My new friend Ben and I walked into 1515 on Broadway after having a delightful lunch in Greektown a few Fridays ago. After buying coffee, Ben and I were lucky enough to spend some time with Scott and Scott’s marvelous yellow turtleneck.
Scott is temporarily based out of Corktown, although he will be flying back to LA soon. He is in the business of lending money to very wealthy people and helping them carry out large ventures.
“The big ham” is how he put it.
When he found out I was a reporter his face froze.
“You haven’t been recording me, have you?”
“Hey, I swear I am not coming onto you,” I heard a truck say as I was heading towards d:Hive in downtown Detroit for some background on a story. I braced myself for what was to come.
“I think your hair is awesome. Awesome.”
What a nice truck.
“After this we are going to get a drink,” Justin announced to me as we made our way to Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern in downtown Detroit last week. “Because that, Rose, is what adults do.”
Justin and I spent time together on a Wednesday, but to Justin, who works unconventional hours at Ford, it was technically a Friday – the beginning of his weekend.
Justin and I met through an extremely close mutual acquaintance last September. Armed with what seems to be a very Detroit mixture of kindness, generosity and cynicism, he has had my back ever since.
Justin, in short, is my fairy godmother.
Sam, pictured here holding Afie, works at the parking lot opposite the Third Circuit Court on Gratiot in downtown Detroit. We see each other a few times a week and finally got a conversation going today.
Sam came to Detroit from Alabama when he was 13. He says things may be bad here, but he feels they’re still better than in Alabama.
“These things are always temporary,” he mused as we exchanged impressions of the city.
Before Alfie and I got on our way, Sam looked me straight in the eye with one last thing to say. “That’s not your real hair color. You dye it, don’t you?”
I laughed and confirmed his suspicions. Honesty for honesty.
Behind Sam are the remnants of a $300 million county jail project, which was halted last year mid construction.
I met Burt on a particularly cold morning a few days ago as I was making my way downtown on foot. Burt said he was waiting for the bus.
I told him he wasn’t just waiting for the bus, he was waiting for the bus in style. His coat made my day.
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.
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.
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.
I rode Blue Cindy, my fabulous turquoise-wheeled bike, across town to have tea with Jon Strand this afternoon.
Jon and I met a few weeks ago. He was walking Archie (pictured here looking up at his owner) and I was walking Alfie. Jon and I agreed that with such perfectly matching dogs, we’d better become friends.
Jon is a world-class pointillist. The pictures you see behind him are the result of thousands of hours spent meticulously painting dots. Local fans include the Detroit Institute of Arts, which owns two of his pieces.
Jon spent most of his childhood in Detroit and returned as a young man. He settled in the downtown area 37 years ago and has not moved away from it since. His stories, carefully recorded in over 90 volumes of diaries, are as vivid and colorful as his paintings.
Perching atop a bar stool at the Grand Trunk in downtown Detroit, I leant across the counter and engaged my barman in conversation.
“So Nick, tell me what the deal is with Detroit men and all your beards?”
Don’t get me wrong. I am a great supporter of beards, it’s just I’ve noticed a solid three quarters of the men I meet here seem to have one. It’s become so normal, I’ve almost stopped noticing altogether.
Nick looked bashful. It only took him a moment to reply. “What do you mean all our beards?”