8/22-24/2014 – Detroit Irony

 

Leave Northbrook, and choose to drive lakefront (Lake Michigan). Notice our toney Rogers Park neighborhood now a bit tatty, and our beautiful off-Addison apartment court gone: now a modern, lakefront condominium has absorbed that property. Continue into Indiana, then slip onto US-12 and US-20 and retrace territory covered a few years back.

At Niles/MI, choose a series of “back roads” through small farming towns, before returning to I-94 to access Detroit.

 

Have never seen Detroit in its “finest flower”. Another visit, awhile back, walking up Woodward Avenue to Detroit’s Art Institute was shocked at “Third World” devastation along this wide boulevard (an old Fox Theater, and a then in-progress Tiger baseball stadium were singular “stars”).

This visit, enter from its Northwest, which is an improvement, but much has a bleak, run-down look about it. (Assume Detroit drivers routinely speed over frame-jarring streets to avoid these sights).

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Detroit/MI: Art Institute – new wing entrance

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Detroit/MI: Art Institute – Great Hall

 

As it is set among a series of cultural offerings, easily find art museum, and consume a full day absorbing its wonders, Later, explore this upscale, university-centered (Wayne U) neighborhood of architectural treasures.

 

 

Detroit/MI: Art Institute - Diego Rivera "Detroit at Work" murals (opposing walls)

Detroit/MI: Art Institute – Diego Rivera “Detroit at Work” murals (opposing walls)

 

Detroit/MI: Art Institute - Diego Rivera "Detroit at Work" murals (opposing walls)

Detroit/MI: Art Institute – Diego Rivera “Detroit at Work” murals (opposing walls)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit/MI: Woodward Ave District - Old Danish Consolate Buildings

Detroit/MI: Wayne U District – Old Danish Consulate Buildings

Detroit/MI: Wayne U District - student housing?

Detroit/MI: Wayne U District – student housing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit/MI: Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

Detroit/MI: Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

Detroit/MI: Cathedral of St Anthony

Detroit/MI: Cathedral of St Anthony

Notice a number of magnificent churches, so meander about, only to discover many are monuments to early European immigrant (Polish; German; etc.) communities which settled here. Sadly, churches designed to serve thousands offer the Mass to fewer than a hundred faithful.

 

 

 

 

 

Downtown is improved: a combination of charming public housing communities stand near more elaborate (if security fenced) apartment houses and condominiums. On this warm Sunday afternoon, young Black teenagers bicycle along deserted streets, where moments later Caucasian business acolytes pedal with more fashionable gear.

 

Evening sunlight allows me to head up to Port Huron and cross into Canada. Canada’s roads create a sense of ambivalence: their laws discourage speeding, but their wide, near-empty highways offer true temptation. Long, flat green fields are occasionally spotted with tidy farmhouses and outbuildings, and, periodically segue into batches of trees.

Arrive in Stratford/ONT too late for a Shakespeare fix, but am able to help friend Louise and her accomplice Joe do some window-washing.

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