Friday, July 3, 2009

An Unexpected Gem.

So I'm writing from the fine city of Charlotte, North Carolina, and I'm having an absolutely fantastic time.

But I gotta admit something.
Something that I thought I'd never say.
It really has nothing to do with Charlotte.
But I have to say it.

I went to Detroit, Michigian for the first time a few days ago. And you know what?
..Here it goes...
I actually liked it.

It was a fantastic trip. Yes, there were homeless people laying out half-naked in the streets. Yes, some vandal was walking around breaking glasses and screaming obscenities. Yes, I was accosted by no less than five people begging me to buy them lunch. It fits all the stereotypes, and the depression of the city is nearly palpable...but it wasn't nearly as awful as I thought it would be. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. I think its geographic location is striking, and its mirror city across the river is so candid and unique as well. I loved the physical layout of the city, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the suburbs outside of the downtown area. (Birmingham was awesome!)

I spent some time in GM's Renaissance Center. I'm utterly perplexed by its conception and execution. It's strange that all the right elements exist to create a full, thriving city center...yet, it just does not succeed. In fact, its blatant failure stands as a beacon of pessimism for the city to continually behold.

The architecture is innovative and awe-inspiring, the location along the river is stunning, there is a central area full of room for cute shops, there is an enormous car show room...and yet it just does not come together. Truthfully it is heart-breaking. Here is one of the iconic structures of a great American city...and it lays on the brink of ruin.

Regardless, I certainly have a new opinion of both Michigan and Detroit. Yes, things are bad there. If they can pull themselves out of their insane dedication to the automobile industry than perhaps there is still hope for the city. The elements are there for a booming city--it just needs some kind of spark for it to boom once more.