-up landscape, with the towers of Trenton Central High School poking proudly through the wreckage. So I want to thank the school board personally for guaranteeing the school's fate will be that akin to all the decay in the foreground.
And to finish up, here's a shot directly below where we were standing:
It's so distressing that the views of Trenton, to our visitors, are, on a whole, so sad, so uninspiring, and send a clear message that we're content to shit where we eat and sleep, something most species do not do. Plenty of us do care, and do engage in activities which help. But what a challenge: for every one of us working to improve our city in the ways that we can, there are at least four people who are not helping — that's a guess, nothing scientific, though I base it roughly on the 80/20 principle: 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. It's a consolation, in a sense, to frame the same thought in terms of the losers and knuckleheads around town, too: 80% of the damage is done by only 20% of the losers and knuckleheads. Maybe we can reach those people in the gray area and pull them over to our side. Maybe.