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Fun in Detroit
April 28, 2010
5:04 PM
Forum Posts: 120
Member Since:
April 29, 2006
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Funny as it sounds...it takes money to do demo work!!! Detroit has enough concern keeping afloat. I just shot a building there and was amazed how deserted the town is.
Like the rest of America...it will bounce back! I know first hand there are many hard working diligent people in Detroit. They will diversify and come back, maybe in 2 years.

December 4, 2009
9:21 AM
Forum Posts: 5298
Member Since:
August 29, 2005
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nivek;13137 said:
when is the wrecking work going to get going in detroit?

That's anybody's guess.

November 18, 2009
9:05 PM
Forum Posts: 14
Member Since:
January 2, 2007
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cutter67;13084 said:
the funny part about this you couldn't get those kids to go out and work as hard as they did getting that truck out of there.

Reminds me of this.

Give it a Splat!

November 18, 2009
3:02 PM

working is not as much fun as pushing trucks out the window. can't disagree with that.

November 18, 2009
7:42 AM
Forum Posts: 817
Member Since:
January 12, 2006
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cutter67;13084 said:
the funny part about this you couldn't get those kids to go out and work as hard as they did getting that truck out of there.


November 17, 2009
6:49 AM
Forum Posts: 70
Member Since:
November 15, 2008
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the funny part about this you couldn't get those kids to go out and work as hard as they did getting that truck out of there.

November 6, 2009
2:20 PM

Check this out from the urban explorers in Detroit. This is hilarious.

From the front page of today's Wall Street Journal, believe it or not.

Video - How to Push a Dump Truck Out the Window - WSJ.com

How Do You Put the Dump Into Dump Truck? Push It Off the Fourth Floor
Detroit's Abandoned Industrial Landscape Has Become a Playground for Pranksters

DETROIT -- Nobody can say for sure how an old dump truck ended up on the fourth floor of the abandoned Packard auto plant on East Grand Boulevard. But there's no doubt about how it got back down.

It was pushed through a hole in the wall.

In September, a dump truck got pushed out of the fourth floor of an abandoned Packard plant in Detroit. Videographer Stephen McGee captured the event on tape.
The act, caught on video, required the efforts of a number of people, a sledgehammer, a hydraulic floor jack, stacks of cinder blocks and a peculiar sense of propriety.

The Packard plant, a 3.5-million-square-foot luxury-car factory, opened in 1907 and shut down in 1956. In more recent decades, other businesses operated on the premises or used it for storage, but by the late 1990s, the Packard plant was all but forsaken.

Detroit has 80,000 abandoned lots and buildings, according to the city's planning department. Old housing projects, homes, strip malls and even high-rise buildings sit empty across much of the city. Motown has more vacant office, retail and industrial space than nearly every other big city in the country.

Like many of Detroit's abandoned buildings, though, it's anything but deserted. Rather, it's a hive of activity, buzzing with scavengers, vandals, late-night revelers, arsonists, photographers and urban explorers who brave the crumbling buildings' many hazards and create a good number of their own. The complex remains unguarded.

"Mayhem. That's what they should call the place," says John, a 36-year-old telephone-line repairman who spends his spare time exploring Detroit's legendary industrial ruins. "If you decide you want to push a dump truck out of a window, this is the place to do it."

John made that decision in late May, when he and a friend were touring one of the Packard plant's more than 40 buildings. John recalls spotting the rusted shell of the truck, parked on the fourth floor.

View Full Image

Stephen McGee

Included a photo of a group of suburb residents and canadians who I found trying to push out this truck from the packard plant's fourth story window last sat. After 8 broken jacks and 3 months of work, they finally pushed the truck out of the hole they made in the building's wall. Then they left after rejoicing at the crash.
Already, he boasts, he and some friends had pushed two boats and the remains of a yellow Volkswagen Beetle out of upper floors at the Packard plant. The truck would be his biggest feat yet, the perfect finale to years of tomfoolery.

What's more, the tires still had air in them. "We were like, 'Wow, this is doable,'" John recalls. They left with a batch of digital photographs and a plan.

