Jersey City – The smoke may have cleared but the search continues for both the bodies of the victims and the perpetrators of this violent attack, which took place last night in this sleepy neighborhood of a once great factory town… okay, only kidding.
Change is a constant. Life is an endless symphony of flux. If we lived in a rural area, an agrarian culture, our daily landscapes would be determined by the patterns of the season, as such, predictable year in and year out. You know when to reap and you know to sow; fields turn brown then green. Weather affects urban folk, but not to that extent, mainly in what we wear or if we’re rooting for the Jets or the Mets.
While a deliberate act of demolition, this was no attack.
Our greater flux is our city. Even before gentrification put a new gleam of greed in the beady eyes of developers and politicians, construction and destruction was for cities, as constant as the weather, although far less predictable. You walk by this corner – Manila and First, even now I cannot recall precisely – and you think when did this happen, why are they tearing what appeared as a perfectly adequate building and what will they replace it with and if whatever replaces it will negatively impact your cost of living.There it is, reduced to rubble ready to be hauled away; indisputable proof of change. You see a building being built and then it is there and you think of the building, admire it, process how it is occupying the space that was there and doing so makes you forget the memory of that space before the existence of the edifice. Not so with destruction. Demolition invites narrative. You wonder about the destruction and what the building used to be there for, and who used the buildings, what were their moments and experiences that occurred there? When did this happen? When was the last time it was whole? When was the last time you saw this in use? Then you think what will be built, did you read about this potential change somewhere? The internal narrative changes from piecing together the past to anticipating the future.
But what the truth is that life is change, and be it nature or civilization, flux not stability is the constant rule of mortality. You and me, we come and go but our city is never finished.