It will rise from the ashes.

Long day, my peeps. But not a bad one. Spent most of it in front of the Michigan Central Station, recently shed of its standard image as The Enduring Symbol of Detroit Blight, as seen in approximately a million images. Photographers liked to capture it when the sun was sinking behind it, and you could see the light shining all the way through, because all the interior structures had been destroyed. A see-through building, I believe those are called in the trade.

Anyway, Ford bought it and is planning a zillion-dollar renovation, to house their mobility and electric-vehicle divisions. There was absolutely zero news coming out of today’s event — it had all been reported in the days and weeks leading up to it — but that’s the sort of thing that most lends itself to a big media splash, with music and speeches and very special guests and rah-rah Ford.

But it’s going to be a great addition to the landscape when it’s done.

I took some pictures.

Say what you will about the auto companies, but when they do an event, they do it right. The speeches were followed by self-guided wander-throughs of the station before work starts on the interior. They had moving projections on the ceiling, all scaled to what part of the ceiling they were focused on:

The scrappers stole the whole goddamn roof from this section. (I believe it was copper.) I imagine it’ll be replaced with glass:

My friend Dustin was there, too, shooting for his employer. We enjoyed this mirror:

Probably Deborah knows more about the companies that throw this sort of thing together, but it would be interesting to watch them work. I imagine the meetings it took to come up with those phrases in the projections.

Not much bloggage today. The situation at the border is so depressing, and there’s so much out there to read. I suggest you do so. Meanwhile, this was a good essay on the modern American city, and the creeping homogeneity that threatens their character:

And what’s happening to New York now—what’s already happened to most of Manhattan, its core—is happening in every affluent American city. San Francisco is overrun by tech conjurers who are rapidly annihilating its remarkable diversity; they swarm in and out of the metropolis in specially chartered buses to work in Silicon Valley, using the city itself as a gigantic bed-and-breakfast. Boston, which used to be a city of a thousand nooks and crannies, back-alley restaurants and shops, dive bars and ice cream parlors hidden under its elevated, is now one long, monotonous wall of modern skyscraper. In Washington, an army of cranes has transformed the city in recent years, smoothing out all that was real and organic into a town of mausoleums for the Trump crowd to revel in.

By trying to improve our cities, we have only succeeded in making them empty simulacra of what was. To bring this about we have signed on to political scams and mindless development schemes that are so exclusive they are more destructive than all they were supposed to improve. The urban crisis of affluence exemplifies our wider crisis: we now live in an America where we believe that we no longer have any ability to control the systems we live under.

There’s a lot to think about here, some of which I disagree with, but undeniably worth mentioning. Some of the things the author mentions — the nonprofit “conservancies” given sway over public entities, to name but one — are seen all over Detroit, and in that case, were instrumental in changing the city for the better. Gentrification isn’t the problem here as much as entrenched poverty is, but in the pockets of affluence sprouting around town, many of these forces are at work.

Worth a read. Me, I’m going to collapse in a heap on my bed. Night-night.

Posted at 10:03 pm in Detroit life |

35 responses to “It will rise from the ashes.”

  1. Joe Kobiela said on June 19, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Sorry but forgot all about you being out there, I flew in right before the storms on Monday about 3 pm and flew out Tuesday morning, stayed at the Hampton Inn and had dinner at sidewinders. I’m sure I’ll be back JH indeed took good care of us. I’m not flying the 310 anymore, I just finished my first year with Wheels Up,I’m flying a King Air 350 now.
    Pilot Joe

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  2. brian stouder said on June 19, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Intriguing photos (both today and yesterday)

    I’ve never seen Rachel Maddow sob before, but the latest twist to the “Grab their babies from ’em…and then lose track of who goes where” border atrocity was just too much.

    Donald Trump is like New Coke. Remember when Coke (very splashily) did that (launching ‘new Coke’) – and then pulled it back, and returned to “Classic Coke” – and some people said it was all a big pre-planned marketing ploy?

    And some big dog at Coke memorably said something like “We aren’t that stupid, and we aren’t that smart”?

    Except in this case, our Commander in Chief IS that stupid, and if we have any “smart” folks around him, they’ve either already resigned, or been fired.

    What a brilliant, brilliant idea…”Let’s seperate all the moms and dads from all the babies! And – lets have NO systematic way to reunite the families!! THAT ought to win the rube vote for the next 10 years!![insert sinister cackle here]

    My mom’s mom came to the US on the boat, and went through Ellis Island and became an American, and sought a better life, and achieved that goal. That’s what we Americans do, right?

    If Donald Trump ever learned anything at all from living in New York City, you’d think he’d have learned that one – but he has no earthly idea what the United States truly is; what this “One nation, under God; indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” exists to do.

