Detroit: Blighted But Also Blessed
My parents used to live close to Detroit on the Canadian side of the border in a town called Sarnia. That’s not where I grew up. It’s just where my parents retired to.
On one of my annual visits to see my parents I thought it would be a good idea to travel the short distance to Detroit and spend a few days there. Why not? It was just over the horizon after all. I booked a hotel online and headed across the border. This was on a Sunday in March, 2010.
After I was checked into my hotel I grabbed my camera bag and went out to have a look around. Downtown Detroit was deserted. I saw more cars than people, and I didn’t see many cars. I could walk for blocks without seeing any sign of life. Many of the buildings were shuttered and desolate. Even many of the stores that appeared to be still in business were closed.
I walked over to Woodward Avenue, the main north-south roadway. The street was mostly desolate but I saw a restaurant and bar called the Hockey Town Cafe that was open and I could see some people inside. Next door was a grand old theatre called the Fox. It was quite imposing and obviously still in operation. Even here though it was largely barren of other people. The occasional car or pedestrian would pass. Of the few people on the street some appeared to be homeless.