This blue marble

– and yet it spins

Docklands

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docksIn my hotel room there is an old aerial map of the London docklands, the way they were when the Port of London was the largest port in the entire world. The Thames river winds across the land, out to the sea, and Londoners built basins between the zigzags of the river. In the late 19th century dozens of docks, basins, and ponds created a mosaic map with exotic names such as Lavender Dock, East India Dock, and Canada Pond.

Not much is left of these docks today. The Port of London was born, grew up, and then sank into poverty and disarray. Then the same thing happened as happens to so many neglected neighborhoods: someone finds them ruggedly charming. And so today much of the area is gentrified. Today a banker across the river at Canary Wharf can spend money in staying in a fancy business hotel that takes the guests across the river in its own ferry.

(Docklands, London, United Kingdom; April 2019)

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