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Not a decrepit defunct ghost town
October 7, 2013 2:51 AM   Subscribe

No, THIS is Detroit is an Imgur photo album by a Detroit resident fed off with seeing their city objectified as "exploitative ruin porn".
posted by MartinWisse (69 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
So Detroit is actually somewhere between a thriving metropolis and a destitute wasteland? Like everywhere else.
posted by panaceanot at 3:01 AM on October 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Detroit was recently added to our "cities to visit on our visit to the US" list. I am really enjoying reading about its revitalisation and vibrancy. Thanks for this.
posted by Kerasia at 3:02 AM on October 7, 2013


Go ahead and call this "creative" all you want, but it is nothing short of horrifying.

I really want to see that conservatory now.
posted by edeezy at 3:06 AM on October 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


Looks like Detroit has a lot more to sell than just an art collection.
posted by three blind mice at 3:13 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Go ahead and call this "creative" all you want, but it is nothing short of horrifying.

The house a block down has a hidden basement and an unassuming facade. [shudder]
posted by panaceanot at 3:22 AM on October 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I went back to Detroit last summer, for the first time in ten years. The acres of rubble were shocking, in a "holy f-k what the f-k happened?" kind of way. I think it's important to understand what happened, and to document what happened, or is happening. People get upset about 'ruin porn,' but it's a real story that needs to be told. I don't think anyone where I live now really believes me when I describe the scale of a city that has collapsed in my lifetime.

Oddly enough, the city felt a bit safer. Not safe, mind you, but some of the day to day tension I remember was gone ... but I worked there during the Reagan years, and the streets were pretty scary then.
posted by kanewai at 3:23 AM on October 7, 2013 [13 favorites]


Went to Detroit this year as part of a road trip from NYC to Chicago via upstate Michigan and it was one of the highlights. Obviously didn't spend enough dollars though as they went bankrupt a month or so later! The best bit has to be watching the reaction of other Americans when you tell them you've visited Motor City. There are definitely some sketchy parts of town but I was actually shocked to see how, well, normal everything looked in the centre. There are sketchy parts of any big city, I've felt more edgy walking through some parts of San Francisco.

I can't deny that seeing ruins wasn't fascinating but it's only part of the story. London (where I live) used to be full of ruins and empty buildings, now it's all but sewn up by property developers. There's still room in Detroit for hardy creative types to do their thing - it's just all quite spread out so you NEED a car.

I'd recommend the Design Sponge guide (Google it) if you're planning to go. They always do great insider/'alternative' guides to US cities but in Detroit it was an essential guide.

And this might look a bit weird but you've got to admit it's better than this
posted by Shatner's Bassoon at 3:29 AM on October 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Actually I should qualify that it's probably not a great idea to go wandering through places like the Packard Plant on your lonesome, it all feels a bit Mad Max round there...
posted by Shatner's Bassoon at 3:35 AM on October 7, 2013


Fredde Le Grand - Put Your Hands Up For Detroit (Discwax Remix)
posted by panaceanot at 3:41 AM on October 7, 2013


But I like exploitative ruin porn!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:31 AM on October 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned civic pride.
posted by Renoroc at 4:36 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Go ahead and call this "creative" all you want, but it is nothing short of horrifying.

It's worth reading more about Detroit artist Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project - "horrifying" isn't one of the words I'd use to describe it.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:06 AM on October 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


People get upset about 'ruin porn,' but it's a real story that needs to be told.

I think most locals' objection (mine included) to 'ruin porn' is that these images don't tell the story about Detroit that needs to be told.

There's still room in Detroit for hardy creative types to do their thing - it's just all quite spread out so you NEED a car.

That may appear to be the case, but it's definitely not the rule. There are plenty of people who live in Detroit without a car, and it can be actually quite pleasant (and cost-effective) to do so, if you have the right lifestyle for it.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 5:43 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's just all quite spread out so you NEED a car.

Probably the right time to acquire significant paths for public transportation. Build a trial subway out to an exceptionally depressed area and in a decade it will be the place to be.
posted by sammyo at 5:45 AM on October 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm sympathetic to the guy's cause, really I am. But even he soon runs out of vibrant things to show us and ends up posting a run down house in the middle of empty fields of wild grass without another house in sight, except someone has strewn the thing with abandoned teddy bears.

