Archive for July, 2005

Sunday morning coffee

Sunday mornings in Detroit are fairly quiet. Not much is open and there are even fewer people walking around. I have started a weekend ritual of hanging out at Cafe de Troit on Sundays drinking coffee, studying and talking with the other regulars. You can discuss local politics, the contents of the morning papers, weird Detroit things in movies and whatever you desire.

Plus Lee and Patrick, the owners, are super nice.

Four years ago…

On this day in 2001, my mom and I loaded up my pickup and began the journey to relocate me to Detroit. We took our time driving across New England, New York and Canada knowing full well our relationship was changing for good. No longer was I a young child, but a young adult going out into the world alone…and this child was going to be doing so in Detroit.
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Hoffa’s Disappearance: 35-years later

I don’t know about you, but I love a good conspiracy theory.

Thirty-five years ago today, Jimmy Hoffa was seen heading into the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Hills and was never seen again.

Many believe that Hoffa’s “disappearance” was a premeditated event put together by Anthony Provenzano, a former officer of the New Jersey Teamsters Union, and Anthony Giacalone, the head of the Detroit mafia at the time. There is also evidence that Chuckie O’Brien – who was like a son to Hoffa – may have driven the car the former Teamster’s President was last seen alive in, but O’Brien has never admitted to any involvement with the disappearance. In 2001, DNA test results between a hair found in the car O’Brien was driving and one from Hoffa’s hair brush were confirmed a match.

Although nearly one hundred people testified during the investigation of the case, Hoffa’s body was never found, and Provenzano and Giacalone were never tried in the case because there wasn’t enough evidence.

In 2004, the biography of Frank Sheeran – also a former official of the Teamster’s Union – unveiled that Provenzano and Giacalone hadn’t killed Hoffa – he had. Sheeran’s book went on to say that if he hadn’t killed Hoffa, who was his friend, the mob would have. Although human blood was found where Sheeran said he had killed Hoffa, it was tested and did not match Hoffa’s.

Sheeran, Provenzano, and Giacalone are all dead. Hoffa’s body has never been found.

Was this just a case of disgruntled mobsters? Or was Sheeran trying to get Hoffa out of the way so he could run for President of the Teamster’s Union? Had O’Brien had enough of his mentor’s shenanigans? Or is Hoffa alive and secretly living in Brazil?

The New and Improved Washington Boulevard

I am ecstatic about the results of Washington Boulevard’s recent makeover, which was recently completed. The red monkey bars are long gone, and so is the majority of the dirt and rubble that littered the area’s landscape all of last year and half of this one.

What we now have is a superb rendition of the original 1920s street design, which includes a grassy median, large flower-boxes that are embedded in the sidewalks, and tall lighting fixtures that bring character and visibility onto the once dark street.

If you haven’t been over to Washington in a while, I suggest going to check it out. But, be prepared – the change is so significant, you may not even recognize it as the old Washington Boulevard. And, while you’re there, head over to Bookies’ new outdoor patio, which opened up a few weeks ago.
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Lovely Day in the D

Today was one of those days that make me so happy to live in Detroit…
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Woodward Dream Cruise

Ah yes! Muscle Cars, Street Rods, Rice Burners, Caddy’s rockin spinners, even Moms in their Mini Vans roll up and down Woodward Avenue every summer in August. This technically does not take place in the City of Detroit, but the cruise can still claim the “D”. Saturday August 20th is the day that car enthusiasts fill their tanks, polish the crome, kick the tires and light the fires. The cruise runs from 8 Mile north all the way up to Pontiac. Its the Mecca for car enthusiasts.
I plan on covering this solid for the next month so stay tuned for more.
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This is a shot of my dad’s 48′ Chevey Streetrod. Last year he was interviewed on The Discovery Channels “Kings of The Road” while rolling up Woodward.

OK, So I’m a loser…

One of the things that fascinates me is finding relics of what once was. One thing I like to do is drive old Highways and look for buildings and hints of how important the road used to be. In the days before Interstate Highways and their Canadian equivalent, the roads that are now secondary highways were the vital link to other cities.

Many times now, we zoom by in our cars without giving a second thought or glance to the radidly vanishing history in front of us. Take Michigan Ave. for example. Once you pass Dearborn heading west (this was once the main highway to Chicago from Detroit) there are clusters of motels all over the place for no rime or reason. What was the big tourist attraction that once drew hundreds of tourists to Inkster & Taylor? Was it spill over from Greenfield Village (sorry, I just can’t call it “The Henry Ford”), or was it motels for Air travelers?

The “Tourist Motel” neon sign in my Photograph was taken in St. Joachim, Ontario, that is near…. well nothing. It’s about 25 miles out of Windsor with nothing around. It is located on the old Highway #2 that was first laid out in the 1920’s, and fell into disuse in the 1950’s when Highway 401 became the Highway of choice to Toronto & Montreal.

So take the time to look around and take in the history all around you next time your driving on a former highway. You might be surprised at what you see.

Ferndale Pub Crawl

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Tonight is the 9th Annual Ferndale Pub Crawl. Starts at Boogie Fever around 6:30pm, the money raised will go to various local groups including MAPP, Ferndale Historical Society and Ferndale Police Auxiliary. A $9 admission fee will get you into all 13 bars/restaurants participating.

Out of service? WTF Detroit?

I have stumbled across this all over the City, seriously, WTF? How can maintaining basic nesseceties like Fire Hydrants not be a priority. Sometimes things in the city really make me shake my head. This scene is 3 blocks from Urban Tiki’s house, on the Main Street of Detroit. A fire Hydrant out of order just seems so not acceptable to me…

A Big Thank You…

To everyone that has donated to the Camera fund. Those of you who sent money and posted below, and to the others who sent money and didn’t say anything…

Many thanks, I am always humbled by the generosity and kindness of people when it’s least expected. Hopefully I’m only a few weeks away from a return to camera land.

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