My visit to Detroit and Windsor w/pics

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I spent the weekend in Detroit and its suburbs. I wanted to share with you guys my thoughts. I saw both the rough areas of Detroit as well as the prosperity. I went to Detroit to see the Abandonment as i stated in a previous thread. I also visited resturants recommended by fellow BITOG'ers Bluestream and yeti. here is a description of each place i visited along with a few pictures. My first stop was west of downtown to see the old Packard factory. This was an interesting experience. I saw the neighborhoods just west of Downtown with burnt and abandoned houses and that was more sad than anything. the place seemed relatively low key for some place so close to downtown. At no point did i feel unsafe while here, it just felt empty there. a illustrious past that was forgotten it seemed. My next venture was into the Suburb of Highland Park. This place truly felt deserted. I think i literally saw five people as i spend about an hour tooling around the neighborhoods taking in the view of what once was a beautiful suburb sometime in the early 1900's. Schools completely boarded up and many of the houses uninhabited or burnt. This part of the city was again just heartbreaking. I never felt as if i was in danger. I exited the truck a few time to get photos and there was little to no one in sight. I believe i read that there are about 10k people living in Highland Park today. At it's peak it was over 100k people. I believe it as 80% of it seemed to be a forgotten place. Here are a few photos. Here are a few photos of the Packard Factory. I was not able to walk around and get any inside pictures. There is security that drives around the property for safety reasons. After this i explored the Warren area and drove around 8 mile road and around the city. It seemed fairly rough with lots of buy here pay here lots, lots of check into cash stores, and rough gas stations. I stopped to fuel up at a rough Citgo. while my buddy was pumping i had a nice conversation with 4 other people around me who were at pumps. The people were super nice and friendly, and were very helpful in telling us where to go to see everything we wanted to see. I was impressed by how nice the people were. It almost seemed like i was in the south. My next trip later that Afternoon was across the bridge into Canada to eat dinner at Riviera Pizza as recommended by yeti. The pizza was outstanding. I washed it down with a Labatt Blue. One of the best beers i've ever had. The service was good and i had a nice conversation with a semi-drunk finance professor who was there at the bar. We talked U.S gov't corruption, cars, finance, and economics. A great place to eat and great people. My buddy and i agreed it was one of the best pies we've ever had. Good Call yeti. thumbsup My Buddy Chris and the pizza complete with pepperoni, grilled chicken, green olves, and black olives. The view of Detroit from Windsor is very pretty and worth seeing. Windsor has a great little park to walk and get exercise there. I took a walk for a few miles to burn off some calories. I noticed a lot of police walking and on bikes. the place seemed very safe and family friendly. The next day i explored Mexican town, Dearborn, wyondotte, Grosse ile, Lincoln park, River rouge, Trenton, etc. This was a diverse drive. down Michigan road heading south Mexican town starts out nice across the bridge from Canada and progressively gets worse toward Dearborn. The south side of mexican town was fairly rough with a lot of Strip clubs, crack heads walking the streets, hookers etc.. That area is bustling, however. a lot of life and not much for abandonment. They have made every building into some type of store, bar, club etc. I've lived in Central America in the heart of San Salvador, El Salvador which is one of the most dangerous cities in the western hemisphere , so i wasn't afraid here but i definitely felt it was more unsafe than highland Park and west Detroit. Dearborn was a nice place, Inkster was a little hood, and small. Wayne was decent but also small. Grosse ile was very nice and upscale. Definitely a nice place to live around Detroit. Wyandotte was a decent town as was Trenton. Lincoln Park was a little rough but busy and the neighborhoods were full of people grilling out, washing cars etc. overall it was and interesting drive. I stayed in Troy and the city was very upscale, seemed very nice and safe. Birmingham was also a nice area. These areas were just as nice as any thriving US city I've been to. They were obviously growing and prospering. Not all of the Detroit Suburbs are rough. much of the suburbs are growing and nice places to live. I never felt unsafe at any point through my journey. Everyone i talked to was very friendly and kind. The people overall seemed great. Before I let Detroit i Went back to Mexican town and ate dinner at Xochimilco Mexican resturant as many recommended here. The food was pretty good. I still like a place here in Southern Indiana better, however the food was very good and the prices were great. These are my thoughts on Detroit. I wish I could have stayed a whole week and visited even more of the city. I enjoyed my time in Motor City, and I think I would return again. I apologize for the photo quality. Most pics were taking from my Iphone spur of the moment. Enjoy!
 
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MolaKule

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Good pics! Detroit was my city of birth and have visited a few times since then and have seen the ruin of a great city. About ten years ago I went to Detroit to make a technical presentation and our group went to Windsor. Great place, great food, great people, and great prices on clothing. It is a shame that Detroit has gotten to this point but I blame certain administrations for it's degradation.
 
