What do I think of when I think of Detroit? CKLW, that's what, because when I grew up in northern Ohio in the late '60s and early '70s, that was the radio station we listened to. Detroit/Windsor, 50,000 watts of pop and Motown music wonder. I knew Detroit by the radio--the streets, the suburbs, the businesses, the music. (I'd been there a couple times too--the Henry Ford museum, Belle Isle. Not enough to count.)
I knew Detroit was rocked by the same kind of riots--even worse--than in Cleveland, neighborhoods burning, a city divided.
But when I thought of Detroit, it was the music, the cars, what to me at 14 or so seemed the height of cool.
By the time I was a junior in high school, our radio-listening habits changed--we started listening to FM stations out of Cleveland, and Detroit faded from view.
And now, so often it's portrayed a a city in trouble, automotive industry struggling, just one more rust-belt urban area on the downhill slide.
Or not all?
We went to IKEA in Canton, Michigan, this weekend. And that area seems to be anything but struggling. Plymouth, Canton, Novi--those area seemed alive and kickin' to me. Lots of shopping, upscale stores and dining, busy busy busy--no sign of urban blight anywhere.
I was watching the new last night and they were having quite the gala at the newly refurbished art museum, I believe--the reporter kept referring to the place by its initials and I had to infer just what was going on.
But it was tux and gown, jewels and diamond cuff link kind of grand, and a good time was being had by all--everyone seemed quite pleased with the facility, and predicted it would do great things for Detroit.
Well, between wanting to see the Henry Ford complex again, and desperately needing to go to IKEA again (now, that was FUN shopping!), and check out some other shopping we spotted, and being curious about the art museum, and the guys wanting to check out the baseball stadium for some time, I think another trip might be in order.
We passed 8 Mile Road. My memories of all the businesses I used to hear advertised there--and Eminem's movies--got all mixed up in my head.
Well, how about you? What are you thinkin' about urban renewal?