Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: What to see in Detroit?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,586
    Blog entries
    3

    What to see in Detroit?

    A friend invited to Detroit for the weekend. What should I see, planning-wide? I'm not talking about touristy things, but rather the good, bad and ugly.

    Not on the agenda: Ren Cen, Greektowgn, or the Henry Ford Museum. Likely: the few remaining nice cneighhborhoods in the city, parts of the urban prairie, Mexicantown, Belle Isle, and an Arab restaurant.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    A friend invited to Detroit for the weekend. What should I see, planning-wide? I'm not talking about touristy things, but rather the good, bad and ugly.

    Not on the agenda: Ren Cen, Greektowgn, or the Henry Ford Museum. Likely: the few remaining nice cneighhborhoods in the city, parts of the urban prairie, Mexicantown, Belle Isle, and an Arab restaurant.
    I like Belle Isle. Too bad they closed the zoo.



    The Book Building is pretty cool. The top floor is vacant so you can get some pretty good views of the city for free.







    Also, consider the People Mover. It's still only 50 cents and you can get some great views of all the hodgepodge of rehabilitated, decaying and doomed buildings.





    This building is scheduled to be blown up for what else...parking. If your up that way, see if its still there. Not sure the name of the building, but it's near Grand River and Washington right next to one of the People Mover stations.




    Outer Drive is a nice drive, there are also nice, neighborhoods of brick homes north of Jefferson and to the west of Indian Village. I can't remember the streets exactly but it's in some of the more decayed areas directly east of Indian Village maybe in the Grand Blvd. area. Motown Museum is worth a look even if that's not your kind of music.

    Oh and be sure and drive 8 mile!
    Last edited by Super Amputee Cat; 22 Apr 2005 at 1:00 AM.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    Posts
    407
    There is an excellent website on Detroit and it is very revealing. Do a google search for "Detroit Ruins," and it is a series of photo essays documenting the ruins of Detroit, and it is chilling to see a modern American city presented as if it was one of the ruins of ancient cities popular with tourists these days.

    Detroit has fallen harder than any other cities in the U.S., and it should be on any planner/urban lover's itinerary. The downtown "skyscraper graveyard" should be on your list.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,360
    For nice neighborhoods, check out Indian Village (just north of E. Jefferson about 2 miles from downtown), Boston Edison (just west of Woodard about 2 miles north of downtown), Mexicantown (over by the Michigan Central Station along Verner Hwy)

    For urban praire, you have to go to the far eastside (east of Conner St. north of E. Jefferson, west of Alter, and south of Mack) This area has long N/S blocks that have only 2-3 houses per sie of street. Also, see the neighborhood straddling Chene St. going south from I-94 on the near-ish Eastside.

    For old industrial infrastructure, see the old Packard factory complex at Grand Blvd and Mt. Elliot. It's huge and pretty cool

    For urban regeneration, see the redevelopment in the Brush Park neighborhood (just east of Woodard, just north of I-375)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Gale Crater
    Posts
    2,859
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    the Henry Ford Museum
    That's in Dearborn.

    Things to see:

    1) Do a 3-fer-1: Tiger Stadium, right by Corktown, right by the abandoned train station

    2) Detroit Institute of Arts - Diego Rivera

    3) African American History Museum

    4) Fox Theater

    Things to do:

    1) Check out the ladies in the clubs when you "Bounce" at 6 different night clubs: Check it out at http://www.detnews.com/2005/events/0.../S02-64665.htm My girlfriend says its loads of fun. I've been to the Town Pump. Real nice jazzy Detroit feel.

    2) See a play at the Gem Theater

    3) Eat at "Intermezzo" because it is delicious

    4) Eat at a taquieria, this page http://www.mexicantown.org/homepage/directory.htm has "really authentic" as a category, and yes, they are good. Be ready to speak Spanish, though.
    Last edited by Wannaplan?; 22 Apr 2005 at 11:01 AM.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,029
    Blog entries
    2
    Quote Originally posted by PennPlanner
    There is an excellent website on Detroit and it is very revealing. Do a google search for "Detroit Ruins," and it is a series of photo essays documenting the ruins of Detroit, and it is chilling to see a modern American city presented as if it was one of the ruins of ancient cities popular with tourists these days.
    Very good site. I learned a ton and was very interested as an abandoned building aficiando and phobic.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cleveland
    Posts
    29
    There is a nice neighbor hood called Green Acres in Northwest Detroit. It is in between Either 6 mile and 8 Mile or 7mile and 8mile near Livernois avenue. It is basically a garden type subdivision within the city limits

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cleveland
    Posts
    29
    As for ugly... some family of mine lives in central Detroit between Woodward and Oakland Avenues Near the Chrysler plant south of Hamtramck. There are plenty of big, burned down and rotting houses. I even saw one house that was sitting on its foundation lopsided. It would be great if they could renovate those and restore them to their former glory.

    Also check out the Gordy Estates... nice large homes.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 2001
    Location
    skating on thin ice
    Posts
    6,958
    You might want to take a quick bus ride to Windsor and walk along the water front, provides a great view of Detroit's downtown.

    Stop by tunnel BBQ and Top hat BBQ for sauce and ribs (in that order)
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    Intermezzo has been closed for years now.

    You can see the casinos and how they have reused old buildings from historic brick bread factories, fur trading posts and even an IRS building!

    Corktown is a great neighborhood and the oldest standing homes in the City. Many date back to the civil war.

    The Arab-American Museum should be open soon in Dearborn.

    You will be surporsed at the number of new homes or renovated lofts in the City, even though they are a lot, they are still a drop in the bucket comopared to what is needed. Makes an interesting comparative analysis.