It's not really helping him make his point.
posted by Naberius at 5:51 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I lived in Detroit (midtown) through the summer of 2009 and wandered across a lot of the city then, on foot and public transport (bus fares were astonishingly cheap). Been back several times since. So long as you are sensible it never felt like a dangerous city to me; the negative reaction from many Americans when I tell them I've explored Detroit has been odd/disappointing.

tbh I find Birmingham and other English cities less safe than Detroit. Have seen to others, and feel may be a victim of, serious random crime e.g. drunken assaults, stabbings, even when I've been sensible.
posted by Wordshore at 5:55 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sympathetic to the guy's cause, really I am. But even he soon runs out of vibrant things to show us and ends up posting a run down house in the middle of empty fields of wild grass without another house in sight, except someone has strewn the thing with abandoned teddy bears.

It's not really helping him make his point.


I think you misunderstand his point.

It's not "Detroit isn't economically depressed" (I mean, it clearly is) or "Detroit isn't hemorrhaging population" (ditto).

It's "Hey, we live here! And there's stuff here we like and are proud of! Take some fucking pictures of that stuff for a change!"
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 5:58 AM on October 7, 2013 [20 favorites]


Unfortunately, it looks like the Heidelberg Project got caught by another of Detroit's infamous attributes, arsonists.
posted by youknowwhatpart at 6:02 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


But even he soon runs out of vibrant things to show us and ends up posting a run down house in the middle of empty fields of wild grass without another house in sight, except someone has strewn the thing with abandoned teddy bears.

Admittedly it's a bit of an unfortunate pic from the perimeter of Heidelberg on a bit of grim day but it actually is a very fun and colourful place, probably one of the best if not largest examples of outsider art in America. The kids that were visiting the day I was there were boggle-eyed with wonder.

There are plenty of people who live in Detroit without a car

I don't doubt it - sorry I meant a car was probably advisable if you were visiting town, especially if you want to try and see some of the urban farms and farther flung 'attractions' as the (Shelbyville style) monorail won't get you far :)
posted by Shatner's Bassoon at 6:25 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


It would be appropriate to discuss the collateral damage of a shifting manufacturing climate, neoliberal economic mismanagement, and the representation thereof. What's more important for us to see, an dying empire, or the rich men who poisoned itTHEY HAVE A STARGATE
posted by Think_Long at 6:27 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that if cool heads prevail (don't laugh, it could happen) they'll'll end up with a city that's nice but much smaller.

And how have I never seen that Spirit of Detroit statue before? That thing is lovely!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:36 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can that Fedde le Grand nonsense. I am from Detroit.
posted by mkb at 6:42 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


But even he soon runs out of vibrant things to show us and ends up posting a run down house in the middle of empty fields of wild grass without another house in sight, except someone has strewn the thing with abandoned teddy bears.

It's an art project, the Heidelberg Project.

The beauty of the place is that it's like the Hulk—the vandalism will be incorporated into it and will only make it stronger. The only thing that could kill it off would be government malfeasance, of which we have plenty, sad to say.

I live in Ann Arbor and am in Detroit a few times a week. It's a pretty good collection of shots of nice places to go in the city.
posted by texorama at 7:02 AM on October 7, 2013


In sum, Detroit is a land of contrasts.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:06 AM on October 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


For those planning a trip to Detroit, I encourage you to check out the guidebook From Belle Isle to 8 Mile. Written by locals who are engaged in some of the city's current awesome.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 7:07 AM on October 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, it's really hard to covey via the super-blunt tool of news media that 1) Detroit really is in bad shape to the extent that bankruptcy is the only path to recovery but 2) It's still a city where people live and work and that they care about and shouldn't be treated as a hellhole. It's just really hard to combine these two aspects in a 30 second clip on TV, or even in one of the million "here's what's really wrong with detroit" articles. It's hard enough to even get across the idea of what a municipal bankruptcy really is without everyone taking it as a sort of moral "you fucked up!" judgement rather than "hey creditors, remember how we were paying you extra interest all this time because we might end up later not being able to pay?".
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:09 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm with you on the super-blunt tool. In a way it's the same problem you see in reporting about "The Third World."

It's like we have three mental categories when it comes to regions and their economies: "New York City," "Flyover State" and "TOTAL FUCKING MOGADISHU."

I remember when I first started spending time in Guatemala I spent ages trying to cram the place into one of those three categories. It's booming and full of entrepreneurial spirit ("so like New York?") but still incredibly poor in a way that you wouldn't find anywhere in the US ("so, okay, no, that's Somalia"). A substantial chunk of the population are still bare subsistence-level dirt farmers who harvest everything by hand ("Somalia!") but everyone's got a ridiculously nice cell phone ("...New...York?") and a Toyota pickup truck from the 1980s ("Ah! Flyover State!") and a loan for seeds and fertilizer from the local bank or agricultural co-op ("definitely flyover state") whose official terms they may or may not know since they can't read at all and may not even understand any Spanish ("shit, no, Somalia again"). And so on around and around...

