There is life in Detroit.
This morning, Dan and I had simply the best coffee at Astro, a gorgeous hipster cafe three doors down from the famed Slows BBQ. Americano (not on the menu, just ask for it) with cream and a delicate egg sandwich on a brioche roll with aioli. Perfection.
What was better was the fact that I ran into an acquaintance and everyone who arrived after us, the long patient linen of eager urbanites, looked like the picture of hipster idealism from any magazine. This is Detroit now. This is our city, not urban myth, but the flow of traffic from coffee joint to restaurant to hopping midtown happening – there is life in downtown Detroit, finally and fully.
On Wednesday, I lunched with the venerable Lisa Diggs of the Buy Michigan Now campaign, and she recounted a dinner the night prior in the heart of the city – packed, hopping, vibrant, full of life. This is Detroit now. Alive and well.
Is it a rebirth? Who knows and who cares. In the 1990s, I wrote a passionate op-ed about how I’ve been defending Detroit for decades and the thanks I got was a smashed window on my brother’s Ford Explorer when I dragged my cousins to a blues club one cold December night. I wondered in my twentysomething idealism whether anyone else cared about my hometown, whether it would get its due and offer our youthful zeal an outlet and a future.
On the way downtown today, we still passed shattered windows and gaping holes in long-vacant buildings. I almost cried when I learned the city said no to a plan to turn the open field that was Tiger Stadium into a place where city kids could play baseball. And we must do something about the Train Depot. (I know…people are on it.)
But it’s my city. Always has been. And it’s alive and well.
How you like them apples?