November 11, 2009

Star at the Packard

Star at the Packard
Originally uploaded by Rick Rock Radio
"I hear 'em singing about shutting Detroit down ...
I'll never leave because this is my hometown ..."

– Kid Rock "In Times Like These, 2009

For years, I was one of those Michiganders who would drive in to Detroit, attend an event, and drive back out. People said, "Stay on the main drag and don't go anyplace else."

A few years ago, I was good at driving in and driving out. I would get off the exit and visit Tiger Stadium, maybe snap a few pictures, and head down Michigan Avenue on my way to Comerica Park. But, I didn't sway. It was Michigan, maybe Trumbull, Cass, and Woodward.

Then, I wandered. I wandered to Henry the Hatter. Not a bad walk. Corner of Broadway and Gratiot ("Gratiot, that's a real rough route ..."). Wandered a little more, walked down to Lafayette, bought myself a Coney Dog.

I became curious about Detroit. Its history. It has a rich history, you know. Wait, let me go back. Back to 1976, when Spider–man was at Cobo Hall and my family drove in and drove out, but lost our car in the Cobo Parking Garage. Stress? Yea, my parents were stressed. We were in Detroit and this was the '70s. That was my first history with the 'D'.

On Flickr, I started to view other people's awesome images of Detroit's decay. It's amazing that decay could be so beautiful ... but you have to go beyond the decay and see the history, the "what was."

I started learning about Michigan Central Station, the old Packard Plant, the Fisher Body 21 plant, etc. It all started with the decaying Tiger Stadium. Some of these photographers had other "cool" pictures on their Flickrs. And I became curious. I wanted to see "first hand" what they see.

And a journey began. Lori and I have explored all kinds of Detroit places. She doesn't even say, "You need to let it go now," about Tiger Stadium. She and I even toured the Heidelberg Project and learned its vast history from Tyree, the founder, Saturday. It's said that 25 years ago, you wouldn't walk that neighborhood in the daylight.

I would venture to guess that Detroit can become a great city again. It will take some work, some vision. Some people are going to have to realize that the history so prevalent in the city has relevance.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Rick, nest time your in Detroit try Slows by the old train station on Michigan Ave. Or if you want a great meal at what I think is now the best restaurant in Detroit try the Detroit Fish Market.

Also, the Art Museum is well worth the time.

Jim W