Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Detroit Rock City

Earlier this year I resolved to spend more time in Detroit in 2013, and I must admit that I've failed miserably.  While we've been to the D a few times for Tigers games, visiting the Detroit Institute of Art and work, overall my presence in Detroit has been spotty at best. I have a few months to change that, and I've got work to do.

Detroit made national headlines earlier this summer for being the largest municipality to ever file for bankruptcy.  A lot of talk about the City of Detroit has been negative, but the vibe in the city couldn't be more positive.  Businesses and entrepreneurs are flocking to Detroit to take advantage of all the city has to offer. Sure, there are issues, but all of it is overshadowed by promise and ingenuity. I could not love Detroit more, and I love that it is gritty and scrappy with a chip on its shoulder. It should have one, and I am so excited for Detroit to prove the naysayers wrong.

So you can imagine I was thrilled last week that my work's annual convention was in Detroit for four gorgeous fall days. We got there on Tuesday to the Renaissance Center, home of General Motors, where the conference was being held. After a late afternoon board meeting we headed out on the town which was really the best part of this conference. We often hold our events in a hotel somewhere and there have been times when I haven't even gone outside for days. This conference was all over the City, and it was awesome. Following our afternoon meetings we headed to dinner at Cliff Bell's jazz club for dinner, cocktails and jazz. Is there anything better than that?

Posing with the Joe Lewis fist after an evening at Cliff Bell's
On Wednesday morning I headed out for a quick run along the river. It was a perfect morning. There were a number of other runners out, and I was impressed by the energy on the riverfront. There were Adirondack and lounge chairs along the path.  The river trail threads through William G. Milliken State Park (named for a former Michigan governor). The topography is beautiful, and there's even a lighthouse. Yes, a lighthouse on the Detroit River.
Lighthouse on the Detroit River
Gorgeous morning view of the Ren Cen
After a packed day of awesome placemaking sessions I boarded a bus to head to downtown Detroit's gorgeous Belle Isle Park. We attended a reception at the Detroit Historical Society's newly renovated Dossin Great Lakes Museum.  The reception ended early (as work receptions tend to do), and I headed with a few of my co-workers to Green Dot Stables, one of my favorite places to eat in Detroit.  There can't be a lot of places where one can enjoy delicious cocktails (Moscow mules for the lady) and an eclectic mix of sliders including a Korean (with peanut butter!), cat fish and quinoa. 

I was only able to squeeze in one run in Detroit which was disappointing, but the remainder of the week was just so busy. Thursday was filled with sessions, and we used our lunch break to swing by the incomparable Guardian Building and eat lunch outside at Fountain Bistro in gorgeous Campus Martius Park.  

A beach in Downtown Detroit at Campus Marius Park
While I was exhausted on Friday, I was still inspired by the moxie and strength of the City of Detroit.  Yes, Detroit is in bankruptcy. Things aren't perfect, but there is a promise and passion that drives me and should drive all Michiganders.  The passion of cities like Detroit is why I do what I do.

No comments:

Post a Comment