A power center turns over a new leaf, only to find more grubs.

IMG_6925

About a year ago I explored one of the few retail typologies that seems to be growing in prevalence during this turbulent era: the power center. It’s essentially the only physical construction that suburban retail developers are building these days. And they usually look like little more than a strip mall on steroids—which, apparently, is …Read more…

Mall department stores: will the last one please turn the lights out?

img_6617

We’ve been hearing and witnessing for years the turbulent state of American retail. Conventional sellers of durable goods—of housewares, sporting goods, electronics, and clothes—have suffered in general, and malls have suffered in particular. But even more salient have been the struggles of the historic department stores to our malls. Scarcely a week goes by when …Read more…

Enhanced security and its bleak, inconvenient aftermath.

img_4736

These days, if you’re looking to fly out of Newark Liberty International (EWR) and you have no choice but to approach this widely transit-accessible airport by car, chances are strong that you’ll save big bucks by opting for one of the independent, off-site parking providers. And then, if you opt for one of those off-site …Read more…

Another defunct college campus, cleft in two.

img_6561

If I call this article my third installment in a trilogy on abandoned campuses, I guess that implies that I’m done with the subject for a while. And I am. But after exploring old campuses in small cities (or perhaps “big towns” is the better term) in Nebraska and South Dakota, it’s time to take a …Read more…

MONTAGE: An abandoned building is bad enough. But what about an abandoned campus?

img_4998

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a mostly photo-driven blog article, and I can’t think of a richer array from recent years than that of Dana College, a private educational institution founded in Blair, Nebraska. Originally affiliated with the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Association (the denomination and nationality of the original pioneer founders), various …Read more…

T e d i u m: dead malls morph to artistic frontiers.

detroit-008

I just learned something I wouldn’t have expected even a week ago: that someone has asked permission to feature an American Dirt photo in a vaporwave video. Not something I would have ever expected, but here it is. At first blush, it might not seem like much: nothing more than a lingering, static view of …Read more…

Kmart: Blue light specials have left them in the red.

IMG_4251

It’s happening again! Sears Holding Corporation (SHLD) has announced yet another wave of closures for its two flagship brands, Kmart and Sears.  This time it looks like ten Sears stores will be closing, including one in the Southland Mall in Houma, Louisiana—a mall that was already struggling when I blogged about it in 2012. I’d speculate …Read more…

GUEST POST: Monuments of the City – Part II.

H (1)

And now, in the second part of this two-part guest post, I will let the words–and the magnificent images–speak for themselves…with one exception.  I can’t help but point out the coincidence that guest writer/photographer Steve Polston chose to include a building that I, too, photographed several years ago.  The second photo that appears on this Part …Read more…