“Being a shrinking city and a quintessential modern site in flux, Detroit is a testing ground for experimentation and rethinking.” – Luis A. Croquer
My brother is getting ready for making a big change — heading from Washington, DC to Detroit, MI. Back to the home state for him…and hoping to make a difference in a crumbling city. However, as many people are aware of Detroit’s downfall, many people are unaware of its up-and-coming attitude. I decided to head to Detroit for 24 hours and soak in the city with my brother and father. We headed straight to Eastern Market – which was an amazing indoor/outdoor farmer’s market offering fresh produce, locally crafted goods, and entertainment. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my good camera on the adventures, so all photos are taken with my iPhone 4S. Please excuse the not-so-perfect pictures. Now…let me walk you through my visit:
Eastern Market: The epicenter of local food, urban development, and a melting pot of cultures. Everyone who was here helped define Detroit. A mixture of up-and-coming young enthusiasts, to tride-and-true Detroitians who stuck around after the fall of the automobile empire. The cultures represented here are those you’d see in NYC…EVERY kind. A true inspiration of what Detroit has to offer. This is the St. Lawrence River and the Ambassador Bridge, a gateway between Detroit and Windsor, Canada. Beautiful.Our home for the 24 hours. Headquarters of General Motors…and much more. The Renaissance Center.And this is my attempt at a selfie along the waterway. Outside of our hotel, the Marriott at the Renaissance Center. The lakefront entrance to the Renissance Center highlights a world map. A local artist put a spin on the Mitten state…”Fix” home.Now, to my favorite part of the Detroit adventure…Ruin Porn. This building is the Michigan Central Station; once home to travels of far and wide, now, a deserted building providing a fantastic horizon. Perhaps this view highlights this great country, as we know it today. Vast and beautiful. Abandoned in a sense, but yet full of hope.
Two James. A new distillery open in Corktown. A charming local hangout with delicious drinks. I had the Moscow Mule. Beautiful design.After a drink or two waiting to be seated at Slow’s Bar BQ.. we enjoyed a good meal (no pictures here…sat outside and barely had enough light to see. Aside from that, it was a pretty good meal…for BBQ). Wandering back to the hotel room and arriving to this few. This city isn’t dead. This city is living, breathing, and moving forward.
Inside the Ren Center are a few shops…prior to wandering around the city on Sunday morning, a popped in to find my brother a present. Perhaps he can consider it a “welcome home” gift. I found this book which had been written, edited, designed, and printed in Detroit (always supporting local). This book helped us decide on plans for future trips. Belle Isle is a must…unfortunately, it was a bit rainy. For all your Detroit inspired needs: http://www.puredetroit.com/ Another great ruin porn opportunity. Wayne County Building for sale. If only I could have gotten inside.And as I walk around downtown, awaiting the late riser (my brother), I take in the beauty in abandonment and destruction. Although I was unsuccessful with finding a good coffee shop…I was able to say hi to some die-hard Lions fans in the parking lot. They started drinking around 8am. Go LIONS!Finally, after my brother wakes up, we head down to a restaurant recommended by a bartender called Union Street. Great brunch. It had an awesome bloody mary bar…with all the fixins you could imagine!Up next, the Detroit Institute of Arts. While the city is bankrupt, their art collection is not. This is home to a vast selection of art throughout the ages. Medieval, Renaissance, contemporary, modern, post-modern, Native American, African-American, and much more. I am usually not a fan of art museums, as I’d rather be exploring outdoors or taking photos of abandoned buildings…but this place is great. And, unfortunately, we don’t know what the future holds, so you might want to check it out sooner rather than later.I found this piece very moving. HOW DARE YOU QUESTION? Please. Question. Always.And the outside of the building. Thinking. Think about coming back and saving us. Please.And as the cloudy day nears the end, we depart the DIA and head back to Kalamazoo. A long 24 hours of exploration.
All in all, Detroit was a lot of fun! I had a grand time with my brother and father. I feel like Detroit is a place I could eventually live in. I think the movements happening to rebirth it are amazing. There is so much potential in this town, now if only people could see it. Perhaps this post will inspire you to try. My brother is headed there to get involved with urban development, and who knows, maybe in time, I’ll follow.