You say it’s our birthday? And we don’t look a day over 250? Thanks — sure puts us in a celebrating mood. Since there ain’t no party like a Dee-troit party, we asked everybody we could think of —from our own staff to folks on the street — to share with us the things they love about this town of ours. From the river to Eight Mile, there really is lots to be proud of:
Heading out to Tastefest on West Grand Boulevard, I saw a guy proudly driving a car with no passenger door. If an attitude like that doesn’t scream “Detroit,” then I don’t know what does.
Foreign country within minutes’ drive, if escape from the authorities should become necessary.
We finally have Krispy Kreme and Red Bull!
When the bars close, I can either sensibly go home or stretch out the night just a little bit longer by grabbing a post-2 a.m. meal at one of the 24-hour triumvirate of American Coney Island, Plaka’s or Mediterranean Café. Intoxication aside, there’s a definite camaraderie among both friends and strangers. And nothing tops off the night better than a little grease to settle the stomach.
Tyree Guyton dot graffiti around town.
We’re the first city where you see next year’s car models being driven around by automotive dealers and execs — by the way, the 2002 Thunderbird is beautiful.
All-in-one entertainment (food, music, drinks) at The Majestic complex.
After 10 p.m. on weekends, there is a sense of family within the boundaries of music inside the city. For years, even before there were nightclubs popping up one after another, there was dancing after dark — beautiful music pulsing out of immense sound systems and a unified group of diverse humans as one on the dance floor.
The Fabulous Ruins (detroityes.com/index.html).
Exploring the abandoned Stroh’s plant near Eastern Market a few years ago, before it was demolished. We could see Dearborn from the roof.
Cool old brick houses (they’re mighty, mighty).
What I love about Detroit is ... no matter if someone is from Birmingham, Royal Oak, Ferndale or wherever, when asked where they are from they usually reply “Detroit.”
Detroit is rock city!!!
It’s no longer in existence, but in memory: one of my favorite things was going to Trappers Alley, as a child, and making the first stop at the fudge shop, to watch the fudge being made.
Tiger Stadium. Thanks for the memories.
What I love most about Detroit is the people. I was born and raised in Detroit and lived here 20 years before going away to college. I was gone for about 15 years but I always found a reason to visit Detroit on the weekends. During my absence from the city I always wanted to move back. Finally, two years ago I moved to southwest Detroit and purchased a house. I have never been happier to be back (I just feel like I belong here). Where I live the houses are built extremely close together (we have no driveways) so you have no choice but to get to know your neighbor (there are no huge privacy fences like in many suburbs). Everyone is very neighborly and there is a definite sense of pride in the community. I have found (in my personal experiences) that Detroiters are friendlier than in other places I have lived. To sum it up — the best thing about Detroit is the people who live here!
The gardens of Belle Isle. Got married in ’em.
The groundbreaking, culture changing bars of the late 70’s and early 80’s — Bookies, the Red Carpet, the Park Avenue Club (the real Clutch Cargo’s) and the main vein, the fabulous Aorta. The notorious Willis Show Bar (don’t ask).
Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum. I see something new every time I go.
I’m originally from New York, I’m here selling my New York cuisine (hot dogs from a street vendor’s station). But I’ve been here for three years and in that time I’ve seen a resurgence of excitement and pride in people.
The North American International Auto Show. What else is there to do here in January?
Most of the things I like best about Detroit no longer exist. I’ll always remember the original (and only, in my mind) J.L. Hudson’s store on Woodward Ave. The annual Christmas display on the 12th floor. Plum Street, which sent my life in an entirely different direction.
You can show everybody where you live by showing them your hand.
Watching the small planes come into/take off from Detroit City Airport. More specifically, when I was young, swimming in the pool in the backyard, being able to watch them come in for landing and stopping to wave at the planes. When I was 8, I though it was the most fun in the world.
Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi are from here (as well as Jeff Daniels).
Motown, yeah, yeah, yeah. But also Fortune, Invictus, Golden World, Westbound.
Chubby Checker got the fame and glory, but we all know the twist started with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.
Drew and Mike’s morning show on WRIF.
The chaotic and exciting experience of seeing the Kiss reunion tour kick off at Tiger Stadium in 1996. The first music event I attended in Detroit where there was media from all over the world.
The rare peregrine falcons that live in the Fisher Building.
As crazy as it sounds, and maybe because I am not fully awake in the morning, I love the smell of downtown when I arrive here. It smells alive and rich, and makes me glad to be down here.
That wonderful odor coming from every manhole — better than coffee on Monday mornings.
A big-city feeling
Hart Plaza — A few weeks ago, they were showing people how to hustle during the afternoon. That was a nice change of pace for the people around here.
That we have no place else to go but up!
I love walking in Elmwood Cemetery… it is such a lovely and deeply peaceful place. It’s fascinating to look at all of the famous names and think about what life on the strait would have been like during their lifetimes.
My job and all the interesting characters I meet!! (Colette, bartender at Old Shillelagh)
I love living in Detroit ’cause I can wake up in the morning and grab my jacket thinking that it’s gonna be cold and I come back home sweating in my T-shirt.
Playing hockey at Heilmann or Clark Park.
I was born and raised here and I never thought about moving. I like the job opportunities that I have here. I also appreciate the education system. Everything works in Detroit.
The plowing of the streets — what a great job!
I like to eat at the restaurants. Since I moved to Detroit (about 10 years ago) I put on at least 30 pounds because the food here is so good. I try to burn some of the calories in the beautiful parks that are also a good thing about Detroit, but it seems that is not working at all.
The people — mostly everyone has a family attitude.
The things I love about Detroit are the festivities. In the summer I always go to Greektown to eat and drink. I also love the water around the state. Going to different states without water makes you appreciate Detroit.
