Detroit, A lovely city?

otispunkmeyer

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Heading out to Detroit this weekend for the SAE World Congress next week (I will be presenting and I am not looking forward to that one bit!).

I have heard some, not so nice things about Detroit. Was also told to pony up for a taxi directly from the airport to the Marriot (which is the convention center hotel and apparently in the same building as GM's HQ) because taking public transport will be sketchy.

So in short, I am led to believe Detroit has a bit of a bad rap... is it deserved? Are there any places I should be avoiding? (I presume the CBD is generally ok)
 

Interrobang

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Heading out to Detroit this weekend for the SAE World Congress next week (I will be presenting and I am not looking forward to that one bit!).

I have heard some, not so nice things about Detroit. Was also told to pony up for a taxi directly from the airport to the Marriot (which is the convention center hotel and apparently in the same building as GM's HQ) because taking public transport will be sketchy.

So in short, I am led to believe Detroit has a bit of a bad rap... is it deserved? Are there any places I should be avoiding? (I presume the CBD is generally ok)
A Mate of mine went to Wayne State University mid 2000?s and he said that Detroit is quite bad crimewise. But he also said that if you avoid that time of the day where it is dark and don?t walk around with a sign above your head that says "tourist" or "I have a lot of disposable income", you?ll be fine. And Detroit features some very, very interesting arcitecture ...
Personally, if I had the chance, I?d definetly go visit Detroit. And see the City ... in my running shoes ... at day. ;)
 
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otispunkmeyer

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Oh dear

Sounds sketch

I was hoping there'd be some nice architecture to photograph. I guess its a good job I now own a Mirror-less NEX as opposed to my large EOS 7D. It is much more discreet when you are carrying it about and is easy to conceal. No night time work though by the sounds of it.

Still I'll get to have a look at some of GM's finest (ha) creations at the bottom level of their HQ.

Why is Detroit like it is? I guess at one time it was a great place... corporate america just tossed it to the vultures?
 

Interrobang

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GRtak

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As a lifelong resident of Michigan, I can tell you that Detroit's reputation is both earned and overblown.
 

Sevs753

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I actually work in the Ren Cen in Detroit. It has its nice areas but like it was said above, definitely don't walk at night and don't appear to be a tourist or have a lot of money.
 

CrzRsn

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Grab the popcorn for CrazyRussian's story...
If I'm thinking of the story you're referencing; I once accidentally ended up in a very bad neighborhood, and while waiting at the light a Detroit police officer pulled up next to me and actually told me to get out of there without stopping for redlights or stop signs.

Also, driving back to my apartment yesterday, I saw this bit of brilliance abandoned on the highway.



No driver, no people, no other cars around, no skid marks. Nothing. Just sitting there facing the wrong way down the freeway. Absolutely 0 idea how it got there. I see roughly 3-4 abandoned cars on the freeway a day so they're no longer a surprise, but this was so unexpected I actually didn't believe it the first time, took the next exit, and curved back around for a 2nd pass to make sure my eyes didn't lie to me and to get a photo.

But there are definitely nice areas. Not even just in the suburbs, but even in the city itself. If you have time, check out Slows on Michigan Ave for some amazing BBQ or Cliff Bells for a classy jazz bar to have a drink or two (thanks to BlaRo for introducing me to those 2 places).

What time are you getting in? I'm spending the weekend down in Pittsburgh again, but if you get in early enough Friday, perhaps an impromptu FG meetup over lunch/drinks is in order. Sevs? Jibduh? Hows that sound? GRtak, I'm still not sure where in MI you are, but if you're down near Detroit you too.
 
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Sevs753

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What time are you getting in? I'm spending the weekend down in Pittsburgh again, but if you get in early enough Friday, perhaps an impromptu FG meetup over lunch/drinks is in order. Sevs? Jibduh? Hows that sound? GRtak, I'm still not sure where in MI you are, but if you're down near Detroit you too.
I'm game for lunch.
 

jibduh

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All of midtown is pretty nice, I can agree with slows and cliff bell's. I'm told that some of the very downtown area is too, but I haven't really explored it much to vouch for it myself.

