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Dispatch / December 14, 2009

mansion

I was in Detroit to visit my girlfriend’s family for Thanksgiving and decided to take a look around. Knowing my tastes, locals told me to head for a burnt-out slum called Highland Park, HP for short, as it’s hands-down the worst neighborhood in the city. And that’s saying a lot because in Detroit, beyond the bunker that is the revitalized downtown, the whole world’s a ghetto.

If you want directions to see what happened to the American Dream in the age of globalization, go north on Woodward Avenue. When the empty sidewalks and spiffed-up ghosts of department stores give way to miles of vacant lots, piles of arsonists’ ash and ruined factories, you’ve hit your destination: Highland Park. A beaten-down man in a black vinyl coat was there to greet me. Waving his hands furiously while I drove by, the crack-addicted hustler shouted, “Right here! I got that shit right here!”

This first-ring suburb once boasted Chrysler’s headquarters, a Ford assembly plant and 20,000 industrial jobs. Fleeing Detroit taxes, Big Three executives built fancy homes here at the turn of the century. Behind six-foot high brick walls, their mansions lie unheated and crumbling. In 1908, Henry Ford’s assembly line was born here, in a 2.5 million- square-foot complex of reinforced concrete and glass.

Looking around it now, Philip Levine’s famous poem, “What Work Is,” comes to mind: “We stand in the rain in a long line/ waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.” Outside the old Ford plant—now filled with broken glass and guarded by high chain-link fences—a cluster of young dealers shiver in a cold wind, also trying to make some green. Yet Levine’s evocation of 20th century hard times in Highland Park is no match for the modern-day misery that has settled here, permanently.

“In the mid-1980s, crack just hit us like a wave,” says Franklin Gaudy, a 46 year-old lifelong resident. Crack’s legacy is felt throughout a city that offers few other opportunities of escape. Middle-aged men and women shuffle out from the bulletproofed interiors of Iraqi-Christian-owned liquor stores with their heads hung low. A dilapidated drug treatment program sits between the old Ford Plant and a newish McDonald’s. Although most of Highland Park’s three-mile-square area lies in ruins, either burnt out or vacated, a few well-kept blocks of wood-frame homes do jut out of the rubble. The remaining homeowners, fearing rampant burglaries and worse, announce themselves against the falling darkness with bursts of floodlights.

For women and children forced to pick out gifts in chain drug stores along Woodward Avenue, the holidays in Highland Park are an especially grim reminder of the outside world, as viewed through TV. The Iraqi-Christian shopkeepers are even known to indignantly upbraid customers who wish them a generic “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Highland Park is technically a self-administered city-within-a-city, but most Detroiters lump it, as one suburbanite put it, “in the mix,” with its surrounding municipality. Industrial flight introduced the population to cradle-to-grave poverty and crack produced roving zombies, but nothing has quite transformed the look and feel of Metro Detroit like arson, and its trail is particularly evident in Highland Park. Charred carcasses of what used to be massive Victorian houses riddle the landscape. Whole blocks have no homes left at all.

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Ask a white suburbanite the worst thing about the city and he’ll probably say, “Devil’s Night,” which comes like clockwork every October 30th. And there are a lot of empty houses to torch in the inner city—about 80,000, according to Forbes. Whites take it as an article of faith that roving bands of black pyromaniacs emerge from the shadows to torch abandoned houses and slip back into the trash-filled darkness. These crude racial fears ooze out of our national press corps every year, right around trick or treat time. In the October 30th 2009 Time feature, “Can Detroit Prevent a Return of ‘Devil’s Night’,” white volunteer firemen are pictured speeding through the burnt-out inner city to combat sketchily defined firebugs who are implied to be black. It’s hard to know who the perps are because they’re rarely caught. So why are whites convinced its poor blacks letting off steam? Who knows, but the whole thing looks real fishy. It reminds me of the type of shit the FBI used to get away with in the Ghetto all the time: sewing violence to disseminate fear.

An economic motive never seems far behind the flames. In 2009, after several years of decline in arson, fires burned as brightly as they ever had. Last October 22nd Highland Park suffered a five-house blaze that burned three children to death. The small local fire department blamed the tragedy on a faulty kerosene space-heater. Maybe so, but that was only one of a rash of serious fires in the Detroit Metro area last October, one of which claimed ten run-down homes on the city’s East side. Even Detroit’s own police had suspicions that speculators were behind it, using the fire as a cover to cut their losses and collect on their insurance policies.

