Thursday, June 25, 2009

Detroit revisited

To continue with our recent Detroit trip....

On Friday morning, Mark met us at the hotel again, and we headed downtown to his favorite place, the Astoria in Greektown. Although I don't eat a lot of sweets, I was amazed and impressed by the pastries, desserts, and cakes that they had on display. I had a cream cheese danish (my favorite) and have already mentioned that it sent me on a sugar high. Whew! One of the coolest things was the baseball-sized coconut macaroons they had. Ohhhh man! I was very full after my danish and mini Key Lime Pie, though, and couldn't have eaten another bite.

After our breakfast, we parted company with Mark, but I was able to snap a picture of him first. He thinks he doesn't take a good picture. I think he's mistaken. It was such a pleasure to meet him, and I got a little verklempt as he walked away. I believe we'll meet again at some point. I can honestly say that he's one of the most positive people I've ever met, and has one of the sunniest personalities of anyone I've known. I am almost beside myself with hope for his upcoming trip, and it will be hard to have to wait to hear about it! I'll be patient...but it won’t be easy. Godspeed, my friend!

After we parted ways with Mark, Ken and I drove around downtown a little bit. We checked out our new business, GM headquarters (We have partial ownership, don't we?), the Fox Theater (Can you see who's playing there soon? Cool!), and Tiger Stadium. Okay, it's technically Comerica...whatevah. I thought Tiger Stadium was so cool, with the big tigers and huge bats, and the tiger faces all along the building, the tigers holding baseballs in their mouths. Fetch, kitty! They did a really nice job with their new stadium! Ken and I both thought that the city is really trying to revitalize downtown, and they've done a lot of work in that regard. There were still some empty buildings downtown, but every city has those, and it does seem that Detroit is making an effort to change things. (There was one building that had beautiful female figures as part of their fa├žade.) They are also competing with Canada when it comes to casinos, and as far as we know, there are three in Detroit.

We then did a bit of an "urban decay" tour. It's no secret that Detroit has had major problems with a decline in population and urban blight. Mark believes that much of that started years ago and has its roots in political corruption. I believe him, because there is something pervasive there that has resulted in the city's decline. Please don't get me wrong--I loved Detroit, and like all big cities, I felt it had its own dynamic and vibe, and I always dig that. But as we drove outside the city center, we entered an area that was bleak and depressing and frankly, we didn't want to linger. Detroit is not alone in its plight, and there are many other areas that are experiencing a similar situation, including Gary, Indiana. How awful must it be to have an automatic strike against you because of where you were born? That's why I do my best to understand that I was raised in very fortunate circumstances, and to try as much as I can to realize that it's very easy for many to say that anyone who grows up in such an environment should "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." It's much harder to be in a position or life situation in which no one encourages you to do that, no one cares about your education, no one cares if you even have enough food to eat. Those of us raised in suburbs or in rural areas sometimes don't get it, and can't comprehend it. That is not an excuse. I believe that anyone can make of their lives what they will, but I'm saying it is much harder to do that under certain circumstances, and to not grasp that is unfair, unrealistic, and I think more than a little heartless.

Whoops, major tangent! Sorry! Above, a cool apartment building with sixties architecture, St. John’s church (I think that’s right, but please correct me if I’m wrong.), and a sign that made me think that Jesus might care, but apparently he doesn’t worry overly much about his fading sign.

Going back one day, I think it was on our way to Xochi's when we went by Michigan Central Station. I remember seeing pictures of this in a Time article about Detroit, and it is a beautiful and imposing building. I wonder why they couldn't rehabilitate this gorgeous building and try to use it for another purpose?

Back to the current tour. I thought this abandoned home was very sad-looking, and sort of spooky in black and white.

We also went by Cass Tech High School (Again, I think that's the correct name, someone please correct me if I'm wrong), and I loved the old building. A new building has been built next to it, but they haven't torn down the old one. Again, could the old building be rehabilitated and repurposed? These buildings are beautiful, and it's horrible to see them razed.

After leaving Detroit, we headed to Monroe to see Bill and Mary Sue. It was great to visit with them and talk about what is happening in all our lives, and they really are incredibly nice people and great friends. One of the places that they suggested for dinner was to drive back into the city and go to Pegasus in Greektown. Since we'd just come from there, we chose to stay in town and go out for dinner at Ruby Tuesday's, where both twins work. That night, Beth and her boyfriend were dining with us, and Amy was our server! It went very well, and Amy got a great tip. I just hope that the other diners don't expect their server to sit on their laps the way Amy sat on her father's. Ha! I don't like this picture of me, but I'm posting it anyway. I can tell when it gets really humid...my bangs get all funky. Bleah.

Finally, here are some mayflies for you. I got a closeup of one of the guys hanging on our motel room window. I think the yellow blotches on the window are mayflies who slammed into the window. Yuck! When we went out to the car the next morning, mayflies were all over it! There was even one in the door handle, so I didn't want to squish it, and when I tried to shoo it, it just stuck there. They're clingy, too! I know they won't hurt you, but who wants to have to squish them or have them on you? Double yuck!

This concludes the chronicle of our Detroit trip. I thought it was a great city, and I really hope they figure out a way to reinvent and redefine, and continue on as one of our great American cities. I hope we can go back one day and visit with more of our blog peeps, as well as another visit with Bill and Mary Sue.

6 comments:

  1. Seems as though you missed one thing while in the D
    Here is ....

    CIRCUS BOY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl4NzgV17l4

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  2. It was a great trip, meeting Mark was awesome, and spending time with Bill and Mary Sue (including the twins) was special. I know we will spend time with all of them again in the future.

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  3. I'm assuming this was a lovely post - filled with lovely pictures and beautiful commentary about your trip...

    But I couldn't get past that picture of Mark. How in the HELL does that gorgeous man think he doesn't take a good picture!?! Hello hottie!!

    Sorry, I don't mean to objectify a friend of yours, but sometimes I got to call 'em as I see 'em. And I'm seeing some hotness. :)

    Oh, you and Ken ain't bad yourselves... :)

    Sounds like a really great trip.

    XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

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  4. Great write-up and photos, Beth! Love the photo of you guys. And I don't know why Mark's so camera shy, either! Handsome guy!

    It's so sad to see those magnificent buildings in such a sorry state of disrepair (and fascinating!). Urban degeneration on such a massive scale seems almost inconceivable. But then, when you consider from what height Detroit has fallen it makes more sense. I hope the city finds its feet again!

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  5. I enjoyed your Motown travelogue, and the photos as well. The slow demise of a once-great city is very sad, but your words contain a good bit of hope.

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  6. What a nice trip, and the pictures tell a story just by themselves! Mark is an articulate, engaging young man, and now you've seen it first hand! Those pastries look yummy!

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I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?