I took these images while exploring Chelsea, Massachusetts for the first time. Chelsea, a densely populated waterfront and port city, is two miles from Boston across the Tobin Bridge. Even though I’ve lived in the Boston area for nearly five years, I had never been to Chelsea before, which meant this was my favorite kind of urban exploration: that which you can do in your own backyard. It was a treat to spend a day exploring, marveling at the industrial forms, and experiencing a new place in the city.
The first two images show one of Chelsea’s major economic hubs, the Kayem Foods Chelsea sausage plant. Kayem makes the hot dogs for Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The plant itself is a large industrial building, mostly a plain, low-rise warehouse, with a lot of colorful, striking geometric forms in the details of the pipes, tubes, and lines.
At the waterfront’s edge, the Tobin Bridge looms over the city, and the bright colors and stark geometry of the bridge and the Kayem warehouse evoke a quiet mood — in contrast to the din, the gravel, and the smell of traffic above. In the photographs, the abstract forms take on a monumental quality.
In these latter two images, the structural underbelly of the Tobin Bridge echoes the utilitarian forms of the meat processing plant. I like how raw and bold the structure and the bright colors are: they declare that THIS is Chelsea. Chelsea is strong. Now, hope you enjoy your hot dog.
Sarah Madden is an urban planner and graphic designer based in Boston, MA, who enjoys exploring the city she lives in.