After breakfast at a coffee shop on Woodward Avenue in some suburb, we headed into Detroit. It’d been eight years since my last visit, and I was without a tour guide this trip, so I fear I may have been too nervous to show Mark any of the really heavy-duty decay. It is, however, still there, if a little harder to find because of “gentrification” downtown and demolition elsewhere.
To make things more interesting, we just happened to arrive the day the first game of the World Series was being played in the new Comerica Stadium downtown, so the whole area seemed disorientingly occupied.
The Book-Cadillac Hotel is apparently being converted into condos. I’ll believe it when I see it. While there seems to be a lot of money flowing into downtown Detroit right now, I have my doubts that it will stick, or that it will even continue flowing. It all seems a little forced to me.
There’s even a Borders downtown now in the Compuware Center, a new building in the middle of a sea of abandoned skyscrapers dating from the 1920s to the 1970s. It has a nice parking garage where we were able to get some great pictures — and park for free.
After downtown, we drove out Michigan Avenue to Dearborn and circled back across the northern border, covering the whole length of 8-Mile Road. I made my annual pilgrimage to whatever A&P-owned store I was near (Farmer Jack in this case) to pick up some Jane Parker fruitcakes for my uncle.
Back in Detroit, we visited what was left of Brush Park, an amazing area of Victorian mansions which was in serious decay ten years ago, and is now almost nonexistant. Apparently, whichever houses can be rehabbed are being rehabbed, but there’s just not much left to work with.
We did some more driving in the evening before having dinner at an Olive Garden in Dearborn.