Thursday, May 28, 2015

Camden Prison Demo

Demolition begins at Camden's waterfront prison

Camden Prison Demo

Wednesday's tearing down of a fence to begin demolition of Riverfront State Prison will probably be one of the last ceremonial events for outgoing Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison and outgoing NJ Gov. Jon Corzine.  

They're the two in the middle, watching the excavator's claw rip down a chain link fence inside the prison.  I've been to lots of ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings where everyone holds the giant scissors or bronze-plated shovels and acts happy for the picture. The residents and politicians and officials here looked genuinely ecstatic. And I don't think it was just for television because most of the cameras were pointed at the loud rumbling heavy equipment excavator.

Residents of North Camden opposed the NJ State Riverfront Prison long before it opened twenty-four years ago. It has been long considered an impediment to the development of the city's waterfront - an area with easy access to Philadelphia and dramatic waterfront views - and planners hope to transform the 16-acre site into a mix of affordable and market-rate housing units along with commercial and recreational development.

Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

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Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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