Camden, It’s Coming Back Baby!
Greetings from Camden, NJ. Some of these shots were taken from inside a bus as it rumbled its way along the potholes of Broadway. Situated in South Jersey, Camden sits across the river from Philadelphia and is largely famous for its high crime statistics, and being broke . . . In my ongoing exploration of New Jersey car parks (!) who knew I was going to have the fun of meeting Desiree, then Kevin and James - all of whom were happy to smile - "nice camera you got there!" and high-five the glories of Camden. And when they tell me Camden's on the up, you sort of want to believe them . . . . * * * * *
on the photo with kevin and james: in a dream i saw a city invincible…
They are the words of the poet, Walt Whitman, who spent his last years in Camden and it was indeed a manufacturing powerhouse and home to the biggest shipbuilding company in the world. Once upon a long time ago sadly.
I didn’t know it left, but truly wish all the struggling cities a comeback. Great post Patti! Margie
The shells of industry are there but that’s about all. One huge old building is being converted into condos but who is going to buy / live there I don’t know when the general poverty of the area is in so much need of help.
Those beautiful happy people tell the real story! Love all your photos!
We all have our stories! Thank you so much Annie!
Hope you’re right. Photos full of character!
The Camden murder map for this year isn’t looking too good and I guess, for some, Hope is just a town in Arkansas! Certainly tons of character, thank you Elena!
Hats off to them for being so upbeat about their town !!!
I know it’s not about me Pat but they made my day!
Certainly looks like it has some stories to tell 🙂
So many stories to tell!
You’re single-handedly going to bring New Jersey to the forefront.
It’s a fascinating part of the world Tom!
Wonderful positive hopeful message.
Have to start somewhere!
Wonderful pictures, Patti.
Thank you Arindam!
Lovely insight into Camden.
There was so much more I wanted to explore. . . . Thank you MBL.
Fantastic travelogue, Patti! Wonderful, lively, up portraits – great stuff!
Thank you Richard. There were so many more photos I wanted to take, and didn’t, which made it all the more surprising when they actually called out for me with their great smiles and poses.
cool smile 🙂
I want to believe it, too… what incredibly warm smiles!
Hope so Sig, it’s a bit of a wild west out there, with warm smiles!
Clearly a place requiring a Worlds End Pub and Rock Venue 😉 Desiree has a great smile – give her my best wishes next time you see her 🙂 Oh! and tell the plod not to stand so camp – no one’s going to take them seriously 😉
Martin, I could never tell the policeman how to stand (which incidentally I hadn’t noticed!) – he was a BIG man, plus with all that kit I was taking him seriously and staying well out of his way!
Thank you for your warm wishes which I shall be sure to pass on to D. if ever I have the pleasure of meeting her again!
We’re used to only seeing the ‘cinema American Cop’ in the UK – I suspect that your image shows the true community side… A friendly chat with one of the citizens on his block 🙂 Something that our police have less and less time to do 😦
Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions but I thought all the men in this group were police – they seemed to have a certain camaraderie and the man on the far left was wearing a shoulder holster . . . I took this shot in the car park / vacant lot at City Hall which seems to be a busy part of town given that the state of NJ pulled the plug on financing the police because it ran out of money to do so. Camden City Police was liquidated back in April and it is now run by Camden County at a proposed saving of $20 million – unions, contracts and shift differentials!
You might enjoy this from the local press and, as usual, it’s the comments which provide the filler!
The comments are very disturbing Patti 😦 Anyway, I suspect you have the situation correct and that it is me jumping to conclusions regarding the officer in the photo 🙂
Gritty is descriptive.
Wow, Camden. Yikes. I think the pale quality that (maybe?) comes from taking them out the bus window really adds something. It’s appropriate. A faded place. But with the vibrant souls that you always attract. I so love the kind of sculptures/art expressions one finds in places like this (like in the first photo). The sign says Heal Camden, doesn’t it? Amen. I moved to Hoboken before it got trendy – I’m talking way back in the 70’s. It had some of this quality. Keep working on this angle – you’re getting some really good shots. Love those beaming faces.
