Can you believe it?
A comeback city set to make good on its promise.
It’s amazing to think that one of my favorite t-shirts & slogans for our fair city throughout most of my life reads, “I’m so BAD I vacation in Detroit”.
When I was growing up, Detroit was notorious for fires, crime, murder, shootings, drugs and violence. Detroit was the murder capitol of the nation. Not exactly something to write home to Mom about. I know that our fair city still has a high murder rate per capita but our local authorities and people are working hard to change this. If you’re coming to town, just be smart, play it safe and keep your whits about.
In the 1980’s we used to drive in to the city for a Tigers ballgame in the now gentrified hipster center aka Corktown. We’d park in a secure lot with a guard, watch the game and hightail it out of Dodge afterward. When I permanently moved to the “Metro-Detroit” area in the 1990’s, my family would not even discuss renting an apartment in the city. It didn’t matter that I wanted to be near Wayne State University. I ended up in a small flat in the blue collar neighborhood of Hazel Park. (Which happens to be the home of the Detroit Free Press 2017 Restaurant of the Year, Mable Grey.) After H.P., I moved around from suburb to suburb, (Troy, Warren, Grosse Pointe Park, Berkley) before finally landing my permanent residence in Royal Oak.
I know, local “Detroiters” are calling me out right now for not actually living in the city proper. This used to be a big thing around here, suburbanites vs the city. As far as borders go, I don’t really care any longer, as long as we have a prospering economy in our area, that’s the really important thing.
If you’ve seen Eminem’s 8 Mile film, you know that is the border road of the city vs the suburbs. Downtown Royal Oak is between 10 & 11 mile roads off Woodward. Our location puts me about 25 minutes from downtown Detroit. Perfect for anything I want to do in all of Metro Detroit. Situated at the junctures Woodward Avenue, I-696 and I-75 freeways, Woodward Ave is a popular corridor. It’s one of our cities main traffic spokes running out from the city center on the Detroit River out to Pontiac & beyond. Where I live, I can get anywhere in the Metro-Detroit area in under an hour, give or take the traffic. (Where else in the world can you live in a somewhat urban environment and do that?)
As we’ve traveled around the world peforming for Princess Cruises, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many people who have an opinion on Detroit based on the media coverage, or one brief experience they had a million years ago, or the state of the American auto industry. I started traveling and performing full time for a living in 2011. Just after the auto industry came to a head with the governmental bail out, the actual city of Detoit then went bankrupt in 2013. I listened to so many folks disrespect our city, talk bad about our hard working people. It really bummed me out to hear that people could make a decision without any first hand experience or actual witness facts.
Many people are aware of my obsession with UNESCO & their various heritage sites across the world. I love their compilation book that most recently had an 4th edition update published in 2014. You can check out UNESCO and their other publications online.
” In 2015, Detroit was named a Unesco City of Design. But 2017 may be the year promise becomes reality. The new QLine streetcar is expected to open in April, connecting the central Woodward Avenue corridor some 3.3 miles between downtown and the revived New Center area. It passes through Midtown, home to the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the entertainment-focused District Detroit, where a stadium opening this fall will be shared by the Detroit Red Wings and, in a return from the suburbs, the Detroit Pistons. — ELAINE GLUSAC”
I’m excited for the new streetcars. However, I’m equally frustrated by this because we have one short circuit tract downtown already… This one still does not really link the city and it still doesn’t get the suburbanites an easy non-automotive route to the inner parts of our city. Funny that so many of the places we’ve traveled across the globe the public transportation is so easily accessed and obvious to foreigners. Here, Metro Detroiters voted NO in 2016 to an increase in our taxes to help link all of our existing travel systems so that there would be easier public mass transportation. I’m still beside myself.
Yet, here we are, Detroit a top tourist travel destination for 2017.