...and it took me an embarrassingly long time before I was like "OH! I get it! There are more than three kinds of place in the world! I need ANOTHER CATEGORY!"

The problem with reporting on Detroit is that for a lot of us, we'd need ANOTHER CATEGORY to really understand what's going on there. And the problem with the media attention Detroit gets is, they know they're not going to be able to force us to construct a new category for the place, so they don't really bother trying.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 7:42 AM on October 7, 2013 [30 favorites]


you'd never know from those anti-ruin-porn photos that Detroit is a black city (83%).... funny that.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:05 AM on October 7, 2013


The city, artwork and architecture are beautiful... the people scare the bejeezus out of me. Walk downtown at night, and tell me you don't feel scared. Heck, walk during the early evening. Walk at 4pm. Go ahead. I dare you.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:35 AM on October 7, 2013


Walk at 4pm. Go ahead. I dare you.

I've walked downtown Detroit at 4pm and late afternoon many times without feeling the least bit scared. The city could use a lot less scare-press and a lot more people saying things like walk to Seva. It's a great restaurant.
posted by morganannie at 8:42 AM on October 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


St peepsburg, when was the last time you were downtown? I am there at all times of the day and never feel scared. Its more or less packed during the daytime. Yeah, it can be desolate at night but I have never had a problem.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 8:46 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looking at those photos many are MANY years old and from tourism sources.... so ennui.bz you caught that correctly. Detroit is falling apart block by block and has been since the unions were torn apart... yay capitalism!
posted by NiteMayr at 8:48 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Detroit, and a lot of the conversation about it, reminds me of Liverpool, especially in the 80s. Also a former economic powerhouse, also extremely economically depressed, also hemorrhaging population, also poor and crime-ridden, also filled with vast bombed-out areas, also frequently used metaphorically in the media for "fuck it, this place is destroyed, let's abandon it" -- but also filled with a rich history and great people and great culture. Liverpool came back, so can Detroit. Liverpool's one of my favorite cities in the world; the more I see of Detroit, the more I want to check it out as well.
posted by Fnarf at 8:54 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what year "the unions were torn apart" refers to. Unions are a component of the story, but it's a much bigger story than that.

The best book, as recommended by someone in a previous thread who I can't remember, is The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit.
posted by kiltedtaco at 8:56 AM on October 7, 2013


To everyone defending Detroit now: I'd love to hear it's recovering, but it will remain a symbol of decay and ruin for me until 8-Mile Road is someplace you'd let your children walk unattended.

Razor wire everywhere is my memory of it.

The Jiffy Lube won't let you park your car at the doors - you yourself are expected to drive onto their work rails and stay in the car the whole time. They shut the garage door behind before you have a chance to turn your car off.

I was in a strip club there once, admittedly a long time ago (90s sometime). The stripper had a fresh gunshot wound in her arm, and tried to dance without her sling, but had to break down and put it back on. I felt sorry for her, and gave her a decently large tip.

Me: "Were you hanging with the wrong crowd, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time?"

Her: "No, I was at a party."

My brain reeled: she thinks that's an explanation.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:09 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Detroit has (and has had) a murder rate more than 4000% higher than that of Birmingham (UK) or Liverpool or fucking Frankfurt an der Oder. Please stop comparing them on cosmetic aspects. You are British or Canadian and how nice for you; you have no idea how different and damaging the US subculture of violence coupled with easy, EASY access to guns make a city like Detroit. And white flight and all that. Detroit isn't as fucked as Gary but it's a mess.

The idea that photos of Detroit on the net have ONLY featured its worst aspects is bullshit. There are many thousands of pictures of exactly the sort featured here- look at Detroit photothreads on skyscrapercity and the like.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thank you, ethnomethodologist. You said it more clearly: Detroit's problems are real, and deeper than any picture of buildings can show.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:15 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


the problem with ruin-porn isn't that it gives people the sads about Detroit but, like their romantic 19th forebearers, the pictures radically decontextualise the monuments they portray from the place and time where they exist. view enough romantic paintings of ruins and you come to think of Italy and Greece as depopulated areas dominated by the glorious relics of the past and it ties directly in with a vision of the future built in homage to the grandeur of the past i.e. Mussolini.