Like many stretches of Highland Park, East Philadelphia Street has only one architectural remnant of its urban middle-class past. On Thanksgiving eve, I parked in front of number 30—a boarded-up, four-story, brown brick and gray stucco pre-War Tudor-style apartment building with ornate wings—and stepped out of my white rented Ford to snap a few photos. Twilight lent an eerie Omega Man style beauty to the quiet and abandoned landscape: high-grass covered in fallen leaves, gnarled trees, telephone poles, blackened piles of debris and not a living soul in sight.

30Phil

I had the block to myself for several minutes before a blue Pontiac with tinted windows pulled up. Rolling down his passenger-side window, the driver, a black guy in a Tigers’ cap, leaned towards me and asked, “Do you mind telling me why you’re taking a picture of that building?” After glancing at my NY Press business card, he said, “We used to have thirteen houses on this block, now there is only one left. We had a grocery store we could walk to when I was growing up.” Before trailing off, he added, “That probably doesn’t sound like much to you. It was still the ghetto, but to us, you know….”

The man introduced himself as Franklin Gaudy, a godson of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. For the next fifteen minutes, Gaudy, who worked as a caterer and was youthful-looking although deep into middle-age, took me through the recent history of Highland Park. He talked mostly about the effects of a virulent strain of crack addiction. “It used to be so beautiful here, but crack ravaged this block,” he explained. “It was just an epidemic. There used to be eleven-old dope fiends in every house.” Embattled cops seeking to halt the spread of the virus started torching homes. “If it wasn’t the police it was the people living there, or the drug dealers,” he added. In his estimation, the crack epidemic—and the fires that raged because of it—peaked in the early nineties, then began to decline. In the mid-nineties, a whole generation of sick, tired people, “started to go to the rehabs” that had become more prevalent by then.

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Even with the establishment of seizure laws, declining usage, and whole blocks reduced to ash, the cops continue to set fires, Gaudy maintains: “It’s not worth it to take people’s property for what they have here, so they just burn shit down.” At one point, another middle-aged black man drives up to tell Gaudy he’s looking for a chef to hire. During the great recession, the official unemployment rate in Detroit has skyrocketed to 30% and Gaudy, happy with his $22-per-hour from the catering hall, doesn’t bite. Asked how the current economic crisis has affected his neighbors, Gaudy says, “They about the same. People are so deep in the ghetto, they don’t know they broke.”

Highland Park is at least 95% black and has a higher crime rate per population—and is even more sparsely populated—than Detroit proper, which surrounds it on all sides. A tragic story from this burnt-out enclave spread across the mediasphere on November 19th, after an enraged 37-year old mailman named Jamar Pickney executed his 15-year-old son, who was stripped naked, begging for mercy on his aunt’s front lawn. The guilt-burdened teen had confessed to the aunt that he had fondled her toddler. When she told Pickney, he snapped. The murderer’s dreadlock-framed face became the latest symbol of “Murder City’s” endemic violence. Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp, new to the job, was under tremendous strain even before the calls from homicide reporters started flooding in. After a decade of control by state-appointed managers—the most recent of whom had just been indicted for embezzlement—responsibility for Highland Park’s tragic condition was shifting back to the elected city government.

As Yopp talked healing and “crisis initiative” at a press conference that Wednesday, the city’s largest private creditor, Detroit Edison, was sending a different message. The utility was cutting power to sparsely occupied apartment towers throughout the inner city for non-payment. Joe Pechi, a white slumlord who has recently filed for bankruptcy, owed DTE tens of thousands in back payments on Highland Park Tower, a four-story shabby-genteel building taking up a monolithic square block. Despite publicly admitting that tenants were paying their rents to Pechi on time, DTE claimed it had no choice. While the chain stores lured to Woodward Avenue’s cheap rents during the sub-prime bubble continued to radiate their neon come-ons into the gloom of Thanksgiving Eve, Highland Park Tower went dark, turning off the lights in the heart of America’s second most deserted citeis.

Metro Detroit’s privatized social services are nakedly corrupt. Even the shop kids whose vocational school had been shuttered mid-semester and the confused senior citizens trapped without bus service could grasp the message directed at Yopp and Highland Park Tower residents: pay up or freeze in the dark. Tenants, who had been given a weeklong taste of living off the grid back in September, became refugees. Frightened looking women and children shuffled into busses while television cameras caught the heart-numbing scene for suburban viewers. DTE has expressed no plans to return power to Highland Park Tower.

