With the stock market hitting record highs day after day, it is easy to move on and forget that one of American’s once premier cities, Detroit, has been bankrupt for nearly a year. But out of mind doesn’t mean out of sight, especially now that Google has launched its street view Time Machine, which provides for 7 years worth of street images, capturing the time shift of the tumultuous period period starting in 2007. One blogger who decided to take this time lapse data and apply it to the city of Detroit is GooBing Detroit who, as the following time-lapse photos demonstrate, has captured Detoit’s unprecedented slow-motion collapse into death and decay in what is the closest we have to “real time.”
Perhaps what is most stunning about the following series of photos is not the ultimate fate of the bankrupt city, but how quickly a once vibrant metropolis has succumbed to blight and sheer desperation.
Hopefully not coming to a street near you.
All photos from the Goobingdetroit tumblr depict various areas and streets in Detroit, then and now.
Montlieu between Gilbo and French, City Airport Neighborhood. Top to bottom Google streetview circa 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Chene between Palmer and Ferry. 15 of the 20 properties on this block have been, or are subject to, tax foreclosure. Looked like a nice bakery.
Healy Street north of Hamtramck
2013 – August
Exeter between 7 Mile and Penrose, Northern Detroit.
Around 7 Mile, West Side
Northwest, near Grand River
West Golden Gate, Detroit
East side, near Alter Road
Patton Street, NW Detroit
Feel like you can kind of see how this scene unfolded:
In the top photo, the tree is blocking the view of that yellow house in the middle — that house isn’t in great shape, but it’s ok. The house to the left has neatly trimmed hedges and a chair on the porch. The house on the right has been gutted by fire.
I imagine that middle house – since it’s been demo’d by 2012 – caught on fire and caused the further damage to the house at the right. Whoever had been living in the nicely maintained house on the left, moved out, and that house was gutted.
In the last photo — with the nicely maintained house farthest to the right — you see another nice house on the left, with a boarded up, but fairly stable, house in the middle. By 2012, both nice houses are gutted, as is the boarded up one in the middle.
Near City Airport. Wonder why they didn’t take down the one next door while they were at it…
From top to bottom: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013. Hickory Street between Manning and Pinewood, northeast Detroit.
Of the 12,093 properties in this Detroit neighborhood, 1,037 are owned by the City of Detroit, mostly due to tax foreclosure. Another ~4,500 are either subject to tax foreclosure right now, or will be in the next year or two.
Eastwood between Queen and MacCray, Northwest Detroit. Just east of Osborn, in “Burbank”… if anyone actually calls it that. Of the 34 properties on this block, 24 have been tax foreclosed, 13 are at risk of foreclosure, and precisely 1 property is in good tax standing.
Corner of Thaddeus and S. Leigh Street, Southwest Detroit. That’s a lotta washing machines…
Hazelridge between Celestine and MacCray, Northeast Detroit
This block is incredible. Still pretty dense with housing, but only one of them is occupied. If you go a block to the west, the housing stock changes to brick and the neighborhood looks pretty stable.
The New York Times visited this block during the Motor City Mapping survey:
“Blight, as Karl Baker, one Detroit resident, has seen, tends to spread. Along his block of Hazelridge Street on the East Side, he is the only remaining tenant. “Everyone went bye-bye,” Mr. Baker said the other day as he walked up the center of the silent street to get to his house since no sidewalks had been shoveled.
Most of the houses nearby are standing but abandoned, and visitors have clearly passed through — empty liquor bottles lie along debris-covered floors near broken windows and doors, every memory of a metal appliance or gutter seems to be gone from some of the homes, and two old couches that were dumped along a lawn are now blanketed by a thick layer of snow.
The last neighbor left six months ago, he said, and the single streetlight overhead has not worked for months. “I love the quiet, but if something went wrong, the city isn’t going to come,” Mr. Baker said. “They don’t do anything.”
Hoyt between Liberal and Pinewood, Northeast Detroit
Arndt between Elmwood and Ellery, East Side, Detroit
Lady waving to the street view car in the first image, c. 2009. Nearby the Heidelberg Project, and in the style, though not sure if a Tyree or not.