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.
Revisiting the Cut in 2012 is a very different experience. In 2009, a partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and the general public allowed the Cut (a former railway) to be cleaned up, paved, and made available to the public.
Now, it is clean, landscaped, and there are security stations (with emergency phones and cameras). There are access ramps at Gratiot (across from Eastern Market) and the riverfront (at Milliken State Park), as well as a ramp from Lafayette. You can also rent bikes from Wheelhouse Detroit if you prefer to bike the 1.35 mile path.
Street art from before the opening was kept in place. A news article about the cut that I saw written in 2007 said that they would continue to allow street artists to ply their art on the cut “as long as it was in good taste and not vulgar”, but I’m not sure if that rule stands today. The security cameras all over the place certainly don’t scream “go ahead and tag if you want!”
Nicole and I decided to walk the path this past weekend. It was bitterly cold and there were very few people on the path. I believe we saw one security guard (in a car, no less), and three people on bikes. However, it was at least sunny and bright and the air was clear.
This one was cool: The handprints smearing down the wall remind me of playing a zombie game like Left 4 Dead.
This one took us a minute. After rotating around it, we finally realized it was a buffalo or bison made of pink and blue hexes.
My personal favorite.
Cause nothing screams “thug life” like Courage the Cowardly Dog.
If you’ve never visited, you really should walk along the Cut. It’s a neat look at what can happen when the City and its people work together to create something wonderful.