Archive for May, 2007

Asian-Village-To-Be

Detroit%20020.jpg

Asian-Village-to-be; just east of the Renaissance Center – how you taunt me so. When will you finally open your doors?

Blockbuster vs. Netflix

I just joined Blockbuster’s at home movie service. I used to subscribe to Netflix, but as Blockbuster’s ads amplify – you can trade in your films at brick and mortar stores so you do not have to wait for the mail to deliver films. Blockbuster has one store at University Plaza at Warren and the Lodge freeway. The one on east Jefferson has been closed without explanation. As long as Blockbuster remains in Detroit, using its subscription service versus Netflix’s is supporting a few jobs in the city. The pricing is the same for three movies at a time for both services.

Seat belt safety zones?

A few weeks ago, I started noticing “seat belt safety zones” around the city. If you’re not familiar with them, they are areas of local roads where state troopers or local police can pull people over for not wearing their safety belts. I’ve seen three separate zones so far: one on Woodward Avenue around 7 Mile, and two different ones on East Jefferson Avenue.

Here are my two thoughts on this:

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Pistons/Cavs series

I am really not a sports person in that I do not watch ESPN (except when my husband has it on) and I don’t normally schedule my evenings around sporting events. Except when the Pistons are in the playoffs.
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Panhandlers

A couple of weekends ago while shopping in Eastern Market I was harassed by two homeless men, threatened by one, and witnessed two others using very public places for their bathrooms. Under usual circumstances I give what I can, but these men were particularly viscous and relentless. Now I do not scare easily, but these events left me with such uneasiness that they caused me to lay low in the city for couple of days. I was thinking of what to say about this particular issue, and this is what I have come up with. I do not have any problems with homeless people. I don’t know their stories, or how they came to be in this predicament. Most people fall on hard luck in life and some are not lucky enough to have people around them to help bail them out. That being said, I cannot stand panhandlers. Please have the decency not to harass me when I am walking alone. Please do not name call or threaten me if I don’t have the exact amount of money you have asked for. I can only imagine what people not used to these situations feel when they are only visiting the city; would they return?

New Construction But Is It Enough?

It has been thirty-three years since the Music Hall at Madison and Brush has had a neon sign. On June 1st that will change. A new 50 ft high sign in red neon will be hoisted to it’s cradle on the roof. The sign will read “Music Hall” and will actually stand 120 ft above the street. The tower is being built by Nelson Ironworks of Detroit and will cost $81,000. From my perch in Grand Circus Park, I am watching a huge crane parked on what looks like Brush, beginning to hoist the enormous structure. I am just amazed at how much new and great additions are going on downtown. It is truelly a time of re-construction.

If we can just keep our noses clean in order to attract more tourists, visitors and new business. Last week at the Olympia Shish Kabab restaurant in Greek Town a huge brawl broke out at about 4 a.m. Three men beat a fourth and they all knew each other. Over $35,000 in damages resulted and employees and customers were running out of the building like rats. Now how many of those patrons will be coming back to the D’?

Movement

A combination of poverty and a smattering of downpours throughout the weekend had me on the periphery of Movement: Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival. However, this year – unlike year’s past – the festival stopped before the river-walk so that strollers could enjoy the sights and sounds of the festival. Festival-goers had access to and from the grounds to the river-walk. The music was great and the people-watching satisfying. It seemed as if Detroit’s entire police force was patrolling the grounds. As usual it was great to see Hart Plaza and the city fill up with interesting people.

Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Results

I have been watching the Celebrate Michigan photo contest since the beginning of May. I submitted a few photos early on and watched the progression and addition of photos.

I knew I most likely wouldn’t win, so when they released the winners I was content until I seen what they were. As I clicked the link to view the winner gallery. I was appaled to find that some of the winners were hardly photos at all, in my eyes.Most tone mapped/HDR images are in no way photos in my opinion, as they aren’t natural as the eye would see it. Many of these photos were manipulated in this way, or were photoshopped beyond realism (such as Kevin Cliffords photo, which is more like a painting, then a photo. How can drugged up colors like a purple river ever be acceptable?). In addition to this was a poorly created panorama that was partially underexposed, with seams and vignetting showing. I know photos don’t have to be masterpieces, but some of them don’t capture how the location would look in real life.

Phoographers such as Ryan Southen and Adrian Platts should have ranked higher then many of these photos. First, third, were good photos and are examples of what should have been seen in the winners gallery.

Am I just overreacting, or are fake images giving false impressions of Michigan?

Walking Tours of the D’

Looking for tours of the City? There are several offered during the week from now until September. Detroit Tours Connections kicks off Wednesday, June 6th with “Urban Jungle.” MMmm, sounds interesting. June 13th is the “Park Ave. Tour” and they continue on after that.

Inside Detroit begins their tours tonight at the Fourth Friday with Ford at Campus Martius. Before Mitch Ryder comes on you can take a guided tour of the downtown area and, after the concert, they are having a pub crawl. Next to the word “free” I like “pub crawl” best.

Finally, check out the tours given every Saturday morning by Preservation Wayne. I have written about these events in the past and they are really well presented. Tours include “Downtown Bars & Restaurants’, “Downtown Buildings of Louis Kamper”, “Downtown Skyscrapers”, and “Buildings of Albert Kahn.” Their most popular one is the tour of the Theater District and is only held once in September.

Lights On, Nobody’s Home. . .Yet

Living in GCP I notice little changes going on. The other day I was walking by the David Whitney Building at 1553 Woodward at the corner of Park and there was movement afoot. Four or five construction trucks were parked outside and, after doing a little investigation, I discovered that they are turning on the juice. They were electricians working on turning the lights on. I was told that the owner, Charles Becker of Omnipoint Communications/Becker Ventures was in town this week from Florida and is seeking partners to renovate this magnificent building into residential/commercial space. There are fifteen different buildings in Grand Circus Park and, except for the Kales, the Whitney is my favorite one. Haven’t seen anything in the media yet but I hope this is true. It would be a huge step forward in the revitalization of the D’.

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