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Suburbanites discussing Detroit’s disaster speak from a cultural script reflecting decades of “white flight.” According to that script, the city was, as its publicity machine once boasted, a “Wonder City”—until the 1967 Riots, when ungrateful blacks suddenly turned savage. Shaped into a cohesive narrative by neo-conservative journalists like Tamara Jacoby and Ze’ev Chafets, it’s a framework that has influenced the entire country. Summing up this framework perfectly, the cover blurb to Chafets’s “Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit,” published in 1990—when another round of disinvestment rocked the rust belt—reads, in part: “Overnight, Detroit was violently jerked from an existence as a prosperous, integrated industrial center, to that of a seething ghetto.” As Rep. John Conyers frequently points out, black Detroiters hold a very different picture of the city’s decline. Disinvestment and white flight, he says, began in the early 1950s. Economic figures and census data from the 50s and 60s strongly bear him out. In 1961 Time, the weathervane of the media establishment, reported, “Detroit’s decline has been going on for a long while.”By the late 50s, Ford Motor Company fled Highland Park; whites had already been leaving for a decade. Lee Iaccoca made repeated pledges not to abandon Chrysler’s long-time home, but in 1992 the automaker moved fifty miles away, to Ann Arbor. Overnight, 4,500 people were left unemployed—and Highland Park lost over half of what little remained of its tax base.

Briefly during the sub-prime boom, the real-estate hype machine shilled the three-square mile area—with its $5,000 3-bedroom handy-man specials and rock-bottom property taxes—as an urban pioneer’s dream. Sweetheart deals lured a few chain stores, like McDonald’s and Walgreen’s, onto Woodward Avenue, which for decades had only been able to hold onto liquor stores, porn theaters, and hot-sheet motels. And when the sub-prime bubble burst, a wave of foreclosures displaced an estimated 5,000 people, bottoming out the population at ten thousand.

The meltdown also smoked the scammers out of the government. On December 9th 2009, two high-ranking officials in a powerful non-profit, confessed to siphoning off $750,000 from a Highland Park homeless shelter into former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s coffers. Kilpatrick, among other things, is strongly suspected of having ordered the hit of a stripper. Then there was Art Blackwell, Highland Park’s emergency financial manager—and Kilpatrick’s chief political adviser—who was arraigned in October on charges he embezzled over $250,000 from the half-dead city.

Now, with an estimated 5,000 of some of the poorest people in America displaced by the real estate crash, Highland Park’s future looks grim. One local church pastor recently said that the only way to save Highland Park is to pave the way for subsistence farming.

Matt Harvey writes for the New York Press.

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110 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. BenCorp.  |  December 14th, 2009 at 3:50 am

    “One local church pastor recently said that the only way to save Highland Park is to pave the way for subsistence farming.”

    You Americans are so lucky to have this oppertunity. That pastor hit the nail on the head. Dirt cheap land, services less than 10 mins bicycling away. And unlike other countries you are allowed to protect yourselves with guns. If i was a yank Detroit would be golden land of oppertunity and adventure you wouldn’t be able to keep me away from.
    (I’m not being sarcastic, Billions around the world would give their kidneys for a chance like this)

  • 2. mikey  |  December 14th, 2009 at 5:24 am

    My family attended a convention in downtown Detroit in 1966. Saw Joe E. Lewis at the Roostertail and went to a Motown live show where the whole audience sang along with every act. It was a beautiful, clean city and almost as friendly as Chicago. I’m afraid that Detroit’s fate awaits the rest of urban America as the manufacturing base disappears completely .

  • 3. Metallica  |  December 14th, 2009 at 7:28 am

    If only you could move these buildings to Brooklyn and then get rid of all the black people.

    What a waste.

  • 4. Jussi  |  December 14th, 2009 at 7:41 am

    The place looks great. I can´t wait to see the rest of U.S. turn like this.

  • 5. badnewswade  |  December 14th, 2009 at 7:57 am

    That’s the horrible thing about the system though, BenCorp – how it manages to turn wealth into poverty. And then when the system fails the crazy corrupt loons who run it blame the victims for not living up to their “perfect” social-economic model. We’ve seen it with Communism and we’re seeing it now.

    That said there has been more than talk about farming in detroit apparently:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7495717.stm

    http://www.utne.com/Politics/Detroit-Urban-Farming-Paradise-5211.aspx

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aMV8_J49diKs

  • 6. LIExpressway  |  December 14th, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Metallica, I hope you don’t actually live in Brooklyn.

  • 7. Jane  |  December 14th, 2009 at 9:10 am

    @BenCorp: I think this is the best hope for Detroit as well. You just have to be careful and get soil testing, because there are so many industrial brownfields in the city. Even so, there is plenty of usable land. Unfortunately the mayor seems to think farming is too declasse, and that something is going to make the Big Three come back. Here is a fascinating article about a woman who’s been farming in the Briggs neighborhood for decades:

    http://www.detroitblog.org/?p=941

  • 8. Tommy Jefferson  |  December 14th, 2009 at 9:21 am

    BenCorp, that’s part of Detroit’s problem. Honest, productive people are prevented from protecting themselves by Detroit’s Draconian gun laws.