It's not uncommon to be driving through a neighborhood thinking: "huh, these houses are pretty decent" interspersed with others covered up with chipboard and cars with broken windows.

FG mini-meet sounds good with me. Names with faces and all that.
 

Eunos_Cosmo

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Detroit is fucking awesome. I will be going to school in Ann Arbor starting this fall, and I hope to visit Detroit often.
 

Sevs753

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Wow, the metro detroit crowd is really starting to grow. We'll have to have more FG mini meets.
 

jibduh

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Detroit is fucking awesome. I will be going to school in Ann Arbor starting this fall, and I hope to visit Detroit often.
Hey! Mazda 7/2 split buddy! High Five! :p

Ann Arbor is pretty sweet too. You'll have to let me try out that GSL-SE...
 

Eunos_Cosmo

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Ha, I doubt I'll bring the 7, but if I do you can drive it!
 

BlaRo

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Detroit is fucking awesome. I will be going to school in Ann Arbor
This is a classic case of "part one correlating with part 2."

Ann Arbor is 20 minutes southwest of Detroit, of course it's awesome. If Autoweek ever calls me to the mothership, I'd choose to live in Ann Arbor - it's a beautiful little college town, full of hot coeds, plenty of breweries, and I kicked myself for not getting a job at Automobile in their old office at a former brewery.

The rest of Detroit? Terrible...but the last time I was there, for the auto show, I was fortunate enough to check out the coolest places and businesses of Detroit. Green Dot Stables, Cliff Bells, the Fillmore Theater, Slow's (an auto journalist staple), John King Books, which is 7 stories of amazingness, and Vinsetta Garage, a former 1910s service garage now turned into an amazing restaurant and partially owned by the Crain family, who pays my bills. :D

But yeah, Detroit boggles belief. One of my friends who lives by the Fillmore best described it as, "it's like a 1950s, 1960s industrial town that never evolved past that." So it's like a time capsule, at least the parts that are still standing. There are entire swaths of abandoned houses that have just been left there, houses that have burned down and nobody has thought to tear the charred husks down, because nobody owns the property, whole neighborhoods bulldozed into dust and foundations and wild grass, packs of stray dogs, and wide open boulevards desolate with cars, except ones that were once on fire. Across from Slows is the Michigan Central Station, which is 18 floors of emptiness and in the middle of an entirely empty patch. They bulldozed the old Tiger Stadium years ago, nearby there, but haven't figured out what to do with the empty grass. Slow's is on a complex of tight brick buildings, probably from the 1920s, but it's clear that it used to be a bustling neighborhood before people left en masse. When I toured Detroit with CrazyRussian I couldn't help but think, "why don't they just have a guy drive a truck through these abandoned wooden buildings?" You think the "apocalypse" bullshit is just that, bullshit, but you go there and it's mindblowing how real it is.

I try not to be pessemistic about it, as Detroit has finally convicted its shitty corrupt ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and there are people who I know that are doing great things there, and anybody I know from there is passionate about the city even if they may live in Ferndale or Royal Oaks. But this isn't China: it'll take years to revitalize the city, even if I want to hold onto the idea that it will. For the meanwhile - enjoy it, go to the places mentioned above, rent a big-assed V8 of some sort, and keep the doors locked.
 

otispunkmeyer

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Wont be getting there until the sat afternoon I don't think. As I am with a group of other PhD guys and my supervisors... will probably not be able to venture too far from the Ren Center.

But I will see what the situation is when I get there...

Looking forward to it (though not the presenting bit)
 

GRtak

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It has been a few years ago, but I am told I walked through death alley twice and never even had a cross word spoken to me. I had gone down to take a friend to an appointment downtown and he was going to be there a few hours. I went over near the water front, Joe Louis and Cobo Hall to the Ren Cen, then through town were I got bored and went to the old Tiger Stadium. After a bit of walking through the stadium(cool guard was bored too) I went to see the new Tiger stadium and Ford Field(it was under construction so probably 2001/2). Then I went back downtown to meet my friend and get some grub.

I was not armed in any way(had permit), and I was alone. I would not do the same thing now, but I have health issues that would cause me a great deal of pain to do it. I am sure you can find another adventurous person to go with you so you will have a bit more safety in numbers.
 
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