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Coming Home to Detroit

Torn on whether to rejoice over "good press" for Detroit in Saturday's New York Times by op-ed contributor Toby Barlow -- or to roll my eyes at another story about Slows Bar BQ. Any news is good news? Read it here.


Ron and Patty (Cooley) looked around and did the math. Florida's economy seemed to be declining even more steeply than the Motor City's. In Detroit, they had roots, their sons had moved into the city and started a barbecue restaurant, grandchildren had arrived. So, weighing their options, they came back. They moved into a downtown loft, just a few blocks from the empty lot where Tiger Stadium once stood.

I first encountered Ron and Patty at an early morning fund-raiser for a neighborhood charity. Talking to them, I found that just like other new arrivals — the artists and recent college graduates coming here from other towns — they spoke of Detroit's potential with an almost exalted optimism. Instead of depressing or slowing them down, the move has been a thrilling one and they shared examples of how exhilarating their life is downtown.

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  • 1

    As well a good as this story is, I feel a lackluster approach from the Time bloggers. When blogging about Detroit all I read is excerpts from other sources of news. When are all of "your" experiences of the city of Detroit? When is "your" personal connection with the city?

    I thought that the blogs would be a cronical of what you all are experiencing in the city, not random news from other sources. I find that even though the stories are nice to read, I have already read them before it gets mentioned here, so for me most of the "blogs" are old news so to speak.

    Where are all the personal stories of "your" adventures in Detroit at? Where are "your" stories of going to bakery or finding that little restaurant that serves up food made with love and determination? Or about "your" frustrations with how the city is letting it's people down?

    These are the stories I think the people who come here to read would like to read. Not the after thoughts of some other news agency that was cut and pasted to fill up space.

    The 10 questions with Aretha are all find and dandy, but really, who cares. I love her music and respect her as an artist, but her views and the questions asked are not really pertinent to anything but herself, and is not really good blog material as is evident by the lack of comments that were left.

    I look at most of what is displayed in the time blog as fluff really. Maybe Time should get a "real persons" point on what is going on in the city and it's neighborhoods. Some one who goes to local events that are grounded to the people that life and work in the area, a "common mans" look into the city and what it has to offer to us all. Not some uplifting (if you can even call it that) piece about some one who moved back from Naples Fl. and lost all kinds of money on the property they had, I have been to Naples, I know the situation with the economy there and the money it takes to live there. It's a rich persons retirement city, million dollar condos and all that jazz, $1600.00 dinners and a play ground for heads of corporations. So I really don't feel sorry for any one who moves out of Naples to come back here to Detroit at all.

    Where is the story of the struggling artist or the BS the valay person goes thru every day to make their life happen. The small stuff that makes a city run, and be fun for those that make it day in and day out.

    These are the true people of Detroit, not some retired people moving back, or some singers meanderings on life.

    If Time really wants to improve on what they are trying to do here I think a change of style is needed, or even a change or writers.

    • 1.1

      I totally agree the reporters are not writing about their own adventures. Has anyone been to Palmer Woods Music in Homes, MOCAD, the DIA, the Detroit Film Theatre, attended a DSO concert, been to the FOX, a sporting event, the latest local restaurant that's just opened, the latest grocery? Checked out the Sound Board Room, eaten at the new Third Street Saloon, had a drink at 24 Grille, sat and talked with the locals at Avalon Bread, gone to Goodwells and bought organic, visited any of the fabulous churches, gone on one of the many tours (wow, we have a lot of tour companies)? Been to a play at Wayne State or Fisher Theatre, eaten at Mudgies in Corktown, shopped at Honey Bee market in Mexicantown, bought a book at Leopolds (we are loaded with entrepeneurs)? I could go on and on. Please start emphasizing the positive by actually having a good time in the city. It's very easy to do.

  • 2

    I second Mr. Price's comments. You said it yourself, Ms. Dybis. If you're rolling your eyes at another Slow's Bar B Q story, why don't you go out and find something else to write about? You guys are supposedly writers there, aren't you?

    I'd be thrilled if you actually wrote something new that I hadn't already read somewhere else, and I'd have a lot more respect for the whole Assignment: Detroit project.

