28 March 2011

Defend Detroit

So, the Motor City's been in the news a lot lately. First it was this:

Then more recently, this.

And it is easy to get discouraged. After living in New York and Los Angeles, having traveled to places like San Francisco, Portland, and Chicago, it's hard not to compare Detroit to other major cities. I get that. I do it all the time.

Growing up in the north suburbs, it might have been easy to forget all about the city, but I was not raised to shy away from it, to run for the hills when the working day was over. Some of the fondest memories from my youth involve coming to Detroit. Summertime was all about ballgames at Tiger Stadium. My dad always got tickets from his office that were right behind the visiting team's dugout. I remember New York Yankee Neil Allen throwing me a ball after warming up. I remember Sweet Lou's black wooden bat, which looked like nobody else's. Gibby's sweet handlebar 'stache. Or my favorite pitcher, Dan Petry's moustache. Moustaches were big, apparently.

Then there were touring musicals and live shows at the Fox Theatre. Murals and art works at the Detroit Institute of Arts. When I got older, it was shows at St. Andrew's. Or drinks at The Town Pump.

And I'm proud to say that my wife and I have kept us these traditions with the Doozer. So far, in his short life, he's been to that historic, beautiful Fox Theatre (for Sesame Street Live) and frolicked around the galleries of the DIA. He was a big fan of the giant tiger statues outside of Comerica Park (I like to believe it's because he never got to see the original Tiger Stadium) and he absolutely loves the Spirit of Detroit statue—this might be his favorite thing about coming into the city (even more than the giant guitar outside of the Hard Rock Cafe, more than seeing his own father at his office during the workday). The kid's even been to City Bird. What a total hipster.

We recently took him to the Detroit Science Center, which is great for kids. Where else would you have these kinds of opportunities? The Doozer got to learn about Bernoulli's principle . . .

. . . and came face to face with a pair of couch potatoes (hopefully he did not mistake them for his mom and dad).

He got to compare his muscles to the Hulk's . . .

. . . and have a jam session with David Byrne.

There were also giant, animatronic dinosaurs that he couldn't stop talking about. That is, until we went to lunch, at the midtown classic Traffic Jam & Snug, where they served him a dish of ice cream that resembled a clown.

He's already talking about going back to see those tigers again when the weather's warmer. And watching a baseball game at Comerica Park. He's always up for seeing the Spirit of Detroit. He talks about that a lot. A lot.

If only everybody could get that excited about Detroit. Maybe someday soon they will. If you could see it through the eyes of the Doozer, you'd know it's a place worth caring about. Worth getting invested in. Worth supporting.

This is Detroit. This is the Doozer's hometown.

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