Karen Nagher seethes when she hears about such capers. Executive director of Preservation Wayne, a nonprofit organization that holds out hope for even the most forlorn buildings, Ms. Nagher says it infuriates her that people come from "all over the world" to poke around Detroit. "Piece by piece, they're disassembling those buildings, making it harder and harder to restore them," she says.

The city has had no luck in its long quest to redevelop the Packard plant. Its current owner, Romel Casab, did not return calls seeking comment.

Journal Communitydiscuss“ Seems odd, that in the 21st century, instead of having futuristic cars flying around like the Jetsons, we have the Clockwork Orange crew pushing vehicles out of windows. Progress? ”
— T.J. Power Those who prowl Detroit's vacant buildings are largely unimpeded. Many live in the suburbs but come here for the adventure, knowing that they're unlikely to get caught. Some say they break into the building to explore, but not to steal or vandalize. Others have no qualms about collecting souvenirs from the rubble, but they say they don't intentionally damage the structure. Still others draw the line at setting fires. But for a few, anything goes.

Busy enough with occupied buildings, police and fire crews aren't able to do much to protect abandoned sites like the Packard plant or people who venture into them. The Detroit Fire Department considers the factory too unstable to enter and fights fires only from the outside. The city's Police Department doesn't time have the resources to deal with people rummaging around abandoned buildings, and the onus is on building owners anyway, says John Roach, a spokesman.

Two fires kept John, the telephone repairman, and his friends away from the plant in June. They returned in July to find the dump truck as they had left it. This time, recalls John, "we came prepared" with tools -- and beer.

John soon realized that this was no Volkswagen. With no openings in the building big enough to push a dump truck through, John and his team created one of their own, using a 10-pound sledgehammer to bust a hole through a brick exterior wall.

John and his friends recruited about 10 other people, he recalls. Together, they pushed the vehicle more than a hundred feet, right up to the wall. But the truck got caught on the lip of the building, its front end poking out the opening.

And it sat there for two months. While John's crew regrouped and planned to return in mid-October, a rival band swooped in on the truck, he says. But they had no luck, either. They torched the truck's upholstery and planned to return later.

John saw the fire as a warning and decided to move up the final push to Sept. 27. "We don't want any competition," he recalls thinking.

He arrived at the plant that day with five buddies, more beer and a borrowed jack. They began trying to hoist the back of the truck enough to clear the bottom edge of the hole.

View Full Image

Stephen McGee

The bowed dump truck came to rest on its tires after it was levered out of the fourth story of the plant.
Detroit photographer Stephen McGee was driving past the plant and looked up to see the nose of a truck sticking through the wall and people around it. He pulled off the highway and into the plant, which he had visited before. He found John's team on the fourth floor, and they agreed to let him record their exploits on video.

"I don't think anybody has ever done this," one of John's buddies says on the video.

"And we're not even doing it for that," John replies. "It's just like, it wants out. We're getting it out of here."

Mr. McGee's footage shows what happened next. John's guys park the jack under the truck end and start pumping its handle, using cinder blocks and wood along the way to lock in their progress. With the truck perched at a steep angle toward the ground below, a wiry, bearded member of John's gang slips into the cab to tape a video camera onboard and hops back out. A burlier buddy gives the jack a few pumps. But as the back rises, the truck tips to the side, toppling the cinder blocks and falling back to the floor.

The fall nudges the truck a crucial foot or two outward, though, and the crew is encouraged. "Some good progress right here," the wiry one says.

They clear out shattered cinder blocks, reposition the jack under the middle of the truck and start over. Eventually, they get the back wheels off the ground again, just enough to tip the truck back up; they prop it up with an extra tire and give the jack a few more pumps. They've been at it for a few hours, and dusk is settling in.

Just as the cinder blocks begin to groan again, the truck lurches forward, tumbles out and twists awkwardly in the air.

Outside, the truck shoots sparks from its grille as its tail hits the ground, and then tips forward onto its four tires. Cheers erupt from onlookers on the ground and above. "It landed upright!" one of them says.

John steps to the lip of the wall, peers out toward the downtown skyline and takes a bow, acknowledging cheers from below.

"It is usually not our MO to bash things up," says John, recalling the escapade weeks later. "It's just the place."

Write to Alex P. Kellogg at alex.kellogg

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