Half a Mile Apart

In my youth, I would hear the expression "the wrong side of the tracks". It originated when railroad was king, and referred to neighborhoods on either side of a right-of-way and their relationship to the prevailing winds. The downwind neighborhood was on "the wrong side of the tracks" because the locomotives' smoke blew over it, making it grimy and undesirable to the rich people who could afford to live on "the right side of the tracks", leaving "the wrong side of the tracks" to the poor and disaffected.

The concept persists to this day, even though the smoke no longer blows. Where I live, the tracks are those of the old Pennsylvania Railroad, and they divide West Homewood and South Homewood, on the "wrong side" (where I have the "privilege" of living) from North Point Breeze, on the "right side". The streets depicted in this photo series are but a half-mile apart, but they might as well be on different planets. The people from Point Breeze don't cross the tracks into Homewood because they don't want to look at it, and the people from Homewood don't cross the tracks into Point Breeze because they aren't wanted there.

Click on a thumbnail to see the full-sized image.

North Point Breeze
South Homewood


North Point Breeze
South Homewood


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