You know that scene in the movies...or better, soap operas...when the patient wakes up on the operating table, blurred vision clears up to nurses and doctors hovering over them? That's Detroit right now. Years after traumatic injuries and a medically induced coma, surgery has begun....and the city is waking up. I'm not gonna lie to you. It's pretty ugly. Like major deformities, a lost limb or two. It's gonna take some major rehab and some serious plastic surgery to fix this city. Detroit is the hot chick in high school who later in life got in a real bad car accident. She's tough to look at, but you can't stop staring. You're almost looking to see that magic in her once again.
The good news is, a lot of the work has already begun. From Downtown to Midtown, along Woodward Ave, a brand new railcar line is going in. A 20 foot wide and 2 foot deep trench stretches for a couple miles as jack hammers bang and backhoes scrape away. It's a painful disturbance, to your eyes, and ears. A new hockey stadium is set to be built connecting the two neighborhoods. Old buildings are being gutted and retrofitted for new lofts and apartments. Prospective real estate investors ask locals for insider tips on cheap property. Shit....there's even a Whole Foods in the middle of it all. People would tell you that Detroit is becoming gentrified. It is. But it's a long way from Brooklyn or East L.A. Gentrification typically leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth, but here, I can't help but think that any development right now is healing, and a very, very positive step for the city.
I'm really looking forward to coming back to Detroit. If it wasn't so damn cold, I could see myself living here. There's so much history, and culture. It has what every new city, or faux-vintage bar/restaurant/boutique tries to imitate, real character. Detroit shakes your hand with a firm grip, and looks you in the eye. It shows you it's soul, because after this much history, and pain, there's nothing left to hide.
To quote a favorite mural I saw in the city, to all my Detroiters, "It takes heart to fight for something that so many consider a lost cause. A strong mind to breathe life into that cause and prove so many wrong. Keep your heart true and your mind strong Detroit."