Monday, June 01, 2009

Why I love Detroit

(In the basic style of CNN's story of the same name.)


Lived in Detroit: Technically never. Lived in Ferndale for a year, Oak Park for two years, and then Ferndale for ten years.

Favorite spot: Watching the July 4 fireworks from across the river in Windsor, Ontario.

I have always been outside Detroit, an inner-ring suburban kid. Even when I go back now, I visit friends in Hamtramck. I wasn't around for the city's industrial past, or the riots, or the exodus. I'm not there now. I did, however, go to ball games at Tiger Stadium. I watched the demolition of the Hudson's building. I had Kirk Gibson on the front page of the Free Press hanging on my wall in 1984. I eat Paczki on the day before Ash Wednesday. I remember the "Michigan Music is World Class" movement in the 90s. It was a load of crap. The White Stripes released their first album in 1999. I was in East Lansing by then.

Why I love Detroit: I don't. I don't know how to love a city, and I don't know many people who live there anymore. But I'm still shaped by it—by not having been there then and by not being there now. I'm fascinated by its open spaces and by the possibility of building a new not-city in the middle of the suburbs. I can see the community working to get a foothold so that they can do more than support each other. I can imagine a statement, a movement that start to inform other post-urban areas. I cannot imagine moving back there with my children.

1 comment:

Anthropomorphic said...

I love love the thought "I don't know how to love a city" because I feel that way too and never knew how to express it. And, I am trying to love Detroit... I started that mission about 3 years ago. My only "in" right now is discovering and trying city restaurants. I always feel like a visitor, though. I don't know how to not be a visitor.