Delray at night

Posted by jdg | 9:29 AM | , ,

I wasn't expecting to be in Delray after dark the other evening, but there was a little incident with the Department of Homeland Security I hadn't been planning that delayed me an hour or so. Apparently they interrogate and try to confiscate the cameras of anyone they find taking pictures of industrial sites. But that's a story for another day.

Delray is a little neighborhood of Detroit isolated by highways and railroads and water. It's extremely blighted and residents have been displaced by increasing industrial activity and the city's wastewater treatment facilities. It also has a very distinct smell. The community of people who still live there seems like a tight-knit resilient group of hardcore folks, such as this guy who lives across the street from the hangout of a biker gang called the "Iron Coffins." My friend in high school used to live by a hangout of the local chapter of the Iron Coffins and we used to dare each other to drive by and yell, "Iron Coffins suck!" 'cause they would throw beer bottles and yell "Fuuuuuck you!" in unison.

I took this photo from the parking lot next door to their Detroit hangout. I did not yell "Iron Coffins suck!"

The fire is from the steel plants on Zug Island, a wholly-industrial island in the Detroit River accessible only by two private bridges in Delray. Peter Jackson could have saved a few million dollars and just filmed all the scenes from Mordor in Lord of the Rings on Zug Island. I swear a minute or so after I packed up my camera a giant blue flame shot fifty feet up in the air from somewhere on Zug Island. Then the Lord of the Nazg├╗l flew overhead on his way to Dearborn.

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