Locals and regular readers know the basic outline of NN.C’s new home office: What most people in the rest of the country call “Grosse Pointe” is actually “the Pointes.” There are five — GP Park, GP Farms, GP Shores, GP Woods and just plain GP, aka “the city.” About 58,000 people live in all five municipalities, the Shores being the smallest, the Woods the largest. We’re in the Woods.
Is there a pecking order among the quintet? But of course. The Park and the Woods are at the bottom. The Park is closest to Detroit, and has a few blocks of modest houses, even duplexes and rentals. The rest of the Park is glorious, and my one true regret is we didn’t find a place there. It was the first of the five to be developed, in the ’20s, and there are some really wonderful craftsman houses down there, among scores of others. (Also, it went for Kerry in ’04. My people.)
And why is the Woods down there too? Too large, too…affordable. You can still get into the Woods for under $200K, if you aren’t too picky. It’s also the only one of the five that has no lakefront lots, for whatever that’s worth. But all but the Shores has a pretty decent mix of middle class-to-plutocrat housing, which is one of the things I like about the area.
So, then, five municipalities. We share a school system and a public library, but everything else is separate. Five police departments. Five trash contracts. And five parks departments. Each city has its own lakefront park (the Park has two). Each is private, accessible to residents with a pass, which you have to show at the gate. “Hey, a little bit of South Africa right here at home,” I quipped to the Realtor, who at least chuckled. But I didn’t know how far it went.
Park passes are not honored across the Pointes. A Woods resident can’t get into the Farms park, and vice versa. Each has something to put it above the others. The Woods has the best pool and biggest marina, for which I’m thankful, because we have a slip and my friend John, in the Park, is sitting on a 10-year waiting list for one there. The Farms’ has a beach. The Shores’ is — well, I don’t know. Haven’t been there. The Park has both a state-of-the-art fitness facility (your tax dollars at work) and a freakin’ movie theater, which shows first-run movies after about a two-week delay. (The lack of nearby movie theaters is a real sore point for this movie lover; we drove 30 miles one-way to see that Enron flick last month.)
I guess I can’t really blame them; the parks approach country-club levels of amenities, and you don’t want to give those away to people who haven’t paid for them. But there’s something creepy, in such a segregated metro area, in having restricted parks. (GP is not alone; St. Clair Shores has them, too.) A few weeks ago the GP school board president got in hot water for suggesting, to a newspaper reporter, that this area is “uncomfortable with diversity.” There was a week of letter-to-the-editor outrage, followed by another week of the other side having its say. Someone made the suggestion: Why not let non-residents into the parks, if they pay a fee? Capital idea. At least I could see a first-run movie once in a while, without driving 60 miles round-trip.
(Also, the school board president was right, but face it: Every community is uncomfortable with diversity. It’s just human nature. We’re tribal primates.)
This is a long read, but worth it, if you’re interested in such things: You know those guys who donate to sperm banks? What happens when they meet their offspring?
I’m on the record — you could look up the links if you’re so inclined, but I’m not — as opposed to list journalism. VH1 names the 100 greatest rock songs of all time. Rolling Stone lists the 50 best album covers. And blah to the blah to the blizzle, etc. They exist for one reason — to get the listmaker’s name in the press as much as possible. Editors and producers have a lot of space to fill, and if someone else does the heavy lifting, what’s a little back-scratching among friends? So I’m not going to comment on the AFI List of Top 100 U.S. Movie Quotes, except to note, oh, the bottom five:
96. “Snap out of it!”, “Moonstruck,” 1987.
97. “My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” 1942.
98. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” “Dirty Dancing,” 1987.
99. “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!”, “The Wizard of Oz,” 1939.
100. “I’m king of the world!”, “Titanic,” 1997.
I can’t think of a day that goes by when I don’t tell someone, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” I ask you.
Sorry, but I think this story is funny.
And another action-packed day awaits! The coffee must be kicking in! I’m using exclamation points!