After a couple of pretty idyllic days in Ann Arbor I was both looking forward to and also slightly nervous about going to Detroit proper, From everything I'd read and from some of the conversations I've had I had developed a mental image of the City as some kind of western-Beirut. Of course it wasn't going to be as bad as that but it's certainly a city with some real troubles.
I headed off first thing on Saturday to the Eastern Market which is a Detroit institution. I was interested to see that the majority of the customers there looked and sounded like they were relatively affluent suburban-ites rather than locals taking advantage of the incredible variety of (cheap) food that was available. This kind of links to my earlier post today which talks about the concept of a Food Desert which may or may not exist in Detroit. The food available look delicious and there were some great bargains to be had.
After that I headed closer to the city centre and paid a visit to both the Detroit Institute of Arts and also the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. The exhibits were ok if not hugely inspiring. I liked a couple of bits in the DIA including some great murals of Detroit's industrial heritage which you can see some images of here.
I then walked down Woodward Avenue into the city centre. It was about 4 o'clock on a Saturday and part of where I was walking was the financial district, but the thing that struck me the most was the sheer emptiness of the place. Of course there are the desolate and deserted housing blocks and the buildings that have been razed to the ground but more than that there was the fact that there were simply so few people around. But other than that it was a pleasant enough city - I felt very safe and secure. Feels odd that 30 or so years about the population would have been nearly double and presumably a much higher level of activity.
Have been thinking about what else to do when I'm here - obviously the car manufacturing museums are on the list but also pondering the possibility of a trip either up to Lake Michigan or over to Canada.