Okay. It has been brought to my attention by no less than three other people that the Most Dangerous City in America
photo essay appears to have been skewed to reflect that dubious title. Let me qualify this. While it's true that I didn't
necessarily shoot pictures downtown or at the waterfront or around Rutgers University, it is because I have been to each
of these places before and already have a stock of photos from them. I wanted to see parts of Camden I've never seen before,
as with different Philly neighborhood tours. |
With this in mind, however . . . I thought it would be fair to Camden to whittle my stock of nearly 400 pictures down to the best 100. Camden's not all bad -- just a lot bad. So consider the following essay, broken down into five easily digestable sections -- downtown, neighborhoods, buildings, blight and the waterfront -- "Camden Part II, the good, the bad, the ugly, and still the most dangerous." I'll reiterate: I didn't make that title up, Morgan Quitno did. As well, just the other day (May 31, 2005), the Windsor (Ontario) Star ran a piece entitled "Fear is Camden, N.J.'s principal commodity," quite a declaration from the uber-safe Canadian city just across the river from America's perennial whipping boy, Detroit.
But not all hope is lost. Personally, I have much love for Camden and genuinely wish I could have seen it in the 50s. Or at least some time before the race riots, or the mass arson, or the oceans of parking lots replaced the former industry and separated the city's greatest asset from its constituency. It doesn't take Jane Jacobs or James Howard Kunstler or Inga Saffron to tell you that Camden's waterfront is geared toward suburbanites and tourists and does little, if not nothing, to benefit the city whose address it bares. And it's a shame . . . but I'm pulling for you Camden, and so is the Courier-Post, which itself deserted you for the greener pasteurs of Cherry Hill years ago.
On with the show, this is it.