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What's up with Detroit? Since my beloved Steelers are heading there next weekend (no, this isn't a sports thread), I have done some reading on the city and all I can come up with is, well, negative news. :idunno:

http://www.joestump.net/967769188/i-told-you-detroit-sucks.html

Is this place as big a hole as some folks would make it out to be? Out of control crime? Dwindling population? Widespread decaying housing? People exhuming deceased loved ones and moving them to cemeteries outside the city?

Anyone who has lived or visited there care to comment?

(Note: I'm not flaming Detroit. I don't know jack about the place, hence the reason for my post.)
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

That pretty well sums it up. The city has been scrambling to put a nice facade* on everything in hopes of improving it's image for the Super Bowl...but you can't undo 40 years of decline overnight. To its credit though, Detroit has made some recent improvements. Unfortunately it hasn't addressed the key issues of poverty and a declining population in an aging, urban city.

*e.g. like foam paneling glued to the exteriors of crumbling, abandoned buildings..
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

Interestingly, Detroit seems a lot like downtown L.A. was about 30 years ago. Tons of "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!!!" signs on storefronts, trash blowing around on the streets, cars being towed away . . . But there are several areas that are actually a lot of fun. The strip of Woodward by the Fox Theatre and Comerica/Ford is pretty upscale with the HockeyTown Cafe being a nice place to hang. There are a few great old resturants that have weathered the storms throughout the years and quite a bit of "new" music goes on downtown at places like Saint Andrews Hall and the State Theatre.

I don't quite understand why they moved the Tigers to Comerica Park, as Tiger Stadium still stands exactly like it did when they left. Joe Louis Arena is magic when the Wings are there and actually a pretty nice place. Ford Auditiorium is dark (and has been for several years) even though it is one of the newer symphony halls in the midwest (the DSO now plays at the Detroit Opera House, as Ford's acoustics are a nightmare).

Check out www.detroitredwings.com as there are several links to stuff that isn't all negative about the city. One of our ex-employees works at the Fox Theatre and whenever we hook up, he always shows me another great place downtown that I never knew existed.

One of my larger client's moved out of the First National building (center of Downtown Detroit) several years ago and saved over .5 million bucks a year in city taxes, so I have to think that is one of the reasons several businesses have moved to the suburbs and there are so many vacant buildings.

There are places in Detroit I wouldn't want to be stuck in at night (and some I wouldn't drive through during the day), but just about every good sized city I have ever visited has places just like these, so it's certainly not unique to Detroit. The only time I was ever assaulted was in Paris (France) and I chased (and caught!) a guy for 2 blocks on foot in Washington DC a few years ago after he ran into our truck and jumped and ran (turned out he had kidnapped the lady and kid in the car he was driving and was running from the FBI and Baltimore police in a 70 mile long high speed chase). So I guess Detroit isn't necessarily as uniquely bad as several people think . . .
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

abtech said:
So I guess Detroit isn't necessarily as uniquely bad as several people think . . .
Relatively speaking... :smilebig:
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

While driving to LAX, I pass the exits for Hawthorne and Crenshaw, and note they built a HUGE wall to separate the highway from the area.

I informed my GF she was to stay the hell out of that area and make sure to come to the airport full of gas.

All big cities have their scary districts, even SF has places that are kinda seedy at night.
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

luvtolean said:
All big cities have their scary districts, even SF has places that are kinda seedy at night.
Hell yeah, been there, on foot, lost, at night, scared and didn't know which way was which...
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

I moved from LA to southeast Michigan 32 years ago, and the only part of LA that remotely resembled Detroit was the Watts area off the Harbor freeway near USC.

The difference was that LA rebuilt a lot of the areas destroyed by the mid-'60's riots amd Detroit seemed to have abandoned them. Even South Chicago is changing a bit..

The city has lost more than half of its population since the late '60's. It has gone from 2,000,000 to under a million. I don't know of any city that has undergone such a transformation. Maybe the area around three mile island?

The people that left took the money with them. It's bleak, no two ways about it.

The improvements that Abtech and Red Rider have noted are significant, but that place is thoroughly screwed.