    Detroit is a textbook example of how socialism increases human suffering.

  • 9. Alexius  |  December 14th, 2009 at 9:41 am

    At the moment, the DPD files gun crime that doesn’t result in death as “Assault with G”. It helps the statistics if the last two letters aren’t typed.

    Urban agriculture is starting to take hold in the shitty, but growing in the ground (as opposed to raised beds) often means all sorts of heavy metal contamination…like lead.

    The world is a ghetto, bitches, and if you wanna see the future come to Detroit. Someday all of Amerika will look like this and no country deserves it more.

  • 10. whitedetroiter  |  December 14th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Nice piece. Too many interests benefit from the horrible situation around here to have it just developed as an accident of race’s effect on the market or whatever.

  • 11. Boris Nemtsov  |  December 14th, 2009 at 10:10 am

    I think farming in Detroit is the only responsible thing to do with all that vacant land. It can’t be worth any more than $5,000 an acre.

  • 12. dogbane  |  December 14th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I’ve been following the urban farming trend in Detroit (interesting short documentary here: http://www.vimeo.com/2371774 ). One thing I haven’t seen addressed is in this context is the high lead content in Detroit soils from lead paint, leaded gasoline, and the sixteen smelters that used to operate in Detroit.

    Lead poisoning in Detroit: http://www.epa.gov/med/grosseile_site/indicators/lead.html

    Are Detroit’s soils hazardous to the health of people who grow and consume food produced there? Would this inhibit an agrarian revival?

  • 13. coxsone  |  December 14th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Check out other shots of feral houses in Detroit.

  • 14. coxsone  |  December 14th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Check out other shots of feral houses in Detroit:

    http://www.jamesgriffioen.net/index.php?/prairies/feral-houses/

  • 15. Metallica  |  December 14th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    After Rome destroyed itself, the city became a pasture, not a super-duper farming empire.

    You can’t farm on ruins. You can at best raise goats.

  • 16. badnewswade  |  December 14th, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I must say I dislike this equating of gun control with socialism. This Jefferson person and his friends need to read some Orwell and Jack London, not to mention Huey Newton.

    The people who are against gun control are whining middle class liberal pussies, NOT socialists.

    As for “socialism” being the reason Detroit has died, well, perhaps he should simply read any economic critique that wasn’t written by a rabid, right wing dingbat.

  • 17. badnewswade  |  December 14th, 2009 at 11:43 am

    WoopS! I said “the people who are against gun control”, I meant that the other way around obviously. D’oh!

  • 18. dogbane  |  December 14th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    More Detroit photography:

    Kevin Bauman’s “100 Abandoned Houses”:
    http://www.100abandonedhouses.com/

    March and Meffre’s “Ruins of Detroit”:
    http://www.marchandmeffre.com/detroit/index.html

    Amazing and haunting stuff.

  • 19. mydick  |  December 14th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Some of the photos in your article were taken in different seasons.

  • 20. Orion  |  December 14th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Tommy Jefferson, banning guns has nothing to do with socialism. And banning guns is not correlated to an increase in suffering.

    Why does life in the Wild West continue to permeate as a libertarian utopia?

  • 21. Skinner's Horse  |  December 14th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    What is America’s most deserted city? Because I honestly can’t imagine anything worse than this.

    How does America keep fooling us all into thinking that it’s a first world country?

  • 22. Necronomic Justice  |  December 14th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    @16. badnewswade “This Jefferson person and his friends need to read some Orwell and Jack London, not to mention Huey Newton.”

    I almost thought you were going to say Huey Long, there at the end. I would also add some Ricardo Flores Magón to the mix.

  • 23. badnewswade  |  December 14th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I believe the title of America’s most deserted city (in terms of empty property) now falls to Las Vegas.

  • 24. Allen  |  December 14th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Nice article,

    America is full of ruined cities, many turned ghettos, from places where the presence of good jobs once brought development as well as migration from all over the country.

    Though, crushing economic recessions aside, the growth economic liberals chirp about *has* been happening. It’s just that it has all been in terms of the wealth class getting much wealthier and, on the other hand, the 3rd world getting to be marginally less of a shithole — going from “subsistence farming” (Detroit’s only hope?) to deep industrial poverty. (Score?)

    Meanwhile the American middle class is dismantled, destined at last to face the fact it is really the “working” class. In fact, what America has been calling the “working class” are really the “working poor” — a group who has had an even worse “Reagan till now” stretch.

