Category Archives: Midwest US

Motown love: Why I’m (still) on the D(etroit) train

Me and baby Vera at the old Tigers' stadium, Corktown, Detroit.

Me and baby Vera at the old Tigers’ stadium, Corktown, Detroit.

This is a post I’ve been kicking around for awhile, and with the news of Detroit’s sad but not unexpected bankruptcy, it seemed more important than ever to get off my chest. I have a feeling about the city that I can best describe as visceral, fierce, and sometimes unjustifiable. It is not a place for those with delicate sensibilities or without serious street smarts. I’ve written a bit of background on why we are thinking of leaving NYC after nearly fifteen years and what we are looking for in a future home, and some musings on what life might be like in another place. Detroit was the city that started our NYC “expat fantasies,” starting as a cheap real estate joke (“Why don’t we just buy a house rather than get a hotel room for the weekend?”), evolving into an appreciation of “ruin porn” and pioneer spirit, and occasionally a bone of contention over its inherent dangers and drawbacks. Despite its fairly serious issues, I have a deep and complicated crush on Detroit I can’t shake off, or even explain easily. While I was originally planning to write a straight-forward list of how it fit my personal qualifications for a home base (the excellent airport and proximity to water are two big pluses), Motown’s charms are less simple and quantifiable than that.

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I heart the heartland

School has started, hence my lack of updating, but I'll get on it
soon.  I have some days off next week, thank you, Jewish holidays!

Last weekend I went to Minneapolis to visit friends.  I've been to
the TC (Twin Cities for those not hep to the midwest slang) before two
years ago, and have been meaning to go back since.  Had a fabulous
time doing lots of non-NYC things.  I ate fried cheese curds
three days in a row.  I went bowling for the first time in nearly
a decade in nearly a decade and inexplicably bowled a 141.  Am
thinking of dropping out of school and becoming a professional bowler;
my name would be "The Pin Whisperer."  I went sailing on Lake Pepin,
where water skiing was invented and tried to get barges to honk at me
(they didn't).  I ate in multiple strip malls and shopped at
Target, in the city of Target's HQ.  I got drunk at the Imperial Room and saw multiple party buses,
which I can't believe has not caught on here.  I freakin' love the
midwest, despite my not so great experience in Michigan.  I even taught native Minnesotans a dirty trick one of my father's Animal House friends taught me.

If you're in the TC, I would suggest a boozy brunch at the Uptown (don't forget your pint glasses!) and further drinking at Nye's, recently voted Best Bar in America by Esquire.  Lest you think I only drink, here's another bar rec: Chatterbox, that has all  the board and video games you could ask for.

In short,  I think the TC rock, but then again, I've never been there in winter. 😉

ETA: This post has been brought to you by Neil Gaiman,
whose book reading I attended tonight and who updates his blog
daily.  I've never read any of his stuff but intend to become a
fan, and he's a Brit leaving in Minneapolis.  I love it when
things come full circle.

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That’s different

In an effort to not be self-indulgent and post every stupid thing that crosses my mind, I have not posted in ages.  Went to the midwest this weekend for a family thing and got a large helping of All That is Wrong with America.    For example: we stayed at a motel which was nothing to write home about, but, hey, $50 a night.  One night we noticed that our neighbor was actually grilling burgers outside his room in a Smokey Joe out of the back of his truck.  He invited us to join him and his “old lady,” they were staying the night as they didn’t have cable and there was a Nascar race on TV that night.  Awesome.  Fittingly, we went to see Talledega Nights that night and dined at The ‘Bee’s two night in a row.  We also went to an outlet mall in Indiana with a huge nuclear reactor overlooking it and a state prison a few blocks away.  Did not get a chance to stop by Gary, Indiana, but it looked just as shitty as it’s reputation when we drove by it.

Last night, I caught a little of Celebrity Duets, the latest reality travesty on Fox.  I still feel dirty and am probably permanently dumbed down because of it.  Was at least glad that I had no idea who half of the contestants were.