I grabbed the photo at the top of this page when the historic SS United States was first docked at Pier 82 along the Delaware River in Philadelphia in 1996.
And my friend Sean Kardon posted the photo in the tweet embedded below the with a different view captured at the same location just last night.
During the decades in between there have been countless restoration efforts but it’s not easy to contain my skepticism at this point.
You might spot her faded red smokestacks if you pass through our city along I-95 and it’s easy to hop off and catch the same view I recorded more than 20 years ago.
I also remember that the ship was previously docked further south near Oregon Avenue for some time but that period is never reported in historic accounts for some reason. It seemed like a couple of years.
Finally, I had been thinking that the dark spot on the right side of the image was an overdone darkroom “burn,” but I am beginning to recognize that look you get when shooting close to an out-of-focus chain link fence.
Local news organizations seem to be rediscovering addiction in Philadelphia recently — as overdose deaths have been skyrocketing in recent years — but it wasn’t a new problem when I took these photos in the Fairhill section of the city in 1995 and 1996. Maybe we could have done more then.
In the photo at the top of this page, men were pacing around a barrel fire for warmth in a vacant lot on West Indiana Avenue near Germantown Avenue. Drugs, needles and syringes were being sold in an open air market on the nearest corner and users were gathered inside nearby vacant houses, many of which were eventually demolished by the city.
A man and women gather some of their belongings after police ordered them out of a vacant house that neighbors complained was being occupied by drug users. Headlines at the time called these spaces “shooting galleries.”
A Philadelphia Police officer looks into a tomb inside the historic Fairhill Burial Ground. The door had been kicked in and drug paraphernalia littered the space inside.
Philadelphia Fire Department medics demonstrate treating overdose cases with naloxone for a newspaper reporter during a ride-along.
Men and women walk away after police drove them from a drug house on North Darien Street following complaints from neighbors.
I went to Washington to photograph demonstrators protesting against the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001.
Rain was pouring and grandstands were empty until they were filled with protesters, who carried signs, shouted and threw garbage toward the new President’s limousine.
Though much smaller than some anti-war demonstrations I covered there in following years, thousands of protesters outnumbered supporters along the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route on this day, in bold contrast with the large, joyful crowds I found when I covered first Clinton inauguration in 1993.
The demonstration got exceptionally little media attention and live television coverage of the parade somehow avoided showing this section of the route.