Ria is the first Detroit 20-something blogger that I started reading. I remember being so excited to find someone who lived where I did. When I met her, I was even more excited to find she’s just as sweet and cute as she is on her blog. And we have a ton in common, like having birthdays one day apart! She’s lived in the metro Detroit area longer than I have, so she’s got even more to say about it’s fabulousness.
Detroit has never been something I say with disdain. You know how some people say it and then act like they need to wash their mouth out or treat it as if it’s a leper and there is no way they want to be associated with it. When I was young it was always met with excitement because it was an environment I only experienced on special occasions. It meant we’d see big buildings and take the people mover. My mom worked in the city and *gasp* commuted using the city bus! Like many, we lived in the suburbs about 30 minutes outside the city.
I remember going to the Fox Theatre to see David Copperfield with my Grandma and Mom. I remember watching the Thanksgiving Day parade in one of the banks overlooking Woodward.
Detroit, for me, was not a scary place. It was where my mom worked and that made it glamorous all in itself.
When I told my friends I was going to attend Wayne State University in Detroit I remember the look on their faces, like I might be part crazy, wanting to walk alone down “there”. After I started school I would ask friends to come hang out in the city, some would balk. It was then I realized that others had preconceived notions of the city I felt close with. Clearly, I was a little naïve, I mean it’s a big city. Big cities can be scary or intimidating. Yes there are bums, homeless people, hoopdy cars, you know what I’m talking about.
But these are the places that have so much culture and history. Detroit has so much culture and history. You can see a glimmer of what Detroit used to be in the pieces of brick that still make up some of the streets. Even houses that would be considered fancy, if in another neighborhood.
So I spent my 5 years in college in Detroit. I rollerbladed in Cass Corridor, I watched the Detroit/Windsor fireworks for the top of the parking structure on campus and I ate and drank at little gems in the city. I witnessed the new Tiger Stadium being built. I visited the Orchestra Hall for an assignment. I sat in the Detroit Institute of Arts with my art history class (it was located across the street from campus). I did interviews in the Crain’s Communication building.
In 2006, I left the city for another job. I still miss the view when driving into the city.
Now it’s a treat to go to the city, like when I was a kid, though I haven’t rode the people mover (maybe I should put that on my list). I’ve celebrated Red Wings victories (and losses) at Andrew’s on the Corner and Joe Louis. I’ve watched the 4th of July fireworks from the rooftop of my friend’s condo and saw freighters making their trips through the Detroit River to the Great Lakes.
There is something beautiful about Detroit. I wish more people saw it, because if they did, maybe the city wouldn’t be the butt of so many jokes.