Author: komicheljohnson

Buried Secrets

Who wouldn’t want to uncover buried treasure? We imagine walking on a sandy beach, metal detector in one hand and a shovel in the other; Dreams of jewels the size of our fists and chests overflowing with gold bouncing around our heads. However, few would have expected the treasure unearthed beneath the NYC street, crossed by thousands of people every day/

Performing maintenance on a century-old water main, workers were shocked when they found the buried secret that had been waiting for them for over a hundred years. Beneath the pavement and pounding feet of New York’s many denizens, lay a hidden burial chamber over 200 years old.

The renovations were part of a move to revamp the city’s aging infrastructure, from traffic lights to sewer manholes. The vaults were massive for being so well hidden over such a long time. Measuring 15 feet wide and 20 feet long, the vault had been sealed with the remains inside. The first of two vaults contained the remains of 10 bodiesKomichel johnson while the second contained twenty intact coffins.

Working closely with investigators, the mystery of the vault has yet to be revealed. Its size and capacity has baffled locals, put off by the sudden and eerie discovery of a graveyard near such a popular park. However, researchers have reminded us that, as with many parks in the city, large plots of land routinely served as burial sites in the early days of the city.

While scientists work to uncover the mysteries behind the bones, the rumors surrounding the vault of bones continues to swirl. Scientists are more than pleased with the find, though. Rarely are bones so intact from this long ago. The wealth of knowledge made available by this discovery could yield some interesting information about the Big Apple when it was just a seed.

Ghost Cities of China

There is a phenomenon happening overseas. China has begun a rapid process of urban planning so ambitious, it eclipses their already substantial population. A phenomenon known as “Ghost Cities,” wherein developers create more space than necessary, has been growing rapidly across the country. Why the Chinese have suddenly started making room for more than what’s necessary has boggled many analysts minds, but just how severe is this overcompensation?

Recently unveiled, the greatest of the latest ghost cities has the space to house nearly 3.4 billion people. That’s three times as many people that live in all of China. A massive city built to hold every citizen of China three times over, but why? Why bother to build something that, as of this moment, could never be filled? Though certainly the most ambitious expansion, it’s hardly the last.

Komichel JohnsonOver the past few months, China has started construction on multiple city expansion projects. Each of the provincial capitals are set to receive nearly 5 new urban areas for future families. Along with their capital cities, regional cities are due to receive nearly two districts each. Every city across china is blossoming, making space for millions of more citizens. But why bother with the expansions? If building entire blocks, whole cities for a population that isn’t there to fill it, what will happen to the space?

Over 90% of China’s cities have announced plans for new districts while the 12 provincial capitals are planning a total of 55 additional districts. This push for space and expansion represents a trend that China has perpetuated, either in an effort to inspire the creation of jobs for their workforce, or present the facade of positive growth. But when the cement is laid and the buildings are finished, the empty streets and homes will be little more than haunting.

Mysterious Monuments

All throughout the world are structures that inspire wonder and awe. These monuments to the bizarre remind us how strange life is, and as mysteriously as they are erected, too often are they destroyed. Few can top the claustrophobia-inducing halls and cramped quarters of Kowloon. Dark, dank, and dangerous, this is a story of struggle born in the heart of Hong Kong. This is the Walled City of Kowloon.

Starting life as a squatter settlement for families without a place to go, the seeds of a city were planted where none should be able to grow. From tents and shacks, 14-story tall tenement buildings sprouted from the ground. Over 30,000 families soon filled the 8,000 apartments in a space smaller than Manhattan with almost five times the population density. At its peak, Kowloon was the most densely populated area in the world.

Komichel JohnsonExisting in a political gray area at the center of Hong Kong, Kowloon was claimed by no one, and thus, free to govern itself. Abandoned by the British and ignored by Hong Kong officials, the mystery city was left to its own devices. Woefully undermanaged, the gap government and law are meant to fill was quickly filled by the gangs.

Ruled by the Triad, the most lethal gang in Asia, this lawless city became the Wild West of the east. Drug trafficking among other dubious trades circulated, free from persecution or reprimand. The city had grown so massive, that entire levels were blanketed in darkness. With one water source for the entire city, 30,000 people shared one spigot. Hoses and pipes lining every hall, ceiling, and floor.

Though many who lived in Kowloon fell victim to vice, a vast majority of the families viewed their predicament as a close community. Whole generations of families lived in single-room apartments, and for twenty years this city existed as a haven for some but tomb for others. Though it was demolished in the ‘90s and a garden now stands as a memorial to the mini-metropolis, few will ever forget Kowloon.