Spinning Robert

Spinning Robert

Robert gave me a ride today as I was on my way to interview a few people for a story.

Robert is from the west side of Detroit and says he loves his city.

“I love Detroiters. It’s like we have a chip on our shoulder and we want to prove we can do things better than the rest.”

Robert told me he ended up spinning in the best clubs in Seoul when he was in Korea with the army. “It’s like you’re a world class DJ when you go abroad, but in Detroit you’re one of hundreds, so you have no idea.”

Bundled Up Noah

Bundled Up Noah

I met Noah as I was walking east from downtown. I thought his outfit perfectly spoke for how cold it is in Detroit at the moment.

He told me he was heading home. “I’ve been out walking, trying to find something to eat,” he said.

People here have mixed feelings about the media. The impression, I have found, is that reporters either give a stereotypical rendering of Detroit’s demise or a simplistic, upbeat one of the city’s rebirth.

Just a few words exchanged with Noah made my heart break. It has broken a number of times since I moved to the city.

Adam’s Business Pitch

Adam's Business Pitch

You may not know this, but there’s a serious startup culture in Detroit. Young people are moving into the city and are pretty excited to be a part of building its future.

This is Adam. Adam recently moved back to his home state of Michigan from New York. He told me he was waiting for the right business idea, but had firmly committed to living in the city.

I met Adam at a startup challenge/networking night organized by one of the co-working spaces here, Bamboo. The photo captured him as he pitched an idea his team had spent a few minutes coming up with based on four words. Said idea involved a rich business man and a flying robot. His delivery was impeccable.

Oneita and the Spanish Documentary Crew

Oneita and the Spanish Documentary Crew

I took this photo last weekend while doing my weekly market shop.

I wasn’t completely sure, but it felt like a camera crew was filming me as I was selecting red and yellow peppers. Just a few minutes later, my suspicions were confirmed when I heard my name being shouted out a few meters away.

Oneita (pictured here on the left) was enthusiastically making her way towards me with cries of happy new year and welcome back. She told me she was showing a Spanish documentary crew round the city. Angel (on the right) was part of the team.

I may be a newbie to the city, but I am pretty sure Oneita is somewhat of a Detroit legend. She worked at the Detroit Free Press for years and threw it all in amid a bench tagging scandal. She now drives a taxi. She also has a tee-shirt business and I believe is writing a book. Her super cool fashion sense speaks for itself.

Glenn the Skate Skier

Glenn the Skate Skier

“What are you doing?” I shouted out to the men in the oddly shaped skates holding on to their batons.

“We are skate skiing,” the answer came back. “Preparing for the cross-country skiing season, which is about to begin. Can’t wait.”

Glenn and his crew were whizzing up and down as Alfie and I were happily strolling along.

“You’re a Brit aren’t you?” The question came as they whooshed past us a third time. I acquiesced.

“You must think we Americans are crazy.”

I smiled. Generally, I am the one to be branded eccentric. The role reversal was quite refreshing.

Antoine at the Ice Rink

Antoine at the Ice Rink

Alfie and I walked to the heart of downtown Detroit last night. We read in the Detroit Free Press that the Christmas lights had been turned on the night before. The scene we were met with did not disappoint.

Pure magic.

Antoine, pictured here, was busy preparing the ice for the 6pm opening of the rink. If you squint your eyes and look in the background to the right, you can see an excited crowd of skaters waiting for Antoine’s OK signal.