The Midway Theater On State Street In Rockford, Illinois

This is what Rockford usually looks like from my window. Forbes recently ranked us the third most miserable city in America. Misery is subjective. You can be miserable anywhere if you try hard enough. However, this is what it looks like outside my window more than half the days of the year…


The Faust Landmark Hotel and Midway Theater as seen from my window.

There’s a lot of fudging that would be necessary to claim what I see outside this window most of the time isn’t a rather miserable scene, complete with the homeless turned out during the day from the shelter down the street, the mentally ill turned out of Singer and Swedish American Hospital, and the forsaken elderly warehoused at the Faust. But what I can say without feeling hypocritical is that i love it here. I’ve never felt more alive or in the center of things than I have here. In fact, I am virtually at the geographic center of this city, and it feels like it. I am at almost the exact point where public perception divides East and West in one of the most racially divided cities in America. It’s entertaining. I’ve seen everything happen from this window. I’ve seen the roof collapse on the Midway Theater and no one come to fix it. 


This is a painting of the historic Midway Theater by artist Jenny Mathews. I’m not really trying to bash Rockford in as much as i feel compelled to document what it really looks like. Most of the time. There are sunny days. And spontaneous demonstrations of joy. But mostly it looks like this. And mostly no one does anything about it. The truth is while walking to the convenience store on the block you see in the picture there’s a solid sheet of ice that goes on for half a city block. It stays there all winter and no one makes an attempt to clear it. Next to sheet of ice is a bus stop and a great Mexican restaurant. But three of four times every winter I see the ambulance come and pick up someone who fell on that ice. In front of the building where the roof fell down and no one fixed it. In a city where people would rather argue about magazine articles than change things. 







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