Detroit is fascinating, wonderful, and terrible. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, and we hear gunshots at night, and there are car thefts and vandalism on our street, but none of us have any regrets about where we’ve moved, and so far at least, the positive far outweighs the negative.
But it’s not like that for everyone. We’re lucky that this neighborhood is among the safest in the city. We’re lucky that we have neighbors that watch out for suspicious activity and that watch out for each other. We’re luck that when we call the police, they show up immediately. Other parts of the city are not so fortunate as us.
A discussion on Reddit today reminds us that while positive growth is happening all over our city, other parts are a terrifying warzone, and the bad guys are winning. We can’t close our eyes to this and pretend everything’s okay—it’s not. Not by a long shot.
You see a lot of entertaining things when you spend time walking around the city.
Today we took a four mile walk with our dog. We went from the house to the corner of Woodward and Warren, down Woodward to Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, and then back to Woodbridge via MLK Jr.
Along the way, we saw a lot of entertaining and interesting sights. The first thing I noticed it that there is some kind of new art project/tagging project going on. On random sidewalk blocks and spots on the ground throughout my entire path, I saw black squares spraypainted with yellow crosses. I have no idea what they symbolize or what the message is. Continue reading
A lot has happened since I moved to Detroit. I recently moved from the Leland to Corktown, and have taken on a new venture, but let’s rewind back to September, just before I took the leap and moved into the city.
I was at TEDxDetroit, and I was very moved by a presentation made by Brian Mulloy, about the founding of Detroit and the role Chief Pontiac played in Detroit’s history. I learned that the French created Detroit to be a Utopian society, where the French and native Americans would live together and learn from each other, in peace and harmony, and with mutual respect. It is an amazing story, and I met him after the event at the networking afterglow. Continue reading
The Leland Lobby
I have now been living in the city of Detroit for a bit more than three months. I can say that it has been everything I hoped for and more. Some of it has been a struggle, but there’s nothing about this city that doesn’t keep me going every day. A lot is changing, and I’m starting to feel like a real Detroiter. Just knowing what that means is satisfying enough for me.
The building I live at, The Leland, is a constant source of entertainment for me. When I signed my lease (while sitting at the bar, mind you), the bartender was arguing with a hooker about moving her furniture up the wrong entrance. The hooker thought she was being profiled for the way she dressed, but the bartender eventually convinced her that the rules were the same for everyone. Did I mention that I pay my rent at the bar? With my debit card!
While I was in Vegas covering CES for a week, Lincoln and Nicole went house hunting. From my perch out in the desert, I followed along with their adventures via text message and phone calls.
They kept mentioning “The one in Woodbridge”. From where I was sitting, nothing really got me excited, so I was a bit aloof. I looked at the MLS listing, and it said “one bathroom”. I looked at pictures and it looked like it was falling apart. I wasn’t excited, and I couldn’t understand why they kept talking about it.
I visited the Dequindre Cut once back before the City cleaned it up and opened it to the public. Like much of Detroit exploration, it felt dangerous and fun because it felt off-limits, while at the same time feeling comfortably safe. I felt that even if I ran into hoodlums or street artists, they would at least share the common bond with me that we were both in a forbidden place, trespassing. We would, at the very least, both be Detroiters.
My road to Detroit was not paved in gold, with dancing fairies and singing elves leading the way. I decided to move to Detroit back in April of this year, and it has been a struggle for me to find the right home, get approved for it and come up with the money. There have been many setbacks along the way, so to say to you now that I will be a resident of the city of Detroit on Tuesday, October 11, 2011, is as great an honor as it is a relief.
Starting a search for a new home from scratch, in a new neighborhood, can be intimidating at best. It’s a daunting process. You don’t know anyone, you don’t know what streets to drive down, who to call, where to start looking. You need a home base to start your search.
We had tried driving randomly and aimlessly around Midtown and Woodbridge just to see what we could see. We didn’t find a single For Sale sign in Midtown and a depressingly small number of them in Woodbridge. I knew that there were houses available, but didn’t know where to start.
Rewind back to June of 2011 for a moment. I am friends with Yelp’s Detroit community manager, Annette. She was helping out with a sponsorship for Expo Icrontic (a big event we throw every year to celebrate the Icrontic community), and wanted to meet up. She suggested a new place that had opened up in Midtown, Thistle Coffee Shop.