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My wife and I may be travelling through there soon on our way to Toronto, so it's nice to see what it's like. We may have to hit the pizzeria. I have a picture or two from ~1956 where my parents stood in Windsor and took their picture with Detroit in the background - I'll have to dig them out and compare them to yours. Dad had worked for The Hudson Motor Car Company just after WW II, and had two brothers still working in Detroit at the time. Out of curiosity, what is the good Mexican place in S. Indiana? Thanks for the pics and info.
 
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Nice write up.I have lived in the Detroit area all my 58 years and would not go some of the place you visited. Consider yourself lucky seriously,it only takes a second for something really bad to happen. Highland Park is not really a suburb but a city within the city and very poor now.The Troy area is where I work and as you said very nice. I wish you had time to visit some of the wealthier suburbs further north and west of the city,or near Lake St. Clair. The amount of boats and giant homes would be a stark contrast. Most of the places you went downriver are the "poorer areas" and the contrast is startling.
 
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Nice post. I made a Detroit trip in July with my 73 yr old Dad and 7yr old son from S. Indiana. Our trip had a somewhat different theme; we visited the Henry Ford (museum & village), the Rouge F150 Plant and the Edsel Ford Estate. Fantastic trip! I love educational things and this was right up my alley. We topped it off by stopping off one night in Dayton Oh. and a trip to the Air Force Museum. Had a great time with my dad. Looks like you enjoyed your trip 👍
 
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My father's family is from Michigan - Ypsilanti and Marine City to be exact - dating back over one hundred years. In the 60's...one of the family farms was certified by the state to have been in existence for over 100 years. In fact, his mother was one of the first couple of dozen female graduates from the University of Michigan. What's happened to Michigan and the area around Detroit is sad...it tears at me having so much family history there...and its been going on for years...and most is self-inflicted. My father had a front row seat for a lot of it, and told his thoughts about it in several anecdotes which I'll share: In 1972 or thereabouts, my mother needed a new car. Being frustrated with several Detroit-built lemons and an absolutely miserable VW, my father, who absolutely hated Japan based on WWII experiences, bought a 1973 Datsun 240Z. He had business near Detroit and took the Z up there. He parked and was accosted by an out-of-work auto worker who was rather aggravated by his choice in automobile. My father had just lost a job due to the influx of cheap Japanese cameras and asked the autoworker if he owned a Japanese camera. Indeed, he did. Dad pointed out that he had lost a job due to Japanese cameras, and the whole confrontation died there. Detroit was caught with their pants down by inexpensive, small, reliable automobiles at a time when gas prices were going up and up. Detroit was slow to learn, not turning out a decent, equivalent-quality quality automobile until the late 80's / early 90's, IMHO. Same in the US camera industry. Dad was also convinced that the Japanese participated in obstructionist trade practices. He noted that the US happily imported Japanese goods with no checks-and-balances, while American goods, were barred entry into Japan. He liked to point out an example where US-made baseball bats couldn't pass Japanese "safety requirements" for import. I've never been able to substantiate that claim. I never could reconcile my father's absolute hate for Japan yet still buying that 1973 Datsun 240Z. For the record, the 240Z was a miserable automobile from a reliability stand point. The side-draft Hitachi SU carbs were a disaster, it ate clutch master cylinders for lunch and radiators for dinner, and would vapor-lock and refuse to start on any Summer day in Connecticut that was at least partly-sunny. Yet, when it was running, that 4-speed transmission was the smoothest, nicest tranny I've ever shifted, and it was so light that that 150 HP straight-six made it go like a rocket. I bet in a drag-race between it and my 1997 Ford Mustang GT convertible, it would take the Mustang. I believe that there was some arrogance in how the Big Three saw the Japanese automakers. Up to that point, Japanese = cheap, and the Big Three never saw Japan as being able to put out a quality product. Japan really surprised them. Interesting parallels between us and China and likely India right now. Right now, Chinese = cheap, India = cheap. That has already started to change...as we see Apple product after Apple product coming out of China with quality that rivals anyone's. Later in life, Dad took an interest in my younger brother's interest in Raggae music. Bob Marley was a huge Raggae star in Jamaica before he left for the US. Settling in Delaware, Marley found working driving a forklift for GM. He made more money driving a forklift for GM than he did as a Raggae music star in Jamaica. As I noted above, Dad's first job out of school as an engineer was in the camera industry - Argus Camera, Ann Arbor to be exact. One of the observations he made was that his salary as an entry level engineer at Argus wasn't too much more than a line autoworker in Detroit. The unions had so severely grasped the big-three by the neck that they ensured that this was the case. There was not a fair exchange of labor for money. Detroit ignored many lessons of W. Edwards Deming when it came to quality (and he went to Japan where they took him seriously), but how can you improve quality when the union ensures that you as a company cannot take any action against incompetent employees who are partly the cause of the low quality? In Dad's opinion, something else that killed Detroit was how the unions extracted such high wages out of the big three. Something is wrong when driving a forklift for GM is more profitable for Bob Marley than being a Raggae star. Something is wrong when an engineer from the University of Michigan isn't making much more than a line worker at GM. (Later on, Dad moved from Michigan to Pittsburgh, PA, and in his opinion, watched the unions drive steel making out of Pittsburgh for much the same reasons.) Don't get me wrong, I'm not ignorant of the abuses of labor by big business that led to the need for unions. But there came a point where the unions themselves became just as toxic and led to the demise of the hand that feeds them. Look at the rebirth of the auto industry outside of Michigan - Toyota in Indiana, Toyota in San Antonio, Hyundai outside B'ham AL - heck - the engine for my Tundra was made about 10 miles from where I sit in Huntsville, AL. Americans can build world-class cars - the difference is the power balance between worker and employer are more equal. There is a fair exchange of labor for money that isn't biased to one side or the other. I won't get into politics, but you can't ignore that either. Like with the unions and the automakers, there will come a point where the balance in unequal - where the takers are taking more than the givers can give. At that point, the givers cease to exist, and you get Detroit. The key now is how do we keep what happened to Detroit in Detroit and not let it spread? thanks, ben
 