the point being that cities aren't really about buildings, but people. Detroit is people, dammit. all of those ruined buildings are surrounded by people, carefully cropped out. so, replacing a bunch of ruins with some tourist shots of a St. Patricks Day parade, grand empty rooms, a clean statue with a hockey shirt on (hockey, mind you, and not football or basketball. I wonder what that says..) isn't an improvement. the fact is that there is lots of money out there to rebuild Detroit, if only the people who live there now could be persuaded to go away.

honest pictures of Detroit will show lots of people, mainly black people, many of them quite poor, living their lives as best they can.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:22 AM on October 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


I was in a strip club there once, admittedly a long time ago (90s sometime). The stripper had a fresh gunshot wound in her arm

Yeah, as opposed to all the wholesome refreshing stories women who work in strip clubs have in NYC, Chicago, London, Seattle.

Jesus, was that a fricking parody post?
posted by NorthernLite at 9:33 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


NorthernLite: "Yeah, as opposed to all the wholesome refreshing stories women who work in strip clubs have in NYC, Chicago, London, Seattle."

I dunno, a gunshot wound seems a step beyond.
posted by boo_radley at 9:56 AM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


To everyone defending Detroit now

What are you talking about? The point is that a lot of people are tired of seeing their city portrayed as nothing but a bankrupt, dangerous hellhole. If that's all it is to you, then fine, you can have that opinion, but don't act surprised when the 700,000 people who live there don't exactly fancy your view.

honest pictures of Detroit will show lots of people, mainly black people, many of them quite poor, living their lives as best they can.

Yeah, I don't think anything is saying "this is the be-all, end-all photo galleries that tell the story of Detroit". I think if you interpreted it as "Here's one particular counterpoint to a popular theme these days" it might help you forgive it for not doing more. Portraying people living their lives as best they can in adverse conditions like Detroit is damn hard, so I'm not going to get all mad at a random imgur for not having the photos that National Geographic might have.
posted by kiltedtaco at 10:09 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


So Detroit is actually somewhere between a thriving metropolis and a destitute wasteland?

No, it's mostly wasteland with a smattering of bright spots here and there. The pawn shops and casinos far outnumber the places shown in the photos. It's a dead city. It just doesn't know it yet. You know your city has some pretty serious problems when you have to go through 3 cab drivers and some pretty intense negotiations before finding somebody who is willing to drive you within city limits.
posted by prepmonkey at 10:13 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


My cousin Joe lives and works in Detroit, owns a small business in Detroit, has taught public school in Detroit, and has just in general been working to make Detroit a better place for years. I pointed him towards this post, and he has this to say:
Why does Detroit owe any of you an explanation, an education on how right or how wrong, or what types of right/wrong you are about us? I used to go talk with people ad infinitum about our complexities here, but now I don't. Would you talk about your loved ones illnesses on the internet with people who could never help, show little capacity for empathy and only assume that her illness is a result of her own irresponsibility?
That's his short, pithy statement on the subject. He has a lot more to say; if anyone is interested in hearing from him, I can copy his remarks here.
posted by KathrynT at 10:27 AM on October 7, 2013 [14 favorites]


Would you talk about your loved ones illnesses on the internet with people who could never help, show little capacity for empathy and only assume that her illness is a result of her own irresponsibility?

...isn't that what Ask MetaFilter is for?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:46 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Detroit is people, dammit.

It's people! Soylent City is made out of people! They're making our cities out of people! Next thing they'll be stacking us like bricks for office buildings with Starbucks in the lobbies. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!

(Not downplaying what you're saying. Just getting my Heston on.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:54 AM on October 7, 2013


"ruin porn imagery" is the best thing Detroit has, people travel from all over the world to see it. It's an aesthetic known as sublime. Detroit has it in a way few others places do.
posted by stbalbach at 11:15 AM on October 7, 2013


"I went back to Detroit last summer, for the first time in ten years. The acres of rubble were shocking, in a "holy f-k what the f-k happened?" kind of way. I think it's important to understand what happened, and to document what happened, or is happening. People get upset about 'ruin porn,' but it's a real story that needs to be told. I don't think anyone where I live now really believes me when I describe the scale of a city that has collapsed in my lifetime.

Oddly enough, the city felt a bit safer. Not safe, mind you, but some of the day to day tension I remember was gone ... but I worked there during the Reagan years, and the streets were pretty scary then.
"

I was just in Detroit a couple of months ago, and had such a different experience. It's far, far safer than it was during the '80s, and Midtown is pretty clean and clear. Really, it was worst during the lat '80s and early '90s, and it's been coming back ever since. That's another frustration — really, despite the long-looming bankruptcy, the recovery has been underway for a while.

