Building Blocks of Motown
I had heard that Detroit was coming back before I got to Detroit. Now that I'm in Detroit, everything is geared toward continuing that message. It's on magazines, billboards, store fronts, and bumper stickers. It's even in the air. You can feel it. As I walked around downtown yesterday afternoon, the Tigers game just getting out, people were jubilant and—more importantly—outspokenly friendly.
"I'm feelin' that jacket," a young guy said to me with a swagger as he walked by with a smile.
That's the other thing: the young people are dressed up. They care. It's all part of the rebirth here it seems—to beautify the downtown area in everyway possible, starting with themselves.
You can feel the history in downtown Detroit because many of the original buildings from its glory days are still standing. They have character and integrity, and they're now being reformatted into modern workspaces, albeit with much of the original integrity retained. I was reading about a newer upstart this morning called Detroit Denim and how the owner wanted to bring manufacturing back to the city. "I couldn't have done it if I'd tried in Chicago, New York, LA, or San Francisco," he said of the enterprise; "I'd be dead in the water trying to pay rent." That's the call of Detroit right now. I'm wondering how many people are answering it.
There was a time in Detroit when these were the only buildings that really mattered. Now, however, they seem out of place. They're removed from the city center both literally and figuratively; banished to the outskirts along the river. Stylistically even, they no longer fit in.
Like I said: Detroit's rebirth is written on its walls everywhere you look. The entire city is on board. As I heard someone say last night: "We all make it, or no one does." I'm rooting for them.