Image by Ed Yourdon
This is (or was) the Circuit City store on Broadway, between 79th & 80th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It has been in this location for years and years and years … but in late 2008, the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and when they could find no buyers or financial support, they declared Chapter 7 and began liquidating. The "going out of business" sign above the entrance makes that pretty clear, and the various other signs in the windows create a real sense of urgency…
Note: this photo was published in a Feb 5, 2009 blog article entitled "After-Effects of Circuit City Bankruptcy." It was also published in a Feb 12, 2009 blog entitled "Surviving an economic recession – Survival tips," as well as a blog on the same date titled "Employment outlook for North Carolina." And it was published in a Feb 27, 2009 blog entitled "3 Ways A Small Business Can Survive An Economic Recession." It was also published in a March 2, 2009 Salon blog entitled "The plug is pulled on Circuit City," and a March 9, 2009 blog entitled "The Best Email I Got Today [Sad]." And it was published in a Mar 11, 2009 Brazilian blog article entitled "O melhor e-mail que recebi hoje ."
Good grief, this is getting ridiculous: the photo was also published in a June 4, 2009 blog titled "What Happens When a Small Business Declares Bankruptcy?" And it was published in a Feb 22, 2009 blog titled "Employment outlook for North Carolina." And it was published in a Jun 23, 2009 blog titled " Why Electronics Stores ‘Suck’." And it was published in a Jul 25, 2009 blog titled "Hanging Tough." I’ve recently discovered that it was also published in a Mar 13, 2009 PBS blog titled " Why Are So Many Companies Collapsing So Suddenly?"
The fun just doesn’t seem to stop: the photo was published again in an Aug 14, 2009 blog titled "Circuit City (what’s left of it) sells your name to the highest bidder." And on the same day, it was published in a blog titled "Three Steps to Keep a Job in Tough Economic Times," the URL for which I can’t seem to get Flickr to accept. Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it, or do your own Google search for a blog posting with that title… Meanwhile, it was also published in an Oct 10, 2009 blog titled "Declaring Yourself Bankrupt."
I also discovered it in a Mar 10, 2009 issue of the Brazilian edition of Gizmodo, in a blog posting titled "O melhor e-mail que recebi hoje," but someone had pasted in an announcement that said "CompUSA.com Retail Stores: the Grand Reopening" — which definitely was not in my original photo. And it was published in a Dec 28, 2009 blog titled "The Most Important Tech Products, Events, and People of 2009."
Moving into 2010, the photo was published in a Feb 4, 2010 blog titled "5 Reasons You May Want to Start a Side Business." And it was published in a Mar 5, 2010 blog titled "33,000 Lost Their Jobs Last Month — Read This Book If You’re One (Or Have Already Been Canned)." It was also published in a Mar 15, 2010 True/Slant blog titled "It’s time for the banks to bail out the U.S." And it was published in an Apr 12, 2010 blog titled "Personal Bankruptcies Hit a High and May Keep Rising." It was also published in a May 5, 2010 blog titled "5 Reasons You May Want to Start a Side Business." And it was published in a May 25, 2010 blog titled "Warning Signs of Business Bankruptcy." It was also published in a June 3, 2010 blog titled "Tough economic times demand tighter spending, but will new frugality last?" And it was published in a Jun 20, 2010 blog simply titled "Circuit City." It was also published in a Sep 29, 2010 blog titled "Credit Card Debt Management: Get Freedom From All Debts in a Convenient Manner ." And it was published in a Nov 10, 2010 blog titled "What is a good APR on a credit card for someone who has a fair/good credit history?" And it was published in a Nov 19, 2010 blog titled "Tips for the success of small online business." It was also published in a Dec 21, 2010 blog titled "SMEs need help."
Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Jan 7, 2011 blog titled "3 Online Dating Tips to Find Your Perfect Woman." And it was published in an undated (mid-Jan 2011) blog titled "Employment outlook for North Carolina."
These are photos that I began taking in mid-December of 2008, after the government helpfully informed us that the recession (a word they had dared not use before, just as they refuse to use the word "depression" now) has actually been in effect since December 2007.
Having lived through roughly half a dozen previous recessions, with nothing but vague memories to mark their existence, I thought it would be useful to start gathering some photographic memories of the current one. It may or may not turn out to be as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and it may or may not produce the kind of grim photographs that we have of that era … but we won’t really know until it’s over, and our 20-20 hindsight might be better informed with some pictures.
Thus far, I have only a few pictures of signs showing steep discounts; these are interesting, but it’s the "human story" that I think will tell the more important story. But I’ve also noticed an increase in the number of homeless people on the street, asking for money, food, and handouts; but I have no direct evidence that it’s associated with the recession itself. In any case, I’m reluctant to take advantage of such people by taking casual photos of them; I’m sure more appropriate opportunities will present themselves, and I’ll add them to the album as I find them…