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Sunday, February 23, 2014
Small Town American Dream
Crisfield is struggling to pick itself up from the economic downturn
Coming into Crisfield, a small town on the eastern seaboard of Maryland, the first sight is of a deserted main street with empty storefronts on either side.
Driving further into town, I see rows of foreclosure signs hanging in front of derelict houses - many people have been unable to keep up with their repayments.
After driving three hours from Washington DC, we are hungry - but unable to find a restaurant to eat in. The ones that we see on the web are no longer open for business. The closest thing to a place to eat is a store selling raw seafood. The clerk cooks some for us and allows us to sit in the corner to eat.
A short drive through the town centre and we reach the harbour. The frozen sheets of ice on the water mirror the economic deep freeze that small towns like this have endured since the big banks in New York dragged the US into recession five years ago.
But the people I meet don't blame the bankers - a popular pastime at dinner parties in the capital. Instead, the mayor of Crisfield, PJ Purnell, says: "There's a joke that we tell around here - if there's a Depression it'd take us ten years to see it because we've been depressed for so long."