Thank you BB and yes the sign does say Heal Camden. How that is going to happen, for the people there now, I have no idea when Camden is such a popular shopping spot for the surrounding suburban sprawl when it comes to buying drugs.
ciao! great shots and story.
Thank you so much for your kind thoughts!
A beautiful ode to the persevering spirit of the residents Patti. I hope they can overcome 🙂
Thank you Madhu, let’s hope so!
I’m looking at Camden and thinking that’s how yanks do Lismore .. pk
A very nice post Patti 🙂 Your photos are great as usual even the ones from the bus 🙂 Good luck to Camden people!
Thank you Paula. I walked around as much as I could but I suspect that had I ventured not too far off the beaten track the police might have wanted to know what I was doing there. There were a lot of police about the place.
I knew you were brave, Patti. Take care, dear.
Paula, not sure the police would share your sentiment! Thank you again and you take care too!
everybody has a story
Don’t we just!
Your urban life is certainly very different from around here, but I get some “recolection” from TV. Great series, Patti.
Life in the US provides great copy, so much variety!
The signs tell one story; the faces tell another.
Hope the faces are right.
(I do love the sign that says “We need to talk. God.”
As you say Judith, hope the faces are right!
I forgot to mention the bright shy mall in nearby Cherry Hill, full of designer shops etc, but almost as empty as Camden! Those malls sure do suck the lifeblood out of nearby former main streets . . . .
amused by the sign:
Not sure if this is meant to be a bargain or not . . .
I first saw one of these adverts out in Redhook, Brooklyn, some years ago and took a photo so I would know where to go in the event that I might ever need a divorce. Redhook is now smartening up and the sign is nowhere to be seen.
Love this real reportage ride, Patti.
“Divorce – $300”; that’s rich (pardon the pun)!
Spouse’s signature not required! Does that make it more of a bargain, what price freedom? Love the pun!
From the first hyperlink:
“A police union has sued to stop the move, saying it is risking public safety on an ‘unproven’ idea. But many residents, community groups and elected officials say that the city is simply out of money, out of options, out of patience.”
Certainly seems like it.
“’There’s no alternative, there’s no Plan B,’ the City Council president, Frank Moran, said. ‘It’s the only option we have.’”
Again, it certainly seems like it.
My town of Hamilton is not nearly as bad off as Camden but it reportedly has the poorest neigbourhood in all of Canada; that would be Beasley. I think our city councilors should be mindful of Camden to ensure that things in Hamilton don’t deteriorate to a similar state.
Camden is, in so many different ways, the end of the line and when a poor city goes broke and the State calls it quits, it quickly becomes wild west. The loosey trade is thriving and open air drug markets are a well known feature. As you read, three former mayors have been jailed on corruption charges. And Dunkin’ Donuts is doing a roaring business!
Hope Beasley, and Hamilton, don’t fall over the edge but, for all the problems, there are always good people in there and they deserve a break.
Wow, what car photos; they areadmirable.
Thank you Sartenada!
The faces are a wonderful portrait of Camden. Are they still making Campbell’s soup there? Your wonderful bus vistas a bit discouraging, telling of the scene, but I hope along with your Camdenites that the city is truly coming back.
Thank you Ruth for your support of Camden and yes, Campbell’s still has it world HQ there. Next time I go to Camden I hope to do it by car and venture a little further afield. Have you been there at all?
You have made a wonderful and personal portrait of Camden through these photographs. Very nice, Patti.
Thank you so much Otto. There were so many other photos I wanted to take but perhaps another time, and more after that!
You’ve captured the look and life of dozens of cities in the northeast. With help from people like Desiree, Kevin, and James, those cities can bounce back. I hope they do.
Keep up the great work, Patti.
Sad to say Charles about the dozens of cities in the northeast, but there has to be something for all the gorgeous little tots in these cities to look forward to, doesn’t there?
Patti…..Thanks for your wonderful photographic insight to Camden N.J.
It really was a pleasure, thank you so much burgessart!
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Regards from Poland;)
Thank you and greetings to you in Poland!