©2010 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia
A view of the ongoing demolition of Cabrini-Green buildings in Chicago. However bad the crime was in some public housing – and it was quite bad according to photographers here at the Trib many years ago – it is still a gut-wrenching site to see homes torn down. The painted apartment walls in the buildings hint at the pride that some of the residents took in their dwellings. Over the last decade I’ve been to Cabrini on assignment several times, and althought I’ve had run-ins with gang members, I was struck by the communitarian ethos among some of the residents struggling to raise their kids properly and to live a normal life. At one point I was standing with a group of moms with painter’s pants, brushes and caps, painting their lobby a bright red color. On the other side of the lobby were young, able-bodied kids with bandannas over their faces, running around in a pack, as if they were trying to avoid getting caught. It was fairly evident in that moment that no matter of paint could rescue a building crumbling from within.