My quiet and peaceful Boston-Edison neighborhood.
To tell you the truth it is easier for me to say things that I don’t like about Detroit. I am looking forward to find a job somewhere else. The only reason why I am here is my job.
The nightlife in the summertime is great. I always go to the African-American and Caribbean festivals.
New construction implies that there is a rebirth coming. Because of that, I think future generations will come back to Detroit to raise children.
I love to go see a show at the Fox and go to Greektown.
WDET, especially the Ed Love program. Being able to hear real jazz on the radio. The fact that it’s always “the time is now eight minutes past the hour” instead of “It’s 8:08.”
Diversity of wild animals (rabbits, raccoons, deer, chipmunks, etc.).
I like Detroit because everything that I need is here. Good restaurants, the Fox Theatre and big parks. I also like to walk down Washington Boulevard.
Spending the afternoon at Belle Isle doing absolutely nothing.
The history of the city is very cool. There are a lot of historical buildings that give the city a sense of place. I like seeing all the new buildings and to participate on the renovation of Detroit.
Belle Isle Zoo — More intimate setting than Detroit Zoo, and the place where my husband and I had our first real date.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, a piece of jazz history.
I like the Detroit Institute of Arts. The mural “Detroit Industry” tells all the story of Detroit’s industrial heritage.
Flood’s — That’s a good place to be.
I like to go to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. I always learn a lot there about my culture.
We have Mexicantown, Greektown, all we’re missing is Chinatown and Little Italy.
Greektown Art Fair in June — Not as overwhelming and exhausting as Ann Arbor’s, and it’s much more enjoyable and doable.
I like that they haven’t torn down the train station yet. That’s pretty cool.
Far enough away from California that my mother doesn’t know what I’m up to.
I live in Southwest Detroit, and one of my favorite things is my neighborhood, and all the different people there.
I like the casinos, if they would ever let me win any money.
I have been all over the world, and no other place is like Detroit.
Ernie Harwell — When I was a little kid I used to listen to the games on real low volume so my parents wouldn’t catch me after I was supposed to be sleeping. His voice is still soothing to me, and his knowledge of the history of the game in Detroit is always enlightening.
Tough people with big hearts.
I like it because it’s becoming more of a city, instead of a no man’s land.
Sitting by the fountain at the DIA. I go down there with my friends and eat lunch.
I like our church (Central United Methodist Church). It’s what pulls us down here.
I like being near the river, because I grew up in New York, and I miss the Hudson River.
The feeling that the city has been lived in.
The old buildings. You can picture what they once were, and what they will become.
I like the proximity to Windsor to visit my family.
I like that I was born here, and that I live outside. (Dave, who told us he was homeless)
I love Detroit because of the change of seasons and Harpo’s.
I like Detroit. Period.
I like the proximity to Windsor to visit my family.
Who could resist a liquor store on every corner? Basically, Detroit knows how to party.
If someone says that it’s boring in Detroit, something is wrong with that person because there is so much to do around here.
The intellectual hub of Detroit — Wayne State University.
Easy access to a wide selection of controlled substances.
I like to watch the Detroit Symphony on Friday mornings.
The Fox Theatre — I see a lot of great shows there.
It looks much better than it did when I left in 1972.
I love the Michigan Tastefest. I usually go every year but this year they were spectacular.
I like to drive my car, a ’65 Mustang, in the Woodward Dream Cruise.
The Grand Prix at Belle Isle and the Thunderfest on the Detroit River.
I love the zoo. This year I adopted a cat on the “Adopt a pet campaign” and my cat became my best friend.
The Detroit Zoo in the dead of winter. Wait until the crowds have been gone long enough and the seals are excited to have an audience.
I love the floats at the America’s Thanksgiving parade. It is the best way to start the season.
I like the diversity in Detroit and the fact that everything that you need is here.
The people. They’re down to earth, yet bizarre at the same time.
City Club. It’s been around a long time and I dig the “Cheerslike” setting.
The feeling of awe I would get as a kid whenever we traveled down I-75 and I would see the luminous beauty of the Fox Theatre sign.
You can walk down the street and someone can say, “Hey! Want to go to a party?”
My car hasn’t been stolen yet.
I love all the flowers they’re been planting along Jefferson. It livens up the area.
The Compuware (world headquarters) that’s going up. It’ll hopefully rejuvenate the city.
That they’re not going to tear down Tiger Stadium.
All the policemen. You feel very safe down here (downtown).
The Warehouse District. I don’t go there as much as I used to when I was younger and had no kids. But it’s a cool place to go.
The Old Mariners Church.
The Detroit Public Library.
I’ve been here all my life. It’s a nice place to live. People are nice.
The weather’s not too hot, not too cold. We avoid all the major weather disasters.
We’re a real sports town. We’re the No. 1 sports city in the world.
Mike Ilitch puts his money where his mouth is ... and some of our money, too.
At night, the lights fanning out into the distance when you look from the upper floors of the Renaissance Center.
When you travel, and tell people you’re from Detroit, they automatically assume you’re a bad-ass.
Going to Windsor for lunch or dinner and being able to say “I had lunch/dinner in another country.”
The Dally in the Alley.
I also remember the great radio stations — CKLW, WABX, Keener 13, WQRS and the only great station still standing, WDET.
What I love about Detroit today is its prospects and potential to become the world-class city it used to be.
The mega-industial area off I-75, just south of Mexican Town. It’s so Blade Runner.
St. Andrew’s Hall — The best concert venue in the country. Ask anybody.
The Super Bowl in 2006
If you live here, either you were born here or you’re crazy.
More celebratory stories...Motown on our minds: A collection of thoughts and images, recollections and reflections.
A cynic’s Top 20 reasons to love this town of ours.Send your comments to [email protected]