By the way, LTL, the walls on the 405 at Crenshaw and Hawthorne are for noise control. Those off the Harbor at Florence through Vernon are not.
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

After doing touring sound for 10 years, I guess I have seen the underbelly of just about every city big enough to have a concert venue, so maybe I'm a bit less amazed at what goes on downtown in most big cities.

The first time I went to New York, I watched in amazement while a woman stopped in the middle of the crosswalk and took a leak. The next day, the cab I was in hit a city bus at around 35 mph and the cabbie just flipped the bus driver off and kept going.

Late one night in London, I was walking the town (one of my favorite pastimes to combat jet lag and get a look at the city I'm in) I saw 5 mid thirties men in what looked to be New York Yankees baseball uniforms beat the living crap out of some homeless people with baseball bats. I also saw some guy wearing nothing but fishnet stockings and a garter belt standing in the entrance of a shop in Chelsea (eyes straight ahead, keep walking . . .).

Every city has it's "area", Detroit's is just pretty big . . .
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

abtech said:
...and I chased (and caught!) a guy for 2 blocks on foot in Washington DC a few years ago after he ran into our truck and jumped and ran (turned out he had kidnapped the lady and kid in the car he was driving and was running from the FBI and Baltimore police in a 70 mile long high speed chase). . . .
:eek: :eek: :eek:
So Batman, what'd you do with the guy once you caught him?
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

phobiaphobe said:
:eek: :eek: :eek:
So Batman, what'd you do with the guy once you caught him?
I tackled him and he landed face down on the sidewalk (along with 3 people trying to avoid the chase). I turned him over and pinned him to the concrete with my knees on his arms. Good thing, because I was pulled off the guy by 2 guys in suits carrying stockless automatic weapons who rolled the guy back to face down and pulled a 380 automatic out of his hand and a Colt Python out of his pants under his coat. I was running on empty and was just trying to catch my breath and figure out what was going on when the 2 guys who were with me in the truck caught up and starting telling me about the carnage that had happened before he ran into us.

I was extremely pissed because it was our first day off in 2 weeks of doing sound for a tour and I was looking forward to a relaxing day catching some sleep, but ended up spending 4 hours in an interrogation room before I could even check out the damage to the truck (which had to be towed into Baltimore for repairs).


An interesting story, but a pain in the ass . . .
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

Detriot does have a few nice things but it's biggest problem was years of Mayor Coleman Young. He was as corrupt as they come and kept his office by playing black against white and giving city jobs out stategically (to spread the green among families). During is reign the police chief was indicted for stealing the drug buy money and the FBI caught officers and the mayors relative acting as security on a drug bust (no that was not isolated).

When they finally elected Mayor Archer the corruption improved and he started to court the suburbs (where the money is) but he has moved on.

The new mayor is a nightmare and thus will likely stay for 30 years and drag Detriot down further. There is safe enclaves where you can live behind a fence or visit and be safe but I would never consider living there.

Of course this coming from an ex-troll that has zero desire to go back :idunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

abtech said:
I chased (and caught!) a guy for 2 blocks on foot in Washington DC a few years ago after he ran into our truck and jumped and ran (turned out he had kidnapped the lady and kid in the car he was driving and was running from the FBI and Baltimore police in a 70 mile long high speed chase).
Cool anecdote! :cool:

Interesting stuff regardind the Motor City, fellas, thanks for the insight.
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

Going through Detroit was the only time I ever seen my ex lock the doors in the car. Not one section, the whole interstate ride through. She said something like this, "I don't care what happens with the car, don't stop until we are on fire".
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

First time I was there, I heard a commercial on the radio advertising a party downtown, and she said "Don't be afraid to come south of 8 mile (the city limits)".


My Rules:

1. Stay in a hotel north of 14 mile. There is an east-west "Mile" road just about every mile heading north out of the city.

2. Learn how to make a left turn in the Metro area.

3. Don't look for any hills. Flat as Kansas

4. Don't go looking for a sportbike after September. Not much more than 4-wheelers and snowmobiles on the showroom floor in most plases except Roseneau Motorsports in Dearborn and the Aprilia dealer in Utica.

