I recently took a trip to Detroit and Pittsburgh for a weekend with my best friend. A lot of people asked me what the point was. Without trying to sound overly sappy I've told people we were looking for some signs of hope in Detroit, and I'm a Steelers fan from birth, so Pittsburgh was sort of a pilgrimage.
But back to Detroit. Yes there were crumbling buildings, and yes there were some areas that felt dangerous, but to be honest I've felt more threatened in parts of the Bay Area. Mostly the city seems empty. At least during the day...at night the place comes alive with friendly folks, party people, and great eats. The city has an old school charm that I've never seen before.
We met lots of different types, but the most memorable was a designer for Ford. We met him in a cigar bar downtown and struck up a conversation since we spent most of the day touring the Ford factory and Henry Ford museum. The designer was very optimistic, yet realistic. His most memorable quote was, "When the country has a cold, Detroit has pneumonia." The man was born and raised there and determined to make it better. We left inspired.
We also left on a mission. Everyone at the bar insisted that we have a "coney" at either Lafayette or American Coneys. They were the most popular hot dog joints in town and they literally shared a wall. Naturally the only fair thing to do was try one from each.