    On edit – one happy non-sequitur: Pam and Shelby and Chloe and I ventured to Toledo Ohio yesterday, to catch the stage production of Wicked at Toledo’s very fine theater. It was a wonderful show, and a sublime experience, altogether

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  3. beb said on June 19, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    I’ve never been inside the train station (who has?) so it would be have fun to do so. The pictures I’ve seen of it, though, are immensely discouraging. There’s an enormous amount of structure and detail that looks like it would wonderful if it were restored but…. it also looks like some much of it has been damaged that I wonder what cost the rehab will be. And of course the new owners … one of the richest corporations in the world … are looking for tax abatements from the City of Detroit to finance the rehab. So ultimately all this will be borne by the poor people of Detroit for the enjoyment of their betters. Just once I’d like to hear a company say “Hey, we can afford to do this alone.”

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  4. Deborah said on June 19, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Yeah, not proud of that part of my career when I did what’s called environmental branding. I hated the term “branding” , we always tried to come up with another way to say it but it was always the same thing, basically bullshit.

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  5. Dexter Friend said on June 20, 2018 at 1:44 am

    Ha! I loaded up a Freep link before coming here, thinking the purpose of the renovation was housing more than business, and wondering if the Derringers were gonna be a-movin’ on up.

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  6. Alan Stamm said on June 20, 2018 at 6:33 am

    I like how you think, beb:

    Just once I’d like to hear a company say “Hey, we can afford to do this alone.”

    Such a reasonable fantasy.

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  7. alex said on June 20, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Even Fort Wayne is getting in on the rising-from-the-ashes action. An ugly ’80s office building slapped together on the cheap is turning residential condo, starting price $1 million:

    I’m very fortunate to have staked out my claim in what used to be exurbia back when housing prices were depressed. My area is skyrocketing. Someone is even building a new house on an empty lot on my street, not even on the lakefront. Pretty amazing in an addition built in the ’50s, but housing has become scarce and very pricey around here and I’m so glad to have invested wisely.

    We’re buffered by forest preserves and 5-acre estates so there’s no high-density development, making it very desirable.

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  8. Linda said on June 20, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I had used that train station a lot in the 70s and 80s. I had a sister who lived in Illinois, and I last used it in 1985, when I took a trip for a successful job interview in Memphis. At that time it was in decent shape but empty, with a paltry concession stand. Would love to see it restored.

    And the factory my dad used to work at on the river is now high end condones. Dad would get a good laugh out of that.

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  9. Jim G said on June 20, 2018 at 11:00 am

    “In Washington, an army of cranes has transformed the city in recent years, smoothing out all that was real and organic into a town of mausoleums for the Trump crowd to revel in.”

    That sounds more than a little hyperbolic to me. I’m a DC resident, and while I have no idea what a “town of mausoleums for the Trump crowd to revel in” is even supposed to mean, what I see are great restaurants sprouting up all over, row homes in SE that (while way too expensive) do a pretty good job of matching the character of the town, and people walking where twenty years ago you wouldn’t even drive without an armored vehicle. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Tidal Basin were still there last time I looked, and even the Old Post Office still looks fine from the outside (I won’t set foot in the place under its new ownership, so I don’t know what’s happened to the insides). The FBI building may (or may not) eventually be doomed, but only the most hardcore fans of Brutalism will miss it.

    There’s no easy answer to gentrification. Are “rotted-out, unsafe, but affordable” and “nice, white, and expensive” the only two options? I don’t know, but speaking from my position of privilege, I can’t see how anyone was better off in the DC of the ’80s or the Manhattan of the ’70s. On the other hand, making places safer but expensive doesn’t help the people who get priced out.

    I doubt Baker would really have preferred living in the New York of 1975 over today’s.

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  10. Sherri said on June 20, 2018 at 11:51 am

    During my recent trip to DC, someone commented on all the cranes. A matter of perspective, compared to Seattle and the Eastside suburbs, there seemed to be very few cranes.

    Gentrification, lack of affordable housing, and diversity are all big topics here, you might imagine. They aren’t easy to solve because there are many parties with conflicting goals and values. Many existing homeowners don’t want change; they complain about all these new people moving in (they’re too white/not white/rich/not rich/whatever), they’re consuming too many resources (roads, parking, space), and making everything too expensive. On the other hand, they benefit from the increased value of their own property.

    Renters are screwed because building is very constrained by zoning, and so can seldom keep up with growth. The common denominator of places that have had high growth and remained affordable is a lack of restrictive zoning, like Houston. Of course, that presents other problems.

    It is very difficult to convince existing residents that increasing density will improve things. Seattle has built a lot of multi family housing of late, and has managed to slow the rate of growth of rent increases, but not lower rents, because the demand is still so high. It’s difficult to build the missing middle here, the duplexes and triplexes and row houses, because so many neighborhoods are zoned SFH and are politically powerful enough to fight zoning changes to those areas.

