Monday, March 21, 2011

Back Lot

The Newport Mall and strip malls to the south and north of the enclosed shopping center protect Newport residents from the grungier (admittedly grunge has become a dwindling resource hereabouts) Jersey City neighborhoods residents. They’re a barrier that also creates a no-man’s land, a neutral territory of consumerism. We come here to shop then we go home, heading either closer or further away from the waterfront (what used to called simply the river.) The bustle of the stores, the bright promise of sales signage, a need to get the best parking spot. The complex of stores is common throughout the land. More often unseen though is what goes on behind the stores, the lonely and anonymous desolate lots and garbage receptacles. Could be anywhere in America, seriously... that is what has happened – chain stores spread throughout the land and all the highways look the same, all the strip malls look the same, and all the back lots of the stores look like this. Regional distinctiveness is another dwindling resource in the USA. Nothing here like everywhere else, then the light rail rolls through and you realize it is different and you catch the train and go away, some other stop that looks unlike every place else, that looks like our city, that looks like home.

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