"The city, artwork and architecture are beautiful... the people scare the bejeezus out of me. Walk downtown at night, and tell me you don't feel scared. Heck, walk during the early evening. Walk at 4pm. Go ahead. I dare you."

Uh, I did. All over. It was fine, unless you're preternaturally afraid of black people. I mean, once a guy spooked us a little bit by appearing out of nowhere… to offer us directions and recommendations about several local restaurants. But walking downtown at night is nothing — it's not like you're taking a stroll through Moorpark or anything.
posted by klangklangston at 11:24 AM on October 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


""ruin porn imagery" is the best thing Detroit has, people travel from all over the world to see it. It's an aesthetic known as sublime. Detroit has it in a way few others places do."

Yeah, if you're a shallow idiot. If not, you'll be amazed at the world-class art collection, fantastic local food, stunning architecture, great music scene and easily-accessible natural beauty.
posted by klangklangston at 11:28 AM on October 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Build a trial subway out to an exceptionally depressed area and in a decade it will be the place to be.

It might also turn out like Buffalo's subway.

A subway seems like a good idea if you have a lot of money to spend, and are building it through an area that is either already developed or is going to have massive density.

If you're going through an area that is low-density, a streetcar (a real two-track light rail line, not some one-way loop) is a better idea. When it builds up, you can design it around the streetcar line. Detroit is actually already planning on building a streetcar, on Woodward Avenue.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:58 AM on October 7, 2013


When Elmore Leonard died I found a website where some fans had a google map with all the Detroit area locations in his novels flagged. I pulled up a few of the locations in streetview and almost all of the ones I looked at appeared perfectly nice. I don't recall that I even saw any burglar bars on the houses.
posted by bukvich at 12:14 PM on October 7, 2013


a clean statue with a hockey shirt on (hockey, mind you, and not football or basketball. I wonder what that says..)

It says the picture was taken during hockey season. You can stop dramatically rubbing your chin.
posted by Spatch at 12:56 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm so tired of the people who just randomly weigh in on shit they know nothing about. I'm in Detroit all the time, at all times of the day and night. Last weekend, I rode my bike at 2 in the morning on the riverfront. It's a great bike riding city, with lots of groups that routinely peddle all over the place. I eat, drink, bike, shop, play there. I don't live there, I live in Dearborn (or as some of you asshats like to call it -- Dearbornistan) which is one city over. But most of the naysayers on this thread sound like hipster doofuses who live in the northern suburbs and come down for a Tigers game and get freaked out because there isn't a strip mall and a Target every ten feet. And if you have to find three cab drivers before one will take you into the city, I'd venture to say the problem isn't Detroit, it's YOU.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:58 PM on October 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


All these references to criminals and not one mention of emergency financial managers? "Dearbornistan" reminds me of Chicago being referred to as "Chiraq." At best it's lazy thinking, but the racial compositions of both cities makes it far uglier. The Afghanistan/Iraq comparisons are a natural extension of this historically ignorant and racist mindset; as if they've been perennial Call of Duty-esque hellholes.
posted by gorbweaver at 1:16 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I live in Dearborn (or as some of you asshats like to call it -- Dearbornistan)"

Heh. When I call it Dearbornistan, I'm talking about all the excellent Middle Eastern food there. (I love that everyone has a favorite restaurant for any given dish — falafel, mujadhrah, what have you — and they're always different. It's awesome.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:25 PM on October 7, 2013


And if you have to find three cab drivers before one will take you into the city, I'd venture to say the problem isn't Detroit, it's YOU.

Nah. They were more than happy to drive me anywhere else in the greater Dearborn area (like my hotel) and surrounding, just not Detroit. Wasn't worth it to them.

And Dearborn has great middle-eastern food.
posted by prepmonkey at 1:27 PM on October 7, 2013


They didn't want to drive you where? Downtown? I can see how they would want to avoid outlying areas, there have been a number of crimes committed against cabbies. But if they refused to drive you downtown they were just being jerks.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 1:34 PM on October 7, 2013


In every city in the world, there are lots of cabbies who don't want to drive you into neighboring areas because either they are unlikely to get a return fare, or are legally barred from getting a return fare. It's not a comment on the city; it's a comment on how making money as a taxi driver works.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 1:38 PM on October 7, 2013


NorthernLite: "I was in a strip club there once, admittedly a long time ago (90s sometime). The stripper had a fresh gunshot wound in her arm

Yeah, as opposed to all the wholesome refreshing stories women who work in strip clubs have in NYC, Chicago, London, Seattle.

