Sunday, April 23, 2006

A View Of The TEM's Hometown

It seems as though whenever I hear Detroit described in the media, it's always described as timeworn, "Rust Belt," tough, and hard. There's some truth to that description, of course. Detroit is a manufacturing town with more than its share of blight. On the other hand, there is beauty amid the factories and the grit.

Take a look at this for example:

I was out on Belle Isle, the nation's largest city-owned island park, and a park designed by Frederick Law Olmstead - the man who designed New York's Central Park, late this morning just to get shots of the cherry blossoms (gifted to Detroit by its sister city, Toyota, Japan - click this link to learn how to get involved in the city's student exchange program) around Scott Fountain in full bloom. There were families out playing in the sunshine, couples taking a romantic stroll around the fountain, and rollerbladers gliding around the park enjoying the view. Belle Isle is one of my favorite places in Detroit - always evolving, never the same park everyday, full of sights and sounds to be admired and treasured.

Like this view, for instance:

This is a view of the riverfront from the southern tip of the island. On a clear day, like this morning, the city's skyline just glows. The Renaissance Center, Chene Park, Comerica's headquarters, and the Penobscot Building are beautiful buildings - this view highlights that beauty from afar.

The beauty is just as dazzling up close:

I got this shot from the top of the Pyramid Amphitheater in Hart Plaza last summer when I attended the Detroit International Jazz Festival. I liked the view of the United Way Tower between Comerica's headquarters, the Coleman Young Municipal Center, and an office building on Jefferson Avenue. I think it shows how Detroit can be solid, tough, and delicate all at once.

It's easy for us Detroiters to look past the beauty the city has because we're in the midst of it everyday. We begin to take it for granted, not see it, or sometimes neglect it and let it fade into ruin. When I went out on the island this morning, I was reminded of how beautiful Detroit is when I rounded the corner off the MacArthur Bridge. Seeing the downtown skyline, the sunlight hitting the Renaissance Center, the people in the park flying kites or walking their dogs, and the cherry blossom petals blowing off the trees and into the water, I had to take a breath. It was like seeing the city for the first time. All I could do was smile, stop the car, and take some pictures to share with you.

There is no place like home. Just stop and take a look. You'll see it, too.

More to come later.


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