    There’s a generational factor, too, with baby boomers ensconced in SFH who benefited from a friendlier government environment in their youth vs millennials loaded with student debt who see no hope of buying a house.

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  11. Sherri said on June 20, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Saru Jayaraman, the founder of the ROC, the organization pushing for an end to tipped wages, was on a panel at the ACLU conference. She discussed the connection between sexual harassment and reliance on tips in the food service industry, both from customers and from other employees.

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  12. Peter said on June 20, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Wait a second – I know we’ve been focusing on the border, but is this true – that until a couple of hours ago Michael Cohen was on the RNC? Was that a paid position?

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  13. Scout said on June 20, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    The arsonist, after lying all week about starting the fire, just signed an EO to put it out using weak tea. This is not over. Do not stop calling or planning to march.

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  14. Deborah said on June 20, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Scout, they don’t have any idea what they’re going to do now. What a fiasco. I read on twitter that they might be herding families into patrolled tent cities. Doesn’t that sound manageable (irony).

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  15. Suzanne said on June 20, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    This whole immigrant mess is pure Trump. Started by meanness, no plan, no endgame but cruelty, and kabuki theater in which he plays the hero.
    How do his minions stomach it.

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  16. basset said on June 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Wouldn’t surprise me to see a Reichstag fire before long.

    On a happier note… anyone here familiar with Cumberland Island, Georgia? Thinking about taking Mrs. B there, she would enjoy seeing nature and the wild horses.

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  17. Sherri said on June 20, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    A more cheering story: I spent a couple of hours this afternoon observing Redmond’s new Community Court. Running since April, it’s an alternative court for non-violent misdemeanors meant to be more of a problem-solving rather than punishing court. Participants, who have to opt in, are screened and matched with services, and required to perform community service. The court meets weekly at the library, and the participants attend weekly or every other week depending on their progress.

    It was a very positive atmosphere. The judge was very encouraging, the participants were excited to be there and happy to be making the judge happy, most of the failure to appears had contacted the court in advance about the issue keeping them from coming so that they would remain in good standing. There were a wide variety of people there, from a homeless man with clear mental health issues to a man who spoke Portuguese and required an interpreter.

    I was quite impressed with the judge and have arranged to talk more with her, as well as the administrator for this court, who also is the administrator for the other therapeutic courts in King County.

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  18. Connie said on June 21, 2018 at 8:03 am

    So change in policy, families stay together. I get to hear ten minutes of NPR news on my drive to work every morning. This morning they were playing news bits from various sides of the story. Accusations of the children being child actors. Rivera and Hannity had some kind of screaming fight. Interesting story.

    There has been a turkey outside my office for the last couple of weeks.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on June 21, 2018 at 8:58 am

    But what happens to the children who have been ripped away from their families? Everything I’m reading suggests they don’t quite know how to reconnect them, and aren’t going to try very hard.

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  20. Brad B. said on June 21, 2018 at 8:59 am

    On projecting images/ messages on architectural canvas, Lumenocity, now Blink, in Cincinnati has taken on major arts festival status —

    On balancing gentrification and preservation of socio-economic diversity in a community, thoughtful urban planners continue to bring the idea to the table. Whether developers and city leaders act on the recommendation in a viable form varies.

    I like what this small non-profit is working on in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine area. Alas, so busy with the day-to-day work of rehabbing & building community, they struggle to communicate what they do, then bury it at the website —

    But basically, they find, procure & rehab existing housing in our core downtown area. Then they recruit, screen, accept renters into a program with high expectations regarding on-time payment of rent, contribution of sweat equity in building/ grounds maintenance, and participation in regular resident meetings. In return, renters receive payment into an account, which, after some minimum number of years, can be accessed — for debt pay-down, for education, for advancing into home ownership, etc. Bottom line — they now some some “wealth” to spend with discretion.

    By protecting socio-economic diversity in a community, an employee base remains within walking distance of local jobs.

    There may be similar efforts where you live —

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  21. Suzanne said on June 21, 2018 at 9:23 am

    That’s my impression, too, Julie. There are children that have been sent to Harlem in NYC and Grand Rapids, MI. How will they identify them, especially those who are too young to give identifying information?
    Meanwhile, someone on my Facebook feed was fretting about Peter Fonda tweeting sick things about the President’s son (Satan is really attacking now!) and one of the comments on the post said that the world would be shocked when the contents of Anthony Wiener’s laptop were found out. (Child sex rings!)
    How can people be so focused on mythical stories from Sean Hannity when thousands of children are being ripped away from their parents and locked up RIGHT IN PLAIN SIGHT?!?

