The old Pabst brewery sits abandoned and boarded up. It was built to look like some sort of Bavarian castle. When CNN or The Times wants to show Milwaukee as a city on the rise, they show our lakefront, our art museum designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. When they want to show us as another crumbling rivet in the rust belt, they show the old Pabst brewery, a vast and weedy lot in the foreground.
Katie and I took a Polaroid down there once to try to take some arty photos. I stuck the camera through a hole in one of the plywood boards where a window used to be. The flash went off.
Leaning against the big brown bricks, we watched together as the image slowly rendered: a mattress, atop the mattress, a man sleeping in his dirty clothes; a long hallway, in a dark and empty castle.
City of Glass