Episode 7: Demolition
With the fate of the Broadway Markets in limbo, Dee digs up older background on the area, including original footage from the 2007 demolition of historic buildings in preparation for building the Marketplace project. And Frank finally offers to help!
Demolition is a great metaphor for this season: we were torn down and now it looks like we’re making something completely new in its place. Frank’s actually back this time! And with a completely different topic. No, we’re not off topic. We’re rebooting. The first few seasons of the show talked about art and we’re going back to our roots… for the next two episodes.
When the Marketplace project began, I was working for Dave Holmes and Dan Winner getting video of the project, hearings, interviews, etc. with the idea that it could eventually become a documentary. That idea died along with the adverse economy. However, I still had the footage and thought it might be interesting to people here today to see some of the issues around the demolition and what the area used to look like before and during the time it happened.
I remember as I was filming how fragile those little buildings looked as they were torn down. It was also interesting to hear from the crew the dangers and problems of demolition in the city, for example:
- Basements are especially treacherous, as they can swallow a person or even a bulldozer if not completely filled in.
- Abandoned buildings become home to urban wildlife, such as rats, possums and even people, which are suddenly homeless after demolition.
- Fell's Point's older row houses, built side by side with no space in between. often end up providing support and protection for each other. When one is torn down, it can be really difficult to stabilize and finish the outer wall of the building next to it.
- The checkered history of many old buildings meant that parts were sometimes built on what was technically a different lot, creating issues during sale, demolition and rebuilding.