Trips to Detroit are always heavy with disbelief. How did this happen - how does it continue to happen? It was absolutely too cold to get out and wander so I drove the empty roads looking for something new but found nothing but old tires. As a kid I loved driving down I-94 watching the big tire cross the road. Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels on the radio. There was a football and a soccer team called The Wheels. It's not surprising in the Motor City but the vast amount of discarded tires on almost every block was disgusting. Come on Detroit! Let's make 2010 the year they stop talking about how bad the city is.
Labels: 2009, detroit, tires
Only in Detroit.
Only in Detroit does a gas station turn into a car show. For weeks prior to the Woodward Dream Cruise
the cars are out and car lovers come just to watch. The old hot rods, the new hot rods, the coolest cars you know are out and driving and we are gawking. If you are from Michigan you are from a car culture and there is no getting around it. I haven't owned a car in 12 years but I still miss driving. Still wished I had that '67 Mustang convertible...
Labels: cars, detroit
The Light in the Blight.
I always make a point of stopping by the Heidelberg Project when I am home. Driving block after block through what often seems like a disaster zone you come across Tyree's art. Makes me smile every time. This day Steve was on hand answering questions and admiring the space and those that come to visit. Too many people just drive through with the windows up-doors locked, but the few that do get out and wander around are always rewarded. I still think they need to put up a donation bucket at the end of the street. "Drive through once - a buck. Twice without getting out of your car - that'd be twenty!" As a hummer full of 16 year old girls drives through... at least they had the windows down.
There is a fundraiser going on to support this project and others like it in Detroit right now, so if you have an extra buck - check it out here!
Ok, strike that. Turns out they received an overwhelming response and all matching funds are gone. But, you can still support the Heidelberg here.
Labels: detroit, heidelberg
The Packard Plant. Or what is left of it.
The last time I ventured to the Packard Plant there was a lot more of the building standing. There have been 2 collapses since and most of the letters are gone from where the cars used to cross over. I know Detroit isn't always safe, yet once again I found only decent folk. One guy stopped his car to talk to me about how amazing the plant used to be. Another, just picking up bottles, kept an eye on me from afar yet smiled whenever I looked to make sure I knew where he was. And then Al. He lives here in what he calls the "Worlds Largest Demolition Site". We talked a bit about what is like to live there with just his two dogs to protect him. Telling me over and over if I want to go in, not to go alone but if I want to, he gives tours. Apprehension sets in. Right about now he thought it was a good time to read me a prayer. And then I started hearing voices... a door opens up and out comes two more photographers
, "Hey Al!". Ok, he's alright.
Labels: detroit, packard plant
If the door is open...W Jefferson and McKinstry St
Just one amongst many, they still stand because no one can afford to demolish them. Havens for arsonists. Home for the homeless. Filled with asbestos and other hazards no one wants to talk about.
Labels: abandon, detroit
Why all the fear?
I'm not sure why I'm not afraid but too many people are. Everyone talks about the bad things that happen in the city but everywhere I turn I run into good.
As we drove down Jefferson angels started appearing on buildings. Vacant buildings covered in faded angels. Why? And then there is this guy and with a cart - on the front "Crib in the Hood" - how could you not stop? U-turn.
This is Bill and he lives in the Delray neighborhood, it's not a nice neighborhood, bordoring Zug Island on the outskirts of Detroit. Yet he takes care of what is around him, keeps it nice, what is left of it. A few weeds here, broken windows everywhere, etc., but this is his 'hood' and he makes it home. I certainly didn't stay long enough to get to know him, but I found a whole story on the detroitblog
- take a look. Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone cared half as much as Bill does?
Labels: crib in the hood, delray, detroit
I don't know where to start with the Detroit pictures.
How do you recover from this?
Labels: detroit, garbage
Belle Isle, Detroit
I have vague memories of this, but only after Mom reminded me. Somewhere there are pictures of her as a kid in front of it. (someone in the family must have those?!?!?)
I can't seem to find any info on why they do it, other then the fact that they always have.
UPDATE! My Uncle Chuck did have the pic - look here! so exciting...
"A familiar winter sight is the 30-foot-tall ice sculpture near the beach, which is created by the construction of a supporting framework of poles and brush and maintained with a steady stream of water. It looks a bit like an abstract pine tree or an ice-rocket ship; a kind of impermanent, ever-changing piece of art."And this old photo, circa unknown
Labels: belle isle, detroit
I should probably post the nice images of the downtown buildings with their restored facades, the new boardwalk along the river, harmonie park or campus martius... but the empty lots interest me more. How did a city go from the 4th largest in America to this?
Who let this happen? Why did you do it? I know it started with the riots but that was 40 years ago and the city is still burning and no one seems to be able to stop it. Now what...
I guess their lucky lottery numbers didn't come in...
I'm feeling overwhelmed looking through all the images from the last week. So I'll start with this one from the Heidelberg Project in Detroit. I spent a day cruising around Detroit starting with the restored Book-Cadillac
(!!), Belle Isle, then onto burned buildings and empty lots where family houses once stood, and in the middle of it all you turn a corner and there it is - a colorful city block of art created by Tyree Guyton, adding beauty to the saddness of this side of the city. I love it, my mom wasn't so sure...smile. I've photographed this house a few times and looking back through the last 6 years it makes me sad. Downtown there is a sense of growth and restoration, then you drive east and you are reminded otherwise. Check out the Heidelberg Project website.
Labels: detroit, heidelberg
Finally - I was able to scan some of the images I took in the Heidelberg Project
back in December! More from the Packard Plant to come soon.
Labels: detroit, heidelberg