Jesus, was that a fricking parody post?
"

If you think that post was about strip clubs, you're not in the same zip code as the point.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:49 PM on October 7, 2013


I just spent Saturday night and Sunday morning in Detroit. I'm white and went to a black wedding near Children's Hospital, hit the reception, back downtown to Greektown Hotel and Casino, late-night dinner at Pegasus after midnight and another little stroll around the block. I realize Greektown is not like most of Detroit, and that it is one of the bright spots. And like klang said, you wouldn't feel uncomfortable there unless it is just black people that is making you nervous.

Me and my wife? We had a great time!
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:55 PM on October 7, 2013


My wife and I are moving to Minneapolis at the end of the month and will have three days to burn before our new place is ready for move in so we're going to check out Detroit for a day. While I'm pretty pumped about seeing Comerica, the Joe Louis fist, DIA, and Greektown, I'm really interested in seeing the Detroit in Low Winter Sun, Detropia and Burn. Not for the Decay tourism, but to see how Detroit is changing and whether it's on the road to a rebirth like Pittsburgh.

The last time I was in Detroit was in 2004 for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) and I found it to be a city on life support but not a hopeless hellhole like Gary, Indiana. The DEMF started having problems in 2004 (coughCarlCraigcough) but I'm already planning my trip for next summer's DEMF.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 2:55 PM on October 7, 2013


Why does Detroit owe any of you an explanation, an education on how right or how wrong, or what types of right/wrong you are about us?

Because you're asking us for hundreds of millions of dollars.
posted by Hatashran at 4:03 PM on October 7, 2013


That's simply not true.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 5:37 PM on October 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


DEMF started having problems in 2001. 2004 was the year Derrick May got on a go-cart and asked for donations.
posted by mkb at 6:34 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Carol Marvin was the fuck-up at DEMF. I remember getting emails from her at the time about how God had chosen her vision for the DEMF, and her press conferences were all on some weird millennial salvation shit. It was her being a goddamned loon that lost the DEMF funding from the city, which put a 300k hole in the budget. All sorts of, "Jesus says you have to approve my permits," stuff.
posted by klangklangston at 7:09 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I call it Dearbornistan, I'm talking about all the excellent Middle Eastern food there.

You're making a bed with unsettling bedfellows. In order, these are the websites returned in Google results:
barenakedislam
urbandictionary
* representative of the other sites' content as well: "The citizens of Dearbornistan engage in the acquisition of bomb-making materials, taking bomb-making classes at the city's countless bomb factories (aka: mosques) dissemination of violent jihadi literature, stoning women to death, yelling Allah Akbar whenever they get excited, and get hard-ons thinking about their 72 virgins which they will receive upon blowing themselves up in a crowd of non-Muslim infidels."
youtube [right wing video]
therightscoop
metrotimes
debbieschlussel
frontpagemag
freerepublic
freerepublic
conservativepapers

I don't believe this is the cutesy usage you have in mind.
posted by dhartung at 11:09 PM on October 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm fine with being lumped in with the MetroTimes, even if I only ever got published in Real Detroit.
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 AM on October 8, 2013


(And, believe it or not, but we did have facetiousness when I lived in Michigan.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 AM on October 8, 2013


Here in Colorado we have "Saudi Aurora" and Montebello aka "Montghetto." I grew up in the latter and it was a rough neighborhood but the racial dogwhistle undertones of the "nick names" are clear and it's not called "Saudi Aurora" due to ay-rabs to my knowledge, but because there are some bad areas and apparently Saudi Arabia is sort of like a rough neighborhood except it's a whole country? People even go far as to say things like "don't throw that out, there are starving people in Saudi Aurora!" Ha ha. OK it was one person, a birther gun fetishist.
posted by lordaych at 1:11 PM on October 8, 2013


Most of the town-copranyms in Michigan are related to the number of (largely white) Southerners that came up for post-war manufacturing jobs, like Ypsitucky. Then there are some that are just insults, like Sagnasty for Saginaw. As for racism, we generally have that baked right in — Henry Ford set up a town specifically for his black workers and called it Inkster because haw haw ink is black.

Then there's places like Hell and Bad Axe, which have names that are kinda mock-proof.
posted by klangklangston at 5:57 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


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