I felt like a stranger in my city for a while.
By Steven Reaume
For the past few years I’ve gorged myself on all of the great food at the new shiny restaurants. I’ve danced the night away to the aspiring and phenomenally talented new DJs. I’ve worked in the heart of the beast that is ‘new’ Detroit. I’ve watched my neighborhood slowly transform into a jagged patchwork of brilliance, specked with flakes of opportunism.
Shortly after I moved here in 1980s, I lived in Brush Park in The Amo apartment building, one of a few still occupied buildings in the area at the time. Most days I would walk down to Gus’ Coney Island, which happens to be the same building that I work in now, and grab breakfast before catching the Woodward bus up to 6 mile for work.
On the walks downtown I would rarely run into more than a handful of other people until I got down to Gus’ and the bus stop. The buildings were mostly unoccupied, the landscape uneven and random. Not much noise but a lot of volume.
Late at night after work, I’d play at Tiffany’s, Heaven, Gas Station, Pink Flamingo, somewhere in between and take a purple cab home, driving through a colorful loop of rough, weathered beautiful snapshots of reality. Weekends were filled with the life of a small rich community of art, music and dance…Liedernacht, Saint Andrew’s, Todd’s, Music Institute.
That time in this city inspired me every day.
Now I walk downtown to work, streets filled with cars and people, buildings lit up and occupied. Constant construction, planning and rebuilding. Corporate, organized, a little too homogenous.
Fortunately, underneath, this Detroit that I find myself in now is full of talented, original, historically inspired people that understand how Detroit’s past is going to blend into the future. They are turning the volume up and will soon drown out the noise.
I feel at home again.