  • 3

    I disagree with the last two comments. I personally find it valuable to find out how the national press views the city. Furthermore, I can immediately recall a number of stories posted on this blog that have nothing to do with what some other newspaper/magazine has said (including the stories written by Metro Detroit teenagers, your experience on a Salvation Army Bed & Bread truck, thoughts regarding John Conyers, etc.).

    If these folks feel that you are all are failing to get a broad variety of Detroit tales and adventures out, I'd suggest they start blogging themselves. Who knows... you all might just feature their content one day!

    • 3.1

      Ms. Jones, I do have my own blog. I would rather see the Assignment: Detroit folks write their own content than feature someone else's, particularly when it is content that has wide exposure in other places, like the the New York Times.

      I'm glad that you feel you are getting new information and insights from this blog. As you said, we disagree.

    • 3.2

      @ Tammi: Finding out how the National Press Views Detroit is easy, just read the National Press stories...

      As for the rest of the stories that you mentioned, those were a little week in my opinion, and the lackluster responses to them show that as well.

  • 4

    I have to echo the first two comments: What in the world are you being paid to do? And I don't mean that in the "Mission Statement" sense, I mean it in the "I could have written this post in 5 minutes, that's not all you get paid to do, is it?" sense.

    Many others undoubtedly echo this question in the "I don't have the training or journalism connections you people do, but I would love to link to other websites content for money because job's are tight" sense.

    If Time is paying for the content we see here, then Time is wasting money and putting themselves out of business the same way other industries here in Detroit: Over-paying for a project that others do for less money with no eye on what will actually do us (here, locally) any good.

    And I don't even want to get started on the Time blogger who claimed that "Literacy is over-rated" in a public venue [ahem]

  • 5

    ...Can someone tell me what person said..."...any publicity is good publicity!..." Yeah!...And I'm tired od every time ANYTHING is written of Detroit some Ninny has to 'piss and moan'..Do you think CHI., or NY or Boston or...Publicy ripp their bergs as much as Detrouit?..Damn, man, quit asking for the Sun, and appreciate the light!..You dumba---s!

  • 6

    Mr. Price,..."Maybe Time should get a "real persons" point on what is going on in the city and it's neighborhoods. Some one who goes to local events that are grounded to the people that life and work in the area, a "common mans" look into the city and what it has to offer to us all."

    Ms. Dybis has done this, twice. The Detroit at Her Best and 36 Hours in Detroit articles.

  • 7

    Karen took some heat for writing a "personal experience" post about the Salvation Army's mobile soup truck, and now takes heat for commenting on a national press story.

    Not sure if there is a story this blog could run that would please everyone, but methinks Detroit residents will only be happy if this blog isn't what they think it should be. The us vs. them mentality in this city tends to get a bit out of control.

    Maybe we should just be happy that they care enough to write it.

  • 8

    I have enjoyed all of the personal stories that have been wrote, that is why I have posted what I did. I would like to think that blogging about Detroit would be more of a personal experience for the bloggers and not just a cut and paste with a little commentary thrown in. A little more meat and potatoes approach. I have enjoyed all of Karen personal looks into the city, and when she writes about her experiences I usually comment on them, in a positive way. I read the national press sources every morning, so for me and I'm sure for a few others it is old news by the time it gets here.

    I would like to read more of their own experiences with the city, both positive and negative as I stated above. A more connected feeling from the bloggers, more, this is what I experience in Detroit today or this week kinda thing.

    What is going on in the city? Who is doing what and where they are doing it? A look at the Detroiters who live here, Not those that have moved back, or those that came from out of state to make some statement for them selves and then left.

    That is what blogging is to me, not repeating some news from another source. Time did not need to buy a house here to repeat news.

    • 8.1

      Again, did you read the two articles? I'm a devout Detroiter that happens to live in Chicago because I couldn't find a job in Detroit in my industry. I didn't make a statement then leave. I'm very connected to the city even though I live 300 miles away. For example, I went to the Double Door in Chicago last night to see my friend's band, The Octopus (from Detroit), play. I come home at every opportunity and wish I could have the same job in Detroit so I could move back.

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