    The website for the ruins is DetroitYes.com, its sort of for Arm-Chair Urban Planners, the same way you have armchair QB's.

    The Guardian Building at Griswold and Congress and the Fisher Building at Second and Grand Blvd are among the best old skycrapers anywhere.

    If you like the arts and crafts movemement, many of the tiles used in the art deco buildings built in Detroit and other cities. It is located near Indian Village (Fancy-lad area) along East Jefferson Near Belle Isle

    For the Good vs Bad Neighborhoods nothing compares better than Rosedale Park at Southfield Freeway/Fenkell/Grand River Intersection (Big Houses to the N, Nice standard size ones to the S) and Brightmoor (AKA Blightmoor) a few miles West on Fenkell.

    Also the area of SW Detroit down in the industrial wasteland by the Rouge River is a surreal experience, most Detroiters are scared of this area and it conjurs up a Mad Max Movie. Giant Bridges, Railroad Tracks, Ship Yards, Mines, factories, and petroleum storage tanks are all intermixed with occasional tracts of houses and a sewer processing plant.

    Make sure you see Comerica Park, Ford Field (Homes of this years All Star and Super Bowl) as well as the surrounding theatre district (One of the largest in the country both in terms of theatres and seats).

  11. #11
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2003
    Location
    coastal rainforest
    Posts
    749
    If you want to do a pretty thorough tour in and around the City, try this route:

    From the city center (Hart Plaza, Joe Louis Arena, RenCen area) drive out Jefferson Ave. to Grosse Pointe. During my last visit ('03), I noted some pretty decent redevelopment occurring along Jefferson. Take note of Alter Road -- the dividing line between Detroit and Grosse Pointe. From crack house to mansion (old old auto money) in an eye blink. From Jefferson (or Lake Shore Drive, as it's called in Grosse Pointe), take a left at Eight Mile Road (the Pointers call it Vernier Road, I think) and drive 8 Mile Road to Gratiot. Take a left on Gratiot and drive back into the city. If it's a clear day, the drive down Gratiot will afford some pretty unique views of the approaching city skyline. As you mentioned in your post, a must-do side trip is a drive around Belle Isle. Very cool. People love to party in the pavillions. If you don't look too much like a cop, get out of your car and walk through some of the party scenes. The bass will be pumpin' for shizzure. Oh, and if you're white do not (and I am fairly serious here) do not go over to Belle Isle after dark (especially on Friday and Saturday). As you leave Belle Isle, go straight onto Grand Blvd. for a mile or so. You will likely be impressed by some of the decay in this particular part of town. Grand Blvd @ Mack Ave. & Kercheval is really something to see. If you keep going on Grand Blvd (the road will make a few 90-degree turns), you will wind your way into Hamtramck (watch for Jos. Campeau Rd.). Definitely go to Hamtramck. Very culturally diverse city. I left part of my heart at the corner of Jos. Campeau and Holbrook. Have a poonch-kee (I can't remember how to spell it --- pynczke??) while you're there. It's a killer fried doughnut-thing that Homer Simpson would love.

    Next, drive out Woodward Ave. (Holbrook Ave. west out of Hamtramck will get you there) north to Royal Oak (12 Mile Road area). Have lunch (or dinner) in Royal Oak or at least take a stroll through the city center. Royal Oak (and its brethren to the south "Fashionable Ferndale") represent pretty decent compact urban form in an inner-ring suburb. From R.O., take a mile road west (it gets into rich exurbia-land the further north you go (ie., 15 Mile Road, 20 Mile Road, etc.) and drive Telegraph or Grand River back into town. These roads angle away from you as you drive west on the mile road, but no worries, one of the greatest things about Detroit is the connectivity of the surface streets. No matter where you are in the city, you'll always have a chance to get where you want to go (or, perhaps, where you don't want to go) in a myriad of different ways.

    Go to Eastern Market on Saturday or Sunday morning (off of Gratiot near I-75). This place on a spring/summer/fall weekend morning is worth a trip to Detroit all by itself.

    Have fun. Don't die.

  12. #12

  13. #13

    Check out this web site

    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    A friend invited to Detroit for the weekend. What should I see, planning-wide? I'm not talking about touristy things, but rather the good, bad and ugly.

    Not on the agenda: Ren Cen, Greektowgn, or the Henry Ford Museum. Likely: the few remaining nice cneighhborhoods in the city, parts of the urban prairie, Mexicantown, Belle Isle, and an Arab restaurant.
    http://detroityes.com/home.htm I love industrial buildings and Detroit is one of the best cities for that. Unfortunately many of the buildings are ruins, but that makes them intriguing in a different way.

  14. #14

    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    1,548
    Dan, what did you see in Detroit? I'm interested in your impression of my hometown.

    BTW, I think Detroit has assumed a new role in the American consciousness over the last 2-3 decades. Detroit has gone from being the "Automotive Capital of the World" to being shorthand for "post-industrial urban dystopia". The city has (wrongfully, I believe) become the whipping boy for all that is wrong with American cities.

    How often has anyone heard someone simply say "Detroit" when they want to invoke an image of crime, grit and racial tensions out of control? Detroit has its issues, but it is so much more than just the bad images.

    I hope Dan saw some of the good stuff.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Gale Crater
    Posts
    2,859
    Dan, please tell about your trip!! I bet it was wet and cold!

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 23
    Last post: 18 Sep 2014, 11:25 AM
  2. Detroit 187
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 27 Sep 2010, 4:18 PM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last post: 06 Feb 2008, 2:48 PM
  4. Replies: 7
    Last post: 22 Oct 2007, 11:29 PM
  5. Hello from Detroit!
    Introduce Yourself
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 04 Mar 2007, 9:15 PM