Metropolitan Detroit: Heart & Home

4:12 AM Jmo 0 Comments

 I was asked to write a brief, less than 600 word, essay about my hometown as part of an application for a writing job. Here’s what I came up with. I thought it was fitting and relevant. This being a travel-blog and all, exploring your own back yard can be just as exciting as exploring any far corner of the globe. Your surroundings are what you make of them. 
Cheers to Detroit~!

     When most people hear the word "Detroit", images of urban decay and detrimental economic suffering come to mind. Nightly news shows broadcast stories of heartache and monetary plight. National Geographic Magazine recently featured an editorial on Detroit's abandoned buildings. The coverage is scathing. It is obvious that Detroit has its fair share of problems. But, no matter what part of the globe I find myself in, it is still home and I think of it with unbridled affection. Detroit is my home and I am proud to say that. 
          I was born in downtown Detroit and moved to the suburbs at a very young age. Growing up I was virtually unaware of the "plight of Detroit". My view of the sprawling metropolis was always seen through the rose tinted world of a suburbanite and downtown, to me, was a playground. We ventured downtown often as a family. I grew up going to The Detroit Zoo, coming home with dreams of polar bears. I attended numerous Detroit Tigers baseball games clad in team colors and, of course let us not forget, Red Wings' hockey.  In my late adolescence and adult years, I spent much of my time attending stage productions at beautiful Art Deco era theaters, such as the Fisher Theatre. The Fox Theatre on Woodward Avenue is a Detroit staple due its iconography, location, and reputation. Traveling productions, as well as local troupes, cycle through these incredible institutions. One does not need to make the trek to New York City's Broadway to see world class theatre. World class theatre was right in my backyard. Top it off with the incredible collection at the Detroit Institute of Art and you have one cultural-powerhouse of a city. I was spoiled.
         Detroit is also a cultural melting pot. And with cultural melting pots comes incredible food. Detroit, and its suburbs, can be broken up into a few ethnic neighborhoods each prided with delicious dining options. Downtown we have Mexican Town, Cork Town, and Greek Town. The suburbs boasts one of the largest Middle Eastern communities outside of the Middle East, as well as large neighborhoods of Polish and Korean immigrants and descendants. Food, art, and music festivals are by far one of the most exciting things about spending a summer in Detroit. Pair the variety and flavors of our food with one of our extensive selections of craft beers and I'd say you're set for the summer.
          Through my travels, I've often had to defend my hometown. I'm often confronted with Detroit being the "post-apocalyptic" ruins of a city that once was. But this is not true. Detroit is an incredible city. Its people are hardworking, passionate, and driven. Its culture is proud, colorful, and exciting. Its food is a wealth of its cultural upbringings and can not be missed. Detroit's problems are complex and long-running. But the heart is there. I quote Mitch Albom, "Detroit is a place where we've had it pretty tough. But there is a generosity here and a well of kindness that goes deep."

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