If I can sum up one word about my 3-day trip, it’d be “depressing”…
Detroit, sad to say, is the shell of a once great city: with its automotive and Motown history inciting the lore as one of America’s most industrious metropolises, I expected the economic collapse of Detroit t0 be nothing more than overextended truths that the likes of the media and Michael Moore would talk about. However, experiencing it first hand, I couldn’t help but feel depressed when I saw the city outskirts littered with empty lots, burnt down or dilapidated houses, or unoccupied buildings. Even when we were downtown in the middle of the day — amidst the new buildings and supposedly booming tech industries — the nearly empty streets felt like Detroit can never recover from its downfall. It’s never going to be what it was, and as someone so glamoured by the “American Dream” of success and overcoming adversity and making it big, Detroit was a slap in the face: reality is harsh.
Now despite the stark, economic and social aspects of Detroit, I did find the city to be beautiful. The graffiti and art around the city were inspiring (I’ll post about the Heidelberg Projects later), and I wish that I was able to meet some of the street artists who created them (Monica said all the creatives “are hiding for some reason”). The old architecture that wasn’t abandoned or torn down in lieu of new developments were breathtaking, especially since it’s refreshing to see the art deco style in its original form as opposed to the ultra-modern, glass-concrete clusterfucks of new New York. Even the burnt down houses and crumbling facades had a haunting charm, that the natural elements can easily reclaim the land once exasperated by man. Guys, if there’s one thing that the overall aesthetic of Detroit taught me, it’s that humans suck and time is fleeting.
Here are some photos:
I: We ate the David Whitney House, a supposedly haunted mansion that serves a pretty awesome Beef Wellington. Anyway, some of the paranormal accounts within the mansion include table servings moving around and the elevator operating on its own, despite mechanics finding no technical fault with the elevator. So Gino, Brett, Monica and myself were on the completely empty second floor, which also serves as a dining hall. I made a remark about searching for ghosts right by the elevator bank, when suddenly the elevator doors open — with no one inside. Secondly, in one of the empty dining rooms, despite all the table settings set and in pristine condition, I turn around and a napkin unfolded itself. Also, on the second floor there appears to be an empty office with a frosted window and windowed door. Mind you, it’s completely dark and nothing was obscuring the windows. I dared Monica to peer inside and look for the ghost of David Whitney, and a minute later when we looked back at the empty office, a stack of napkins were vertically leaning against the windows.
II: I brought Nico with me to Detroit. Our hotel had a somewhat strict pet policy where dogs cannot be over 30 pounds (she’s 60 pounds) or be left unattended in the room. After leaving Nico alone in the room, my friends and I had dinner and gambled inside the hotel (I won $75 in computerized roulette, by the way). When we returned two hours later, we discovered that our card keys to our room would not work. We went down to the lobby and talked to a manager, and he said that Nico escaped six times and wandered the hallway, freaking out other people on the floor. I can imagine, with my dog’s stupid, curious grin and happy-go-lucky wag of her tail, Nico greeted every living individual that she came across — how the fuck would people get scared of Nico is beyond me. Nonetheless, in my head, the whole situation of Nico causally walking along the hallways reminded me of Slimer in Ghostbusters: