Thursday, July 22, 2010

Motor City

Detroit doesn't have the best reputation.

When I told one of my friends I was headed to Detroit for the weekend, she referred to it as the "crotch of America."

My first impressions of Detroit were less than stellar. Although the airport was cool (I walked through a large tunnel with changing coloured lights and sound effects), the fact that domestic Delta flights came through the international terminal resulted in me waiting for an hour until my friend (who was new to the city) and I figured out we weren't in separate wormholes - he just needed to come to the other terminal.

After that, Detroit just started to pop up with sweet surprises. For starters, we drove down Michigan Ave. - a long street filled with abandoned buildings on either side. But our drive took us to this fun, cool, delicious and BUSY BBQ restaurant, where the wait to get in was over an hour. It just seemed such irony to wait so long for a table when the abandoned store just two doors over had a sign filled with bullet holes.

Over the weekend, I found all sorts of pleasant surprises in Detroit - the gorgeous DTE Energy concert venue where I lay on the grass watching the Goo Goo Dolls perform with the sunset in the background, Greenfield Village with its Model Ts and a tavern right out of the 1830s, Belle Island Park surrounded by beautiful blue water and a quaint neighbourhood in Dearborn with ivy-covered parking garages and brick houses.

So, as it turns out, Detroit isn't so bad after all. My main impression of the city was that it just felt empty - like it used to house many more people who all left after the crash of the American auto industry. But shoots of life are springing up all over the place. As my friend liked to point out, Ford is now at the same quality ratings as Honda (and even better in some cases, though I am loathe to admit it as an avid Honda lover). And with real estate prices at rock bottom (we saw a house listed for $300. Not $300k, but $300), it could be a good place to be if you have a reason (read: job) to be there.

1 comment:

Anna said...

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