My home is Virginia, but I spent five years living in Detroit, Michigan and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it once in a while.
Detroit has a heart that pounds through your chest like an old beat-up sledgehammer. It’s dirty and noisy, but still powerful and captivating. During my years residing there, I was in love with the energy; it was palpable and irresistible, dragging me toward it like a moth to a flame.
Sometimes as I would drive up 95 North, back to my sunny loft on Adams Avenue, the city’s skyline would seem to unfold before like a children’s pop-up book. First I’d see old Tigers’ stadium and the Michigan Train Station, both eerie skeletons full of deterioration. Then the skyscrapers would come into view, a mix of ornate pre-war facades and newer structures with the sharp angles made of steel and glass.
I couldn’t help feeling like I belonged there; a misfit amongst other misfits.
The reasons why Detroit scares off most people at first glance are evident as you walk down Woodward Avenue and witness abandoned buildings, littered sidewalks and too many folks left to rot without homes. This feeling is multiplied outside of downtown, where hundreds, if not thousands, of homes have been torched or vandalized, leaving the streets looking like a war zone. The vacant-ness feels dangerous and maybe even terrifying.
Yet if you dig deeper and find a moment to enjoy the beauty amongst the chaos, then you see what makes Detroit special. For instance, try standing in front of The Spirit of Detroit. You will see the amount of pride Detroiters carry for their city. It’s tangible, as solid as the Joe Lewis Fist. Go to DEMF and you will feel it in the air as the music vibrates your soul. Attend a Tigers’ game and you will hear it at Comerica Park when the crowd goes wild over a home run. Go to any one of Detroit’s amazing restaurants and you can taste it in the food. Take one look at the casino lights and you will see it there as bright as day.
The Motor City is alive.
The people there are built from hard work, passion for the arts and a zest to persevere through any circumstance. They have seen enough turmoil, grief and depression to make them close up shop more than anyone would care to mention, but their tough skin and big hearts have carried them through. The people of Detroit fight hard and love even harder.
They stay true to their city for a reason.
Photo courtesy of Leroy on Stocksnap.io