Detroit…the good, the bad and the beautiful

Detroit often gets a bum rap, but having grown up a mere half-hour outside of the city and having spent many a wonderful days there, I can attest to the fact that it has always been seriously underrated.  My mom grew up in the city, and went to school at Wayne State- her familiarity with the area makes her the perfect tour guide.  Yesterday, after leaving Vijay with a family friend for the afternoon, I strapped on little Vik and followed my mom around on a whirlwind tour of the city, taking in the good, the bad and the downright beautiful!
First stop; the Guardian Building with its incredible Art Deco interior.  We’ve been told that the rest of the building rivals, if not outshines the lobby, but unfortunately there were no tours being given when we stopped by.  The lobby provided plenty of eye-candy in and of itself, wouldn’t you agree?  From the painted murals, to the arched ceilings and Tiffany double-sided clock, this building is simply breathtaking.
From there, we bundled up against the wind (can you spot the snugly baby?), and headed down to the riverfront, taking in the towering, mirrored buildings, and the Monument to Joe Louis sculpture.
The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy has put some serious effort into turning the river walk into a gorgeous, pedestrian friendly path.  To say they have succeeded would be an understatement.  There are beautiful sculptures, vibrant gardens, a carousel with an incredible mermaid, and even a wetlands walk.  Even on this blustery day, there were bikers, runners, and walkers galore.
After our walk, we jumped back in the car, feeling invigorated, and decided to make a quick stop before lunch.  I have heard so much over the years about The Heidelberg Project, which “uses art to provoke thought, promote discussion, inspire action and heal communities.”  There is an eerie feeling to this particular form of art… turning urban blight, and discarded objects into art…
As we made our way to Mudgie’s Deli (Home of Detroit’s Best Sandwiches) for lunch, we caught sight of the other side of the city, the one that comes to mind for most people when they hear “Detroit.”

Abandoned houses, strewn with garbage and graffiti…

Perhaps the saddest site is the once-magnificent Michigan Central Station, which now sits abandoned and at the mercy of looters, graffiti-artists and scavengers.

But after our delicious lunch, as we headed home, we felt nothing but uplifted and inspired by all of the beauty and life that we saw in so many corners of the city.  If you live nearby, or decide to come to Michigan for a visit, don’t overlook The Motor City.  It’s alive and well…despite what you might have heard.

One thought on “Detroit…the good, the bad and the beautiful

  1. elle

    Really nice photography. You captured the city very well. Last time I did the tour, it was such an interesting juxtaposition of the historic and architectural aspects butted up next to the closed businesses with graffiti on the windows. You can literally walk a few steps and see a Botticelli painting, and then walk a few more steps and see craziness and deterioration.

    My favorite image is the verdi gris statue with the gold atomic sun looking planet thing. Nice angle on that.



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