Last summer I wrote about going to the 48 Hour Film Challenge awards, held in a loft overlooking the Packard-plant ruin, and how the arsonists trashing the place thoughtfully put on a fire for us. I think I also mentioned the truck sticking out the window:
Turns out the truck exit was an ongoing project. In September, someone finally got it all the way out. Was it captured on video? Do you even need to ask? The whole package, from the Wall Street Journal, ran last week.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, urban exploration — which is the highfaluting name for people who trespass in abandoned buildings without malice; the rest we just call thieves and vandals — lends a certain energy to the city, and draw more eyes to the beauty of what’s left behind and standing open to the elements. I’m consistently amazed by the things you can find here, from the guy who turned up Marvin Gaye’s checkbook and fur-storage bill in the old Motown office building to the darker, more heartbreaking archaeology undertaken by Jim Griffioen in the abandoned schools. There’s an immature part of me that looks at a crew of guys pushing a truck out a fourth-floor window and says, “There’s something you wouldn’t see in Fort Wayne, ain’a?”
But the adult thinks something else, and finds this the most interesting line in the story:
Its current owner, Romel Casab, did not return calls seeking comment.
The fact the Packard plant even has an owner astonished me; I thought the place had been lost to unpaid taxes eons ago. Casab is a well-known real-estate speculator, and I’m sure he’s hidden himself behind layers of corporate structure, for whenever the inevitable happens; someone is going to die in this building if they haven’t already, and given the legal precedents on attractive nuisances, I’d like to know how he’s insulated.
What am I talking about? No one came after Matty Moroun when the homeless guy got frozen into that warehouse hockey rink last year. The insulation is: No one really cares.
Anyway, I think the anonymous explorer/vandal in the story said it best: “If you decide you want to push a dump truck out of a window, this is the place to do it.”
So. How’s your week going? My sojourn at Wayne State went well. I’m always struck, when I visit, of the difference between it and other college campuses I’ve spent time on. It really is the United Nations of higher ed, so much more diverse in its student body than, say, the University of Michigan, which was hardly White State itself. As usual, there were plenty of girls in Islamic head scarves, dressed otherwise exactly the same as their fellow students, except for the long-sleeves-and-pants thing, which doesn’t look out of place in November. I don’t know if it’s intentional or what, but it underlines that you can cover up a lot of a woman’s body and still have a girl who can turn heads, a fact that probably drives their fathers insane.
Afterward, a Habana wrap at the Russell Street Deli — black beans, roasted corn, tomatoes, onions, peppers, lime vinaigrette, a sprinkling of that light, crumbly cheese. Never has vegetarianism tasted so good.
Which brings us to the bloggage:
Speaking of Jim at Sweet Juniper, you have never seen kids’ Halloween costumes as cute as his kids’, and they’re all handmade.
And now I must hie myself to yon gym. The trainer says he’s going to put us on the ergometers, i.e, rowing machines, i.e. TORTURE IN MECHANICAL FORM, for the remainder of the month. It would be so, so easy to skip. But I must not.