Winter in Detroit

The other day I sat in the Inside Detroit Conference Room (if you haven’t seen it yet, it sort of looks like a fish bowl), and as I stared outside I watched the rain turn to snow. I moved to the front desk after our meeting and watched more and more snow fall, but not stick to the ground.  And as I left the Welcome Center at 6pm, I noticed the Trees in the Hudson’s site.

I walked to my car, brushed the snow off the window’s, not much there, but enough to make it hard to see out the back windows.  The I turned left on Library, left onto Clifford, stopped on the corner of Clifford and Woodward for the light.  And I’m not sure if you’ve seen the window display’s in Tall-Eez Shoe Store window, or in Oslo’s windows, but they are filled with christmas tree’s with the light blue/white Christmas lights on.

There are two Christmas Tree’s in front of Somerset’s City Lofts, with the same blue/white lights on it.

A beautiful way to see the city.  The snow flakes on the Woodward street lights lit up with the same color lights as those window trees.  The city is in sync, the holiday lights match.

So how does this relate to you?  Well, if you haven’t been downtown in a while then you should go and check it out.  It’s a side of Detroit that you haven’t seen before.  It’s bright, sparkling. It’s a whole new Detroit.  The streets seem brighter, cleaner, newer, and most of all you can tell that the lights have brightened the spirits of the people of Detroit.

What winter in Detroit means to me is friends that are willing to brave the cold.  I know that no matter how sick you are, you will have friends from all over the city offer to bring you meals to make you feel better. I know that I can ride my bike any where in the city and be safe. I know that I can go to most bars in the city and talk to the owners.  I know I can start a conversation with any one sitting next to me, because they are here for the same reasons I am, to get out of the house.

As the thunder starts to roll on another Detroit evening, rain starts to tap on the windows, I sit here and hope against hope that it does not turn to snow.  I long for summer when I can ride my bike without looking like the kid from “A Christmas Story”.  I long for the Detroit summer with its hot gusty winds, the summer smells in the city, the sounds of Tigers games echoing throughout the city.

Writing like this makes me feel a little “Sex and the City”, but what can I say, I love Detroit.  I don’t have sorted affairs with men, I can’t afford Manolo Blahnik’s, even though I’d really like too. But I do love my city. Detroit to me has everything I’m looking for.  It has a gritty and amazing past.  Someone posted a comment to my last post “Speak to your family and no matter what your ethnicity, you will find Detroit as part of your families historical DNA.” Detroit’s past is something that never ends.  It has that of the old world, gossip, intrigue, the rise and fall of greatness…  Detroit is the American version of Rome. We have Michigan Central Station, they have the Coliseum.  I used to read Russian history books, Russian history is a real life soap-opera. I didn’t think America was old enough to have the intrigue that Russia did.  But here I sit, surrounded by a remarkable history, that I’m reminded of every time I shepherd a tour with Inside Detroit.   Every time I learn something new. Ask me about the Scott Fountain.

Detroit has a gritty present, we’ve been plagued by corruption, exodus, failed mass transit, you name it, we’ve had it, recently.  But we’re combatting it.  Now, right now.  The people in this city, my friends, me, we are here making the city a better place. Making events, restaurants, stores, things, we’re making things happen here. The buildings that have been left behind are empty, blank, cheap and ours to make whole again.  The Woodbridge Pub, was once a liquor store, could you tell?  I have watched The Bronx and Motor City Brewing Works grow, The Park Bar and Cliff Bells get remodeled. The opening of City Bird and The Bureau of Urban Living and then watched that change into Nest…  How amazing to be able to watch things grow, change, reinvent, and then do it again.

and the  future will be what we make it.

Watching the lights pop up on Woodward, the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the general amazingness of the holiday season in Detroit, put me in an unusually good mood for the cold weather.

As the photo says, And then they lived happily ever after.  Won’t you be a part of that happily ever after?

Erika Fulk

hoping you enjoy the weather.

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