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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Detroit, city of Renaissance, Robocop and Rembrandt (ohh..and General Motors)

Ok i may as well get that out of the way. I quite like Detroit. (he says as he sits here at the hotel Pool in South Beach, Miami)
Detroit City Library (yes people here can read)

It seems everyone has something negative to say about the city (especially dickwads who have never been there) know...why would you ever visit that shithole...decayed, empty, crime ridden, losing population like theres no tomorrow etc. etc. But come-on, every city must go through a metamorphosis to become a great city - I remember everyone used to say that about Glasgow (especially those who'd never been) and, since I lived there i never understood what the hell they were talking about.

Anyway. Today i made a little tour of the city. There was a great Rembrandt exhibition which bizzarely harped on about how he lived in the Jewish ghetto in Amsterdam and painted Jesus as a young Jew, but had some great paintings nevertheless.

The DIA - Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts, where the exhibition was held, had a whole load of lovely paintings - some great American Landscapes as well as the perennial Van Goghs and Degas and so on...

'The Nightmare' - Henry Fuseli. I used to love this as a little boy, so was great to see it in real life in the DIA today

The DIA is in a kind of 'Museum Quarter' just outside the Downtown,  on Woodward, beside Wayne State University. It's surrounded by the Science Centre, Detroit Historical Museum, and Museum of African American History, so theres a couple of days of Museum Hopping there already....

Downtown, there are a whole load of interesting historical buildings to check out, many of them in awful state of repair sadly, like the old Railway Station.

The Renaissance Centre (or Ren Cen), which is the HQ of General Motors, is quite interesting to see, if only becuase it featured heavily in Robocop movies. There's even a statue somewhere.
GM HQ dominates the skyline

Theres a little metro that takes you round downtown and 'Greek Town' has a million bars and restaurants (and traffic jams at night) There's a big Casino there (along with MGM Casino and Motor City Casino) and the Waterfront is quite cool to walk along

Fisting is popular in Detroit (this is a symbol of the city, at the waterfront)

The bizzare thing, for me at least though, was the obvious poverty and economic hardship affecting certain parts of the city. About 4pm, downtown became chocabloc with shabby looking old black guys, catching the workers leaving their offices to ask for change. And only a few blocks from downtown, there were beautiful old houses, in awful state of repair.

Homeless guy sleeping in a doorway of an abandoned mansion (since its winter, why not sleep inside?)
Anyway, this is the price you pay for letting one industry dominate your economy. Detroit's learning though and diversifying and recovering more quickly than most places (albeit from a lower level) - give it ten years,  and mark my words, friends, you'll be wishing you bought one of these empty mansions for  a dollar !

10 Bedroom House, walking distance to Downtown - how much would these cost in London or New York??!!


  1. those old mansions are beautiful! someone should really fix those up, could make a ton of money off those.

  2. I'll give it a go once were finished with Buffalo ;o)