Sunday, June 7, 2009

From That Angle

Watching the Red Wings game last night in a room of about 12 people, someone said "From that angle, Detroit looks beautiful." Of course, this person was referring to one of the many gratuitous shots that television networks cut to before and after commercial breaks. It's amazing how many different viewpoints they can construct of the giant fist or the Renaissance Center. It's also important to note that this comment did not seem intended as a backhanded or front-handed insult to the city, simply an observation that from one specific camera shot, Detroit looked nice.

And I agree. Detroit definitely did look nice from that camera angle. There was a little bit of river, a little bit of the RenCen, and people walking up and down on the RiverWalk. It looked like a place that people would voluntarily spend their time - well, at least regular people - personally, I would always voluntarily choose to spend my time downtime.

The thing that really bothers me about this type of observation, from people who both live inside and outside of Michigan, is that there are many additional angles from which the city is beautiful, and not just in that only attractive in the way a parent can think an ugly child is beautiful. It's the general mental image, preconception, and unfortunate fear that keep people away from even heading down into the city to appreciate some of the things that it has to offer. The adventurous and interested, once they build the necessary momentum, venture into the D and take advantage of some of the fun and interesting things to do in the city - despite the nefarious rumor that there is nothing in the city but burned out homes and a palpable feeling of despair. There are places in the city where this is the case, but there is so much more to our urban anchor.

Two of my very good friends that I have met over the last year are from suburban Chicago and New York. They currently reside and work in Ann Arbor, but they regularly take expeditions into big, scary Detroit. They've been to the D.I.A., Comerica Park, Greektown, and several of the dining establishments that actually call Detroit home. Believe it or not, even after these visits, they're looking for more things to do in the city. Shock!

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that many cities simultaneously suck and rule, and Detroit is no exception. Next weekend the Red Bull Air Races are taking place over the Detroit River, so this may be a great opportunity for you to take your inaugural trip to Detroit, or to give it another shot after writing our city off so many years ago. Detroit did look actually aesthetically pleasing during the hockey game, and it wasn't a trick of the camera - though the only way for you to find out is to actually go and ch' ch' ch' ch' ch' ch' check it out.

1 comment:

Dan A. said...

what's it all about

don't forget stanley cup parade sometime this week/end