I’ll bet when Detroit was mass-manufacturing cars and sustaining an entire city, it was awesome—now, it’s a different experience. Detroit’s got its merits, no doubt, but there are so many things standing in its way of becoming great again. Detroiters have their work cut out for them, and some are certainly putting the hours in.
We pulled into the “Stay Inn” at around 10 at night. The area didn’t seem dangerous, but from the city we passed to get to it, it was pretty baron.
The lobby looked untouched since the mid-80s: Some blond chick in a red ski-suit was mid-jump down a slope; “Enjoy!” written in that fat, red, 80s script. There used to be some other kind of counter, but it’s just used for storage. Outside there’s some kind of booth alongside the entrance, but the window was smashed in and trash was piled inside.
The rooms were beds and toilets. Nothing fancy, nothing expected. First room I’d ever been in without a bible. The bathroom door felt like I was busting through to open it though. We dropped our stuff and headed for some food recommended by Derek, the P.A. for Detroit.
I forgot what the place was called, but we didn’t go—there was a 5.00 cover.
Instead we ended up in Greektown, at a spot with a damn good gyro. Down the street are entrances to Greektown Casino, a place that’s been protected so it wouldn’t lose business based on “Heritage Value”. It’s not so hard to see that the last thing this city needs is a place for people to throw money away, but I suppose the history is more important than the future.
Figured we’d call it a night, but Mark received a call from a friend in the area inviting us to a party for local youngin’s in Detroit. We drove through some of the sketchier parts of the neighborhood but it all seemed abandoned. The party was hosted at somebody’s studio. Since the young artists in Detroit don’t have much to do, people throw parties to give them something to do in the city. Everybody at the place knows each other, so Mark, Jimmy, and I (Ronald stayed back at the hotel) stuck out a bit, but everybody was in conversation so nobody seemed to mind.
The next day we split up after sending the drone over The GM Renaissance Center. Jimmy and I went on the Ford Tour in nearby Dearborn to try and get some footage of a car assembly line. Mark, Ronald, and Derek went to the Packard Plant, the car manufacturing plant that began to pump life into Detroit. From what I’ve read, it’s been bought and saved from demolition in hopes of reviving the city with what once destroyed them.
After getting to the Ford Tour, we found out we couldn’t record.
“Eh, let’s try it anyway.” We came this far, might as well.
The angles were shoddy; it looked like snuck footage. Below us, rows of truck beds rolled down a line, in another windshields were installed by a machine one-by-one. It was constant, paced, and every mistake lit up an orange light above the workstation, where a foreman would come and address the problem.
One guy noticed us filming from the top, pointed at us, and said “you’re not supposed to be doing that.”
We tried a few places but came up short on the shot at each.
“Dude…dude. Coming. Someone’s coming.” An orange-shirt wearing tour guide briskly walked towards us with a heavy, angry looking man.
“Let me see what’s on those cameras!” He shoved his hand out towards Jimmy.
“There are like 16 TVs around here, how didn’t you see you weren’t supposed to film?”
I stayed silent.
The guy made Jimmy delete the footage we just got, which wasn’t anything too special anyway.
“I thought there’d be more robots working here.” Jimmy asked, trying to calm the guy kicking us out.
“This one has a lot of people, but there are 333 robots in our other plants.”
“Why don’t you give tours of that?”
“I don’t know…we should.”
“Enjoy the rest of your day, fellas!”
“Well son of a bitch.” We waited for the shuttle and headed out.
We met up with them on Belle Isle., a Michigan run park that’s gone through tons of renovations. They were flying the drone over a fountain, getting shots over the Detroit River and into Windsor, Canada.