Visual Essay

A Portrait of Scranton

Additional photographs from Chris Hedges and Alan Chin’s visit to Scranton, Pennsylvania

• 165 words

Scranton 01The intersection of Pittston Avenue and Hemlock Street, south of Courthouse Square in Scranton.
Scranton 02Evening on the streets of downtown, near the University of Scranton.
Scranton 03Inside Brennan’s Pub in the Hill district of Scranton.
Scranton 04One of twenty-eight remaining employees at Avanti Cigar, a family business that decades ago employed seventy Scrantonians.
Scranton 05Wyoming Avenue, reflected in the glass entrance to the Steamtown Mall. Nearly half of the stores have been shuttered.
Scranton 06An American flag flies at half-staff downtown, honouring victims of the Colorado movie theatre massacre in July.
Scranton 08A defunct convenience story at midday.
Scranton 09Laura Solomon at the Electric City Tattoo Gallery, where she had her septum piercing repaired.
Scranton 12A concrete walkway bridges two abandoned buildings, part of the Scranton Lace Factory grounds.
Scranton 13A quiet evening at the South Side Bowl.
Scranton 14A US Army veteran at the Bog bar in downtown Scranton.
Scranton 15Jacquard punch cards, once used to make Nottingham lace, litter a derelict room in the abandoned factory.

This appeared in the November 2012 issue.

Alan Chin contributes to Newsweek and the New York Times.

  • edo deweert

    although infinitely depressing, these photos and the story in the magazine portray perfectly the human condition;
    there is a photographer whose name escapes me right now, who has created a book depicting “abandoned america”

  • Daniel Gorman

    Great work. BTW, the a in US Army is always capitalized (second to last image).

  • Brian ast

    Scares the crap out of me. Truly a modern tragedy.

  • Rob Lettieri

    I have a portfolio of Scranton that would make you think otherwise. Things aren’t great lots of places in the world and the USA. We have to make the best of what we’ve got. Scranton has little threat of flooding,hurricanes,forrest fires,low crime.friendly people and a lot of low self esteem.Malls and factories are only a few barometers of life here. I could do a photo documentary of NYC one of the greatest cities of the world and concentrate on the dilapidated buildings and people fallen on hard times. If you live in Scranton you can move but where ever you go you will have to create your life again. Try it here first. Scranton has a lot more going for it compared to many cities with the arts,education,healthcare industries,outdoor recreation,tourism,and some great neighborhoods. Be creative and you can thrive anywhere.

    • Jillicentix

      Could be worse, could be Wilkes-Barre.

  • tmscr

    No doubt you can find scenes like these all over Scranton, but really, this isn’t quite an accurate representation of the city. Not everyone is a tattooed, pierced, downtrodden person living in squalor. The girl in the second pitcture looks like a prostitute, although she probably isn’t. Scranton has some beautiful architecture and natural scenery (it sits in a valley between green “mountains”). The downtown area is actually quite nice looking. You can find ugly scenes like the ones you depicted in just about every city of any size in this country, and possibly even the world.