A few years ago, I fell down the internet wormhole thanks to a Russian photographer named Elena Chernyshova. She had spent seven months living in the far northern Siberian city of Norilsk, and judging by her incredible set of photographs, the city looks like a dystopian hellscape. A few selling points: It’s the northernmost big city (100,000-plus population) in the world, where winters can fall to -67 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun doesn’t rise for two months. The city was built by gulag prisoners in the 1920's. And as its main industry is mining, it’s one of the most polluted cities in the world. So: cold, dark, isolated, polluted, built on roads paved with bones—if you get off on devastation porn, this is the city for you. If you’ve got 11 minutes, watch this short documentary from The Atlantic. It’s beautifully depressing. Have a great weekend, everyone.
Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.
Years after I moved to Saint Paul, my sister visited, and said "I get why you love it here. It's so run down." Mind you, this was ten years ago, before the Lowertown boom. There is something really comforting about a city with an abandoned Woolworth's that hasn't been reclaimed.