Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cabrini's Illuminated Fall

On March 30, the wrecking ball swings into the building at 1230 N. Burling St., the last of Cabrini-Green's high rises.

Built between 1942 and 1962, Cabrini became the poster child for failed public housing. It was an anti-oasis, a 70-acre patch of 15,000 poor, black residents bordering but segregated from Chicago's richest neighborhoods in the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park. Cabrini's collapse into drugs, gangs and violence made it infamous - as did the 1970s TV show Good Times, in which the opening credits play over the blighted landscape.

Developers have been demolishing Cabrini bit by bit since the late 1990s, moving residents to mixed-income housing across the city and suburbs. The building on Burling is the last to go. You can watch the event in real time at Project Cabrini Green. The Museum of Contemporary Art and several youth-oriented Cabrini nonprofit groups have turned the demolition site into a lighted artwork that will have a beautiful demise.

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