It’s a sad day preceded by three sad months. The whole sordid saga began in January and finally the prosecutor has reached her decision. And it’s a doozy. The mayor refuses to step down, and while I admire his “keep at it” mentality, I’m disgusted with what he’s done to our city’s reputation. Not that it wasn’t already tarnished; when I say I’m from Detroit to people who live in other states, they look at me, frown, and ask if I carry a gun. When people who live in Detroit’s suburbs find out I work downtown they ask me how I can possibly feel safe and why on earth I would choose to spend time down there outside of my work hours. I once took a friend to a Tigers game and suggested we hit a bar about a block outside the stadium after it was over. He looked at me and said “No thank you, let’s go home.” Home for him is a suburb an hour away from the city proper.
The current scandal only worsens our already bad reputation and it pains me to see that all the progress that we’ve seen the past few years is going to be thrown out the window thanks to a healthy dose of sex and texts.
But, since I have had the privilege of being exposed to the beautiful things about the city, let me share just a few things that I love about Detroit. Hopefully it combats your newly formed negative impressions thanks to our crappy-ass mayor.
- You can nearly always find free parking. Meters are free after 6 and since it’s not a hotspot a la Chicago or LA, there’s always one open. And if you absolutely can’t find a free meter, garages are available for $5. When’s the last time you paid $5 to park your ride in Chi?
- Great theater. The good people at Inside Detroit once told me that the D has the most live theater seats outside of NYC. I never would have guessed it, but I believe what they say. And our theaters aren’t boring venues, either. I’m talking old-school, 1920s movie house turned top-notch theater, like the Fox. I’m talking the largest Masonic Temple in the world, turned theatre.
- Great food. I really do love my food. From greasy spoons to 4-diamond experiences, Detroit has it all. And don’t even get me started on the variety. In the mood for Greek? Greektown is the obvious choice. Feel like a margarita? Hit up Mexicantown. Really want to tempt your tastebuds with a little Middle Eastern cuisine? Head to Dearborn, which is just outside the city and boasts the largest concentration of Arabs outside of the Middle East.
- History, history, history. Detroit was settled by the French in the 1700s. But outside of that, the architecture and buildings are amazing. Many cities have abandoned their history for a more modern look, but not us. Intermixed among the modern is the historic, making our skyline unique.
- I can shop ’til I drop. In just a short drive I can find myself in any store, from T.J. Maxx to Gucci.
- A region outside the city limits. Part of the reason we have such great food, shopping, theater, nightlife, and general entertainment is because Detroit is more than the city limits. Want to pretend you’re rich and fabulous? Stroll along the streets of Birmingham. Feel like hangin’ with the blue-collar folk? Find a dive bar in one of the many inner ring suburbs that line the city limits. Looking to get away from it all? Drive less than an hour from the city limits to one of our many Metroparks.
I could wax on about any one of these things and there are a plethora of others (great music, awesome neighborhoods, and awesome sports) that I didn’t even touch on. But I hope this has instilled some sense of interest in the place I call home. Ignore the negative, consider the positive, and explore all that Detroit has to offer.