5. Did I mention, if it's not summer,DAMN it's cold!
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

sheepofblue said:
Detriot does have a few nice things but it's biggest problem was years of Mayor Coleman Young. He was as corrupt as they come and kept his office by playing black against white and giving city jobs out stategically (to spread the green among families). During is reign the police chief was indicted for stealing the drug buy money and the FBI caught officers and the mayors relative acting as security on a drug bust (no that was not isolated).
I left Cleveland just as they were starting to improve things. And Sheep's comments pretty much summed up Cleveland and the bad things going on there through the mid-80's. Detroit is pulling itself back up, but it will take some time. As Abtech noted, there are some good places, you just need to know where they are and how to get there.

As for Red Rider's pessimism and cynicism, well, that gives an idea of why Detroit might have a worse reputation than other cities that also have their problems. People in the Detroit area seem to like to talk down the city, and with the auto companies crashing, it is getting worse.

Once people start discovering the good things, then the reputation will come back, which will feed further development. It just takes time.

Don't be afraid to come, just be aware of your surroundings. :twocents:
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

FWIW, I worked downtown (Wyoming and Livernois) during the late 70s and early 80s as well as the East Side (Harpo's), the old Bookies on Woodward and several downtown Detroit venues. The areas are pretty gritty, but once you set up camp for a few shows, it didn't seem that bad. The people that work and live down there (for the most part) are pretty much like anyone that lives and works in a big city.

Some areas are working very hard at turning things around, like Greektown and the places that have recently revamped and rennovated in that general area. I don't have any problem eating at Fishbones or hitting the casinos downtown. The parking is pretty steep, but try parking in Manhattan for comparison (35 bucks for 2 hours isn't unusual).
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

Several years back I was in CT for work and had a day off, I decided to go to Manhattan for the day.

I easily found a garage, parked, and paid like $30/day (and was pissed about it) within a couple blocks of the Met. Later, back home, I started complaining to people about getting raped like that for parking, and those who knew Manhattan laughed like it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard. ;)

I still say driving on Manhattan isn't nearly as bad as people make it sound like it is. Boston is worse. At least it was last time I was there (Big Dig still in progress).
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

I think the big difference between Detroil and NYC (relative to the crime rate anyway) is this: New York went from one of the most dangerous to one of the safest big cities in the country under Rudy Giuliani.

He got very proactive, flooded the place with street cops, utilized CompStat (computerized crime mapping and data analysis to get ahead of crime patterns, then smashing the criminal element to bits with what I'll call goon squads), etc. Overall crime rates in the city dropped by half and the murder rate plummeted a staggering 70%.

I'm not so sheltered here in this cowtown of 400,000 people that I don't realize there are bad sections to just about any urban area, but I'd rather travel afoot in New York than I would the Motor City...at least based on what I believe I know of both places.
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

gt702 said:
As for Red Rider's pessimism and cynicism, well, that gives an idea of why Detroit might have a worse reputation than other cities that also have their problems. People in the Detroit area seem to like to talk down the city, and with the auto companies crashing, it is getting worse.
No, it's purely observation. I have lived within spittin' distance of Detroit all my life. As a child I used to ride my bicycle downtown to Belle Isle for the day. Today, I won't even drive my car there. Don't get me wrong, Detroit has made some improvements in certain areas (casinos, if you can call that an improvement, restaurants, etc.), but the underlying problem is the prevailing atitudes from within the city's government and some of it's residents. Unfortunately, there is a strong divide that still exists between the city and the suburbs today, of which the Mayor has done little to overcome.

I've watched Cleveland turn itself around and become a viable city once again. I truly wonder if I'll see Detroit reach that point in my lifetime. :twocents:
 

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Re: Calling abtech or Red Rider, et al

Chain said:
I'm not so sheltered here in this cowtown of 400,000 people that I don't realize there are bad sections to just about any urban area, but I'd rather travel afoot in New York than I would the Motor City...at least based on what I believe I know of both places.
chicken . . .:rotfl:
 
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