The first response I got, almost every time after I excitedly told a friend I'd be visiting Detroit, MI, for a job was, "What's out there? It's not the safest place, don't go out at night or walk anywhere by yourself." For some reason, that didn't scare me. What scared me was when my brother told me how cold it'd be out there during January. I guess I'm spoiled by our L.A. weather.
I knew nothing about Detroit when I arrived, but I fell in love with it by the end of the day (I was there for a day only). It's certainly sad to see a city in decay, but it's so beautiful to find how passionate the people are for their city. Everyone there was so nice. So nice. They were eager to share their stories, their favorite places I should check out, the history behind an architecture... It's also beautiful to see new lives in Detroit - cafes, restaurants and shops.
I got up at dawn, drove around in and out of the city for a bit. I have read about a coffee shop, Chez Zara, with really good nutella latte, so I had to stop by. Now, don't scream "WHAT?!" at me, but I am not a fan of nutella. However, this drink was quite good. It was creamy and smooth, very comforting for a cold morning. By 9am, my client took me to Avalon International Breads for breakfast. I chose sticky bun, which was huge and not too sweet. For the next few hours my client showed me around town, visited Eastern Market, Michigan Central Station, The Detroit Mercantile Co., Great Lakes Coffee, Guardian Building... For lunch, we went to Slows Bar-B-Q. mmm... Pulled Pork...
After work (thanks to a tweet from Molly), I went to visit Signal Return, a letterpress print shop/workshop. The shop was closed that day, but Joel was so nice to let me in and showed me around. The space was amazing! If only L.A. has something similar. After I finished shooting the space, Joel took time out and took me to Belle Isle, an island park in the Detroit River. My favorite spots there are the aquarium and the conservatory. Sadly, they were closed by the time we got there. :(
Overall, Detroit reminds me a lot of Portland, I would definitely visit again. And I think the city deserves a second chance and to be seen with fresh eyes because it is going toward a new and very good direction.
Chez Zara 1555 Broadway Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 962-9272
Avalon International Breads 422 W Willis St Detroit, MI 48201 (313) 832-0008
Great Lakes Coffee 3965 Woodward Ave Detroit, MI 48201 (313) 831-9627
The Detroit Mercantile Co. 3434 Russell, Unit 109 Detroit, MI 48207 (313) 831-9000
Signal Return 1345 Division St., Ste 102 Detroit, MI 48207 (313) 567-8970
Belle Isle 6925 E Jefferson Ave Detroit, MI 48218 (313) 628-2081