June 5th, 2004

my name up in lights


Hey Kids,

My 'hood here in Toronto is a complex place where there is more to decay than surfaces or accidental circumstances. Look at this great old apartment block (1910-1930ish?) on Queen Street. Tied up in court and abandoned a few years ago after a fire that claimed two lives. What a disgrace and shame on the bastard that owns it.

Too many low rent tenants (many in the area are mental health outpatients) in a poorly kept building for starters. Wooden staircases increased the speed at which the fire spread. This area was once quite posh, in fact it was the neighbourhood in Toronto until suburban sprawl really got mad between the 1950s and 1970s. What an eyesore. Sometimes urban decay is just, well...urban decay. I'd rather lose an opportunity to think artsy thoughts about something's texture than have a whole lot more of this in my city.

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Be careful around the rails

notholden had this to say in a recent entry...

It's hard not to be drawn to old rail infrastructure - all that work and effort to build the modern world and now such delightful ruins.

You would like the C&O Canal X. Lots of stone work and rail road contry big time. I'll be scouting for RR infrastructure for both journals in the near future, hope you will as well.

It's probably not so bad in Canada, but those of you in the USA should be very careful when you're photographing trains or railroad equipment. I'm a bit of a railfan myself and over the past few years I have watched the attention towards railroad security grow significantly. Various online groups are being filled with stories of innocent railfans getting harassed by police or federal agents and some have even spent a few days in jail, just for taking pictures of trains from public property.

Railroad police and other authorities are on the watch and will consider anyone collecting information (or photographs) about railroad infrastructure a potential threat. This includes trains (moving or not), track, yards, bridges, etc. This even includes property that is out of regular use or abandoned. Infrastructure is heavily protected under the PATRIOT act and the scope of what is considered infrastructure continues to expand as paranoias increase.

I encourage everyone to be careful about what they do around the rails. When taking pictures, be indiscreet about your activities and don't give them any reason to suspect you may be engaging in subversive acts. The more touristy you look, the less likely you are to spend a night in the drunk tank or get a visit from an FBI agent.