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  22. Jenine said on June 21, 2018 at 9:57 am

    @ Connie: I often put myself on a media diet of no more than 10 minutes of npr a day. I cheat by reading the twitters but at least there’s pet photos and jokes interspersed.
    The turkey sightings sound fun. I saw a 2.5 inch lizard outside of my office yesterday and was surprised by how happy I felt.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on June 21, 2018 at 10:45 am

    On a lighter note, my hometown of Sycamore, Illinois, has a small flock of turkeys roaming around town. Everyone seems humored by them, with almost daily Facebook pix. No one talks about removing them or shooting them; just one of the charms of the place.

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  24. Jakash said on June 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Seems to me that Connie’s casual non-sequitur “There has been a turkey outside my office for the last couple of weeks.” could be the thread-winner. Although, depending on one’s definition, I imagine many of us could say that. ; )

    Heather might be the only one interested in this, if anybody, but a bicycling advocate in Chicago has posted a new map, “The Mellow Chicago Bike Map, a guide to low-stress cycling routes.” Streets and paths throughout the city that offer alternatives to busier or less-appropriate ones, even those with bike lanes. Apparently they’ve printed some up, but one can check it out pretty well via the link he provides to The Reader:

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  25. Connie said on June 21, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Jakash, facebook friends have been seeing pictures of the turkey. We have a big rafter living down the street by the fire station and I have assumed he just can’t find his way back.

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  26. JodiP said on June 21, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Just popping in quickly to share that a friend of ours was able to get us Hamilton tickets for September 27th. No kidney donation required! I knew many in the crowd would be happy for us.

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  27. beb said on June 21, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    I had to read connie’s comment about a turkey outside her office twice to be sure whether she was talking about a literal or metaphorical turkey.

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  28. susan said on June 21, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Turkeys are not cute and cuddly. We should let them loose in the White House and Congreƒƒ.

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  29. basset said on June 21, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Only in Detroit… or maybe Nashville:

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  30. Jeff Borden said on June 21, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Okay, so my general strategy is not to smear Melania Trump because she cashed in by marrying the Orange King and never expected to be thrust into a role far beyond her capacity to fill. But what is one to make of her when she wears a jacket that says on the back, “I don’t really care. Do U?” What the fuck is that all about?

    The tRump clan is truly an infestation of cockroaches. Father, stepmother, sons, daughters. . .every fucking one of them is a horrible, terrible, selfish, ugly, nasty human being. The Borgias are pissed at being outdone by this creepy family.

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  31. Dorothy said on June 21, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    That coat. I feel like I’m going to choke on all the bad words I want to say about it. She just changed her Be Best campaign to Be Heartless.

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  32. Julie Robinson said on June 21, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    I read about the coat as I was waiting in the ER and I’m just flabbergasted. WTF, WTF, WTF. And she took it off and then put it back on even after being told it had raised a firestorm.

    Anyway, when I got out to my mom’s this afternoon, she showed me that her foot and lower leg were a mass of purple bruises, and all I could think was blood clot. A call to the doctor precipitated the ER visit, where we mostly sat around for hours. She’s kind of like a toddler when she has to wait and keeping her entertained was quite a challenge.

    After blood work and an ultrasound, they guessed she’d had a muscle tear and bled as a result. We traipsed around a lot of uneven ground at two different cemeteries so it certainly seems likely. They wrapped her leg and we’ll see her regular doctor on Monday.

    No big deal, right? But somehow I’m not emotionally ready for any of this. I should be, she’s almost 86, but I’m not. So when I got home I bawled.

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  33. Suzanne said on June 21, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    “Let them eat cake!” Queen Marie Antoinette
    “I don’t care, do u?” Queen Melania Trump

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  34. LAMary said on June 21, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    Either Melania is really awful or she thought that everyone would find that jacket witty or something.In either case it was terrible to wear it and doesn’t anyone vet her wardrobe?

    And Deborah, I’ve dealt with “branding” departments and wondered who decided we needed a branding department.

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  35. Deborah said on June 21, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Seriously is Melania that clueless? Or is she just cruel like her husband. Bizarre.

    Brad B, I’m anxious to look at your links but the service in Abiquiu isn’t letting me.

    We finally got some results from LB’s MRI and thank goodness it’s not the worst possibilities, no fracture, no peripheral nerve sheath tumor. A tear of some kind and signs of bursitis. She’s in a lot of pain, hates taking the meds for that (except for the medical marijuana that she gets). She is supposed to get a cortisone shot but can’t get in for that until July 26th. Wow is that ludicrous, she has to suffer for over a month longer. We’re trying to get that moved up, she goes to he Dr for the full story about the tear on Tuesday. And she is scheduled to start physical therapy.

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