I expected there to be an air of danger, as poverty and crime are positively correlated. Never did it feel dangerous, even when we went into a gas station at 10:30pm (which we were explicitly warned not to do by savvy Michiganders who live Detroit adjacent) to get cash to give to a stranger to drive us home.
Everyone I talk to is optimistic about Detroit reassuming its place as the economic and artistic hub of the region. My aunt used to live relatively close to downtown when she was young. She could take public transit to go shopping on Woodward with her girlfriends or alone. I spoke briefly to her at family Christmas, and we’re both waiting to see Detroit come back.
How lovely and romantic some of the old buildings are, how proud and dignified. It’s weird to anthropomorphize buildings or a city, but every neighborhood I drove through didn’t feel dangerous or seedy. Detroit is an inspiring place, I can’t help but be excited for its return. Places like the Heidelberg Project make me think people are banding together for progress.
Like an aging, beautiful, and talented movie star who has lost her health and youth, Detroit is steadily recovering, gathering her strength to reinvent herself and come back stronger than ever.