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Originally Posted By: Mantooth
we visited the Henry Ford (museum & village)
The Henry Ford museum and village is a national treasure. Someday, I'd like to take my son and family up there. thanks, ben
 

CT8

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Detroit must have been amazing before the politicians allowed business to move off shore.
 

donnyj08

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Originally Posted By: Squirrelee
My wife and I may be travelling through there soon on our way to Toronto, so it's nice to see what it's like. We may have to hit the pizzeria. I have a picture or two from ~1956 where my parents stood in Windsor and took their picture with Detroit in the background - I'll have to dig them out and compare them to yours. Dad had worked for The Hudson Motor Car Company just after WW II, and had two brothers still working in Detroit at the time. Out of curiosity, what is the good Mexican place in S. Indiana? Thanks for the pics and info.
In the Little town of Hope, Indiana there is a Mexican restaurant called El Jefe Tonala, it is my favorite. the food is excellent. Another great one is in Jeffersonville, Indiana called El Sombrero.
 

donnyj08

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Originally Posted By: yeti
OP -- if you have no objection, i'll print your comments and pic of the pizza place, and give it to the owner. I'm glad that you enjoyed your weekend.
No objections, feel free! Thank you again for the tip, I enjoyed the food!
 
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donnyj08

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Originally Posted By: bradepb
Nice write up.I have lived in the Detroit area all my 58 years and would not go some of the place you visited. Consider yourself lucky seriously,it only takes a second for something really bad to happen. Highland Park is not really a suburb but a city within the city and very poor now.The Troy area is where I work and as you said very nice. I wish you had time to visit some of the wealthier suburbs further north and west of the city,or near Lake St. Clair. The amount of boats and giant homes would be a stark contrast. Most of the places you went downriver are the "poorer areas" and the contrast is startling.
you should go at least once! Bring your concealed weapon and explore your city. I feel more uncomfortable in parts of westside Louisville Ky, Over the Rine in Cincinnati OH and at 10th and Rural in Indianapolis than i did in Highland Park or Mexican Town, or at least equal. None of those compare to Soyapongo or Apopa in San Salvador, those places are scary...MS-13 controlled..just plain scary. Google those places thumbsup Fear can keep us from reality. I like a good reality check every once in a while. If our economy ever tanks very badly in the future it could be a reality for many more of us. Especially with the leadership in this country. I"ll leave the politics at that. Next time I go to Detroit I'll be sure to check out the nice areas.
 
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I was to a Red Wings/San Jose Sharks while my brother and I flew in for business. Amazing that the Joe' is in a semi decent area and you walk away there a lil' bit and in the ghetto. Brothers co worker that lives in te Flint MI area calls Detroit "Detoilet"
 
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A good reminder for all the "that will never happen here" crowd. Never underestimate politicians ability to destroy.
 
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Good pics OP. Thank you. That pizza looks delicious btw. We really have no gourmet pizza places locally. Indianapolis on the other hand is full of them.
 
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I was at Greenfield Village waiting for you haha. Worked out nice because the Museum was free and it was too hot & humid for the village part. Glad you had a nice weekend. thumbsup
 

donnyj08

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Originally Posted By: dlundblad
Good pics OP. Thank you. That pizza looks delicious btw. We really have no gourmet pizza places locally. Indianapolis on the other hand is full of them.
Do you have a favorite in Indianapolis??
 
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