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Old 12-09-2010, 08:12 PM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
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Quote:
I find old rusty wharehouses and brick buildings appealing to the eyes. Does anyone else feel like this?
Yes yes YES! Love it. Particularly in the late afternoon sun, or under a dramatic cloudy sky.

I've done some travelling and have to say there is a lot of this characterful grit in the Mid Atlantic. Scranton/Wilkes Barre especially, but also along the Great Lakes...Buffalo and Cleveland. Cincinnati has a lot of this, too, in the Mill Creek Valley and "Basin" area (not just factories but old tenements).

Another great place for industrial grit is the more backwater parts of New England, like Holyoke, Mass, Norwich & Waterbury Conn, North Adams, Conn, and (honorary mention) Troy/Cohoes area of upstate NY. Also a bit of this in Syracuse and Rochester (around that big waterfall just north of downtown Rochester).
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Old 12-09-2010, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Blue Ash, Ohio (Cincinnati)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
Yes yes YES! Love it. Particularly in the late afternoon sun, or under a dramatic cloudy sky.

I've done some travelling and have to say there is a lot of this characterful grit in the Mid Atlantic. Scranton/Wilkes Barre especially, but also along the Great Lakes...Buffalo and Cleveland. Cincinnati has a lot of this, too, in the Mill Creek Valley and "Basin" area (not just factories but old tenements).

Another great place for industrial grit is the more backwater parts of New England, like Holyoke, Mass, Norwich & Waterbury Conn, North Adams, Conn, and (honorary mention) Troy/Cohoes area of upstate NY. Also a bit of this in Syracuse and Rochester (around that big waterfall just north of downtown Rochester).
Buffalo's grit is top notch.... if that makes any sense. There really hasn't been a lot of development along Buffalo's lakefront, and there are some awesome vacant warehouses sitting along the expressway. Good stuff indeed.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Cleveland, OH
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Anthony Bourdain had a good write-up about Cleveland and how he likes "the uniquely quirky charm of what remains, the delightfully offbeat attitude of those who struggle to go on in a city they love and would never dream of leaving."

The Original (Goodbye Splendor) Anthony Bourdain
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Carrboro and Concord, NC
964 posts, read 2,049,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtownboogie View Post
I know this is going to sound crazy to some of you, but I have a real liking of "rustbelt" cities. I find old rusty wharehouses and brick buildings appealing to the eyes. Does anyone else feel like this?
I don't find decay appealing, or the human cost of it, so what has become of the rust belt cities is deeply troubling because of that.

That stated, I agree with most of what you are getting at, and I don't find it crazy at all.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect. That did not come to pass, but I still have the interest, and the rust belt cities are architectural wonderlands. The U.S. has a strange and ambivalent relationship with history, and often seems to consider cities to be disposable (along with a lot of other things that should not be considered disposable). It's sad to me that both the beauty and social/historic/cultural value embodied by the grand architecture in many rust belt cities isn't given a greater respect.

Here in the NC Triangle, I've gotten to know a number of "progressives" - and the ones I know who grew up in the rust belt have often moved back: they aren't afraid of work, community building, trying to revitalize and energize people. I have a friend who came here to NC and moved back - an organic urban farmer and her filmmaker boyfriend - and she's one of the only people I've ever met who can talk about Detroit in a hopeful tone of voice.

That is soooo needed - folks who aren't going to give up , and aren't afraid to roll up sleeves and get their hands dirty. It's been exciting to me - born and raised in the Sunbelt - to see the Southeast slough off a lot if it's crazy Faulkner history and transform into a region with at least a few pockets of cosmopolitanism. However, there are people in the SE with short memories, and fail to remember when things weren't so good in this part of the country. The older cities around the Great Lakes are also a reminder to not let success go to your head, don't get lazy, and don't take your success for granted, and - in places like Raleigh-Durham (which I can speak of firsthand) there are many people committing those very sins.

You hear so many Rust Belt horror stories - the media loves them. Apart from the friends I mentioned above, I have a friend (NC native) who moved to Buffalo for grad school. He's heard so much horrible crap he almost didn't go. He loves it. He found a great place in a great old (but well-kept) building, isn't paying an arm and a leg for it. Buffalo has serious, serious issues, but he'd heard so much unanimously awful stuff about the city that I don't think he was expecting the many pleasant surprises he's also encountered. Ditto for the folks I know who have moved back to Rochester, Duluth, Detroit (!) and Pittsburgh.

I love the South and the modernization of the Sunbelt has been very exciting to see, but the Rustbelt is a great, great region - and definitely not dead.

