If you’ve never been to Gary, Indiana, I highly recommend you make the trip. I’ve hung out there on two separate occasions with Reader contributor Jessica Hopper, who actually wrote a travel guide to Gary for us during her peak period of Gary fixation. One time was to explore buildings in the city’s mostly abandoned downtown. The other was the night that Michael Jackson died, when we drove out to observe the vigil in front of his family’s old house.
I think the main part of the appeal of visiting Gary, at least for urbanites coming from fairly nice neighborhoods, is the intensely weird sensation of seeing a once perfectly normal and well-to-do city several decades after it was abandoned, which can actually make you feel pretty intensely like you’ve crossed over into some alternate universe where middle America ceased to exist in the 60s. Being surrounded on all sides by empty buildings, you might forget occasionally that Gary’s still even occupied.
But it is. Rapper Freddie Gibbs lived there until he decamped for LA in pursuit of a major-label record deal. He still returns occasionally, recently to shoot a video for his song “Anything to Survive” with veteran Philly rapper Freeway. You can watch it after the jump.