It has long been common to interpret the mythology of St. Petersburg through the prism of eschatological prophecy. But what happens to the cultural tradition when the prophecy of doom comes to be experienced as reality, and predictions give way to reaction? How did the discourse of the end of Petersburg change when the legendary curse of Peter's estranged wife—“This city will be empty”—turned into the devastation of postrevolutionary Petrograd: violent, starved, frozen, and diseased? In this article Polina Barskova explores various cultural expressions of the urban crisis in the years just after 1917. These artistic reactions come from Viktor Shklovskii, Pavel Shillingovskii, Semen Pavlov, and Grigorii Kozintsev, among others. Here, the focus is on the tension between two impulses: to distance and aestheticize the ruins or to bring them closer to author and recipient, rendering these signs of urban disaster maximally incoherent and ugly. The article argues that the Petersburg authors use both strategies, as well as their hybrids.