If global warming pans out, and water becomes severely scarce in parts of the Sunbelt (the Southwest in particular), cities (and the real estate in them) around the Great Lakes (the largest reserve of fresh water in the world) will suddenly be exceptionally lucrative, and those cities and states and provinces are very much aware of that fact.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Parkridge, East Knoxville, TN
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I do too, but the economic and social prospects of such places keep me from relocating to one. I google street beautiful small rustbelt towns along midwestern waterways all the time, but the declining populations just seem to put a damper on their prosperity and dynamism. A typical example would be Wheeling, WV or Dunkirk, NY.
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:23 PM
 
Location: NC/IL/MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtownboogie View Post
I know this is going to sound crazy to some of you, but I have a real liking of "rustbelt" cities. I find old rusty wharehouses and brick buildings appealing to the eyes. Does anyone else feel like this?
they call it a "beautiful decay".
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:10 PM
 
Location: west mich
5,740 posts, read 5,874,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtownboogie View Post
I know this is going to sound crazy to some of you, but I have a real liking of "rustbelt" cities. I find old rusty wharehouses and brick buildings appealing to the eyes. Does anyone else feel like this?
I agree. I travel Michigan in the summer. The most boring places to drive through are miles upon miles of farmland, suburban residential areas with big manicured lawns, shopping districts with "cattle-run" streets & strip malls. The most interesting places are small towns with old buildings & barns, industrial areas of larger cities.
A favorite place of mine to explore was the Delray area of Detroit with its narrow streets and artifacts which make you wonder about their history.
The brick-red color of rust is one of my favorite colors (witness the universal appeal of sepia-toned photographs).
Where do fine art photographers go for subject matter? Not to the places mentioned above!
You're not alone in this - many people are intrigued by ruins of old buildings and unlawfully explore them!
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Carrboro and Concord, NC
964 posts, read 2,049,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calvinbama View Post
I do too, but the economic and social prospects of such places keep me from relocating to one. I google street beautiful small rustbelt towns along midwestern waterways all the time, but the declining populations just seem to put a damper on their prosperity and dynamism. A typical example would be Wheeling, WV or Dunkirk, NY.
I know what you're saying - I haven't moved up there either - I'm massively attached to North Carolina: the climate, the landscape. I've got family in both the Rust Belt, in Florida, and on the West Coast, and have seriously considered moving to all of those places, but there are definitely things I would miss.

But - to address the declining populations observation, I'd throw an example out:

If certain Rust Belt cities wanted to check out declining cities who have successfully reversed their fortunes - Charleston SC and Asheville NC. The Civil War put Charleston out of business, in Asheville it was the Great Depression.

Asheville was the fastest growing city in NC 1890s-1920s, at one point it was the 3rd largest city in the state (once upon a time, Asheville was larger than Durham, Raleigh, Greensboro, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem or High Point). This ended in 1929. The city collapsed so absolutely into virtual bankruptcy that the state had to bail it out and assume some of the governance to keep the city from defaulting. 3 decades of ferocious growth were followed by 50 years (1930 until the mid 1980s) of population declines; industry was long dead and the city was decrepit by the 60s.

Asheville is now famed for it's art deco downtown, scrupulously preserved and well-populated. In the 50s, the city wanted to tear down all of the blight, but was still too broke to do so. Beginning in the 60s, the city was colonized by artists, hippies, gay people - many of whom also turned out to be savvy entrepreneurs who were willing to work their butts off. No one else was moving there, and you could get old buildings dirt cheap. It took 2-3 decades for this to hit a serious critical mass, and transform the city into what it is now, but it has been a phenomenal resurrection. And because of the organic nature of it, it's a vibrant Southern city that doesn't look or feel like any other Southern city.

This might be a model for some of the rust belt cities. It took 50+ years in Asheville (and more like 100 in Charleston), but it did eventually really reinvent those places in ways that have drawn a certain degree of fame very much unlike whatever it was they were famous for before.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, Florida
15,400 posts, read 19,592,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
Yes yes YES! Love it. Particularly in the late afternoon sun, or under a dramatic cloudy sky.

I've done some travelling and have to say there is a lot of this characterful grit in the Mid Atlantic. Scranton/Wilkes Barre especially, but also along the Great Lakes...Buffalo and Cleveland. Cincinnati has a lot of this, too, in the Mill Creek Valley and "Basin" area (not just factories but old tenements).

Another great place for industrial grit is the more backwater parts of New England, like Holyoke, Mass, Norwich & Waterbury Conn, North Adams, Conn, and (honorary mention) Troy/Cohoes area of upstate NY. Also a bit of this in Syracuse and Rochester (around that big waterfall just north of downtown Rochester).
I understand what the OP means and I love old buildings and architecture. I also agree with you that Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has some architectural "gems".

Downtown Scranton Photos

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Photographs That I Found At Various Websites. .
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:49 PM
 
56,761 posts, read 81,102,256 times
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What's also interesting about the grit in some communities in Upstate NY is that you can find smaller industrial or what I call "company towns" that have the same type of feel and are generally safe. Off the top of my head, places like Solvay, East Syracuse, Endicott, Johnson City, Lackawanna, Tonawanda(city), North Tonawanda, Cohoes, Rensselaer, Watervliet, Dunkirk, Amsterdam, Gloversville, Ilion, Fulton and East Rochester, among some others. Binghamton, Utica, Rome, Watertown and Niagara Falls have such areas waiting to be discovered and revamped too.
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