Monday, April 15, 2013

1900s Detroit

I grew up in Michigan, about 30 minutes outside of Detroit.  Though I may tease when it's snowing there and 60 degrees here, and I would never move back there, Michigan is still my hometown and place I'm fine being from.

However, in recent years, the auto industry and other unions have given the state a beating.  Factories have shut down, work has fallen, and the unemployment rate has risen.  Blame it on bad mayors and management or whatever you please, but the City of Detroit is one that has never been able to bounce back on it's feet.

Chicago, New York, and even Savannah, have all seen hardships and been able to rebuild themselves, yet Detroit has always fallen back into disrepair and despair.

My mom used to tell stories of how she'd go down to Tiger Stadium to watch the Tigers play baseball, taking the bus there and back.  Then, she talks of race riots and the whole city going up in flames and pillage, and how, after that, she wasn't allowed to go anywhere near the city.

I remember going there for the Auto Show or concerts and always being schooled by graffiti on inappropriate things, but it was hard not to miss -- it was everywhere.  Walking around and going to the Ren Center with my dad, we'd always encounter at least a handful of homeless people begging for change, which always put me off guard, as suburbia doesn't warrant much for homeless.

It was as if the city had just given up completely.

It's hard to look at the pictures above, see the hustle and bustle and think, "Wow, Detroit used to be the place in Michigan to shop and visit."

Nowadays, they are trying to give the city some life.  Around the Fox Theatre, they've put gift shops, restaurants, and made it nice for people to walk around.  People from the suburbs who would otherwise be afraid to go in the area at any time of day, can walk around in a well-lit area after their play is finished to their car.  Quicken Loans has set up offices in the city and numerous, luxury lofts have been added to the area, as well as a little strip of coffee shops and restaurants for employees to go to.

It's small strides, and it will take probably my whole lifespan, if not more time, to make the area truly agreeable to all and to keep it that way, but the effort is what's important at this time.

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