I spent the day walking around downtown Detroit looking like an IRL hearteyes emoji. Michigan was home for 9.5 years of my life but it's been at least 20 years since I've had a chance to visit the city. I parked at the RenCen and walked north, up Griswold, to Clifford, then over to Woodward, and on up to the Majestic Theater, returning south on the QLine. The beauty of the city, whether in decay or in renewal, has always captivated me. Detroit, ILUSM.

Renaissance Center

The Renaissance Center, designed by one of my favorite architects, neofuturist John C. Portman, has been watching over the shores of the Detroit River since 1977. It's been through countless remodels (even as we speak) in attempts to soften and brighten Portman's brutalist inclinations and appeal to a broader public. Somehow these cosmetic surgeries never quite work, in my opinion, but her harsh beauty still manages to shine through. The building has recently been rebranded as GMRENCEN on account of GM being the primary tenant. 

That's Windsor, Canada, on the left, and the Ambassador Bridge in the distance.

One Woodward was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki in 1962 as the headquarters for the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. Originally known as The Michigan Consolidated Gas Building, it was his first skyscraper, and he used elements from this design in another pair of famous buildings which are no longer standing: the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. 

At 500 Griswold you'll find the Guardian Building. If you think art deco is only Miami pastel you're in for a big surprise.

Read more about the history of the Guardian Building here and here.

Detroit takes hotdogs with chili, a.k.a. coney dogs, very seriously.

Capitol Park

Capitol Park is where you'll find, among other things, Urban Bean Co. I stopped here on the recommendation of a young woman working at the Guardian Building's Pure Detroit shop and wasn't disappointed. The cold brew was top notch. I need to research the history of this building because it's super quirky and has obviously lived many lives.

That's Sam. He poured my cold brew for me and we talked for a bit about Detroit.

That's Sam. He poured my cold brew for me and we talked for a bit about Detroit.

I had to get back out of the city before afternoon rush hour so I could meet my parents for dinner. The final images, below, were all taken on Woodward during my hurried walk up to the Majestic Theater. I used to hang out there every Friday night in the late 80s when the only way to enter the place was through a hole knocked out of the back wall near the stage. It's gotten a bit fancier (and safer, I assume) over the years. I'm happy to see it's still standing and in business.

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