  • 25. Expat in BY  |  December 14th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Detroit wasn’t First World in 1990. To be honest, the photography looks remarkably the same as I remember it when I left in 1991.

    It’s amazing for the first few months, the extreme poverty in the city, extreme wealth in the suburbs, the Eight Mile Road dividing line that in places is just amazing over how clearly one side is different from the other, the islands of prosperity in Hamtramck and near Wayne State, the “Use the Force Luke” Star Wars feel of driving the Lodge Freeway from Southfield to the City Center. Then it just gets old.

    As to the farming idea, sounds fascinating, but I wouldn’t want to eat the food grown there. The powers that be couldn’t bother to make even an incinerator that would meet environmental standards as recently as the late 1980s. It’s a wasteland.

    Dream all you like, but the reality is that it would take decades of environmental remediation to do anything with Detroit but make it a place to dump the poor of southeast Michigan. Seems like a more humane way to kill them is to just shoot them all. But then maybe that’s why the murder rate has always been so high.

  • 26. Simon  |  December 14th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    @Skinner’s Horse: Assuming this article is correct, it’s Las Vegas.

    “Las Vegas edged Detroit for the title of America’s most abandoned city. Atlanta came in third, followed by Greensboro, N.C., and Dayton, Ohio.”

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/12/cities-ten-top-lifestyle-real-estate_0212_cities.html

  • 27. geo8rge  |  December 14th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    The Omega Woman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHr2mLQZUtU

    Non-global causes: Coleman Young(and other lesser black mayors), US Healthcare costs, competition from other US states (and Ontario), US military industrial complex siphoning off resources.

  • 28. timmy  |  December 14th, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    If you think food grown in Detroit would be bad, how about all the food you eat right now that’s grown in China…

  • 29. geo8rge  |  December 14th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    “Coleman Young(and other lesser black mayors)”

    Oops it was really Coleman Young and Kwame Kilpatrick. Dennis Archer was ok.

  • 30. 22andDownTrodden  |  December 14th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Here’s a fun vid showing the progression of “government unemployment figures” through the United States. Pretty difficult to figure out where the riots and high crimes rates are going to explode first…and they said the mid-west was boring. I’ll take it over being dragged out of my home and beaten do death! A quiet day watching the wheat grow sure beats defending your home from roaming gangs of day-light burglars.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WCfMQD1iTM

  • 31. Neil  |  December 14th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    My mother was raised in Highland Park in the 30′s and 40′s when it was mostly white. She graduated from Highland Park High School in 1948 and I still have her school yearbooks that show a very nice well-equipped school with healthy good looking middle-class students. I can remember visting my grandparents in Highland Park in the early sixties with block after block of well-manicured homes shaded by beautiful towering elm trees. It seemed such a serene place. The soft muffled urban noises were beautiful to my five-year old ears. Even in the late seventies, it was still a fairly nice place even though the demographic shift was mostly complete. CIA-imported crack cocaine of the eighties finished it off. I Google-Earth my grandparent’s former address and it’s an empty lot. The most puzzling thing about Highland Park and surrounding areas of Detroit is that it has been represented in Congress by John Conyers for the past 45 years while it has steadily declined from proserity to dire poverty. How can that be? How does that bum keep his job? Conyers was Bush’s boy after 9/11 and served as the purposefully ineffective designated opposition. I think his wife, Monica, once installed on the Detroit City Council is going to jail. John Conyers should probably join her. I do fear that Highland Park, Michigan may be a micocosm of the United States.

  • 32. Alexius  |  December 15th, 2009 at 6:30 am

    @25 Expat in BY: “Detroit wasn’t First World in 1990.”

    No, no it wasn’t. I lived east of Greenfield and north of Tireman in the early-to-mid 90′s and studied at WSU. Even the security bubble around the campus didn’t keep the real Detroit out. The worst of the violent crime, yes, but not the poverty.

    I can remember the last days of Hamtramack being a Slavic enclave (grandfather was a polka god), but that was gone by the 90′s too…though last time i was in Hamtramack i was thankful for being able to speak Russian when i went into a market that was signed entirely in Polish and Russian, and staffed by young ladies who couldn’t do much more than count in English.

    At around the turn of the century, Time (or Life) called Detroit the future of America. They were right. The shitty encapsulates the American 20th Century like Dickensian ghosts of urban-past, present and future.

  • 33. dogbane  |  December 15th, 2009 at 7:03 am

    “If you think food grown in Detroit would be bad, how about all the food you eat right now that’s grown in China…”

    I stopped eating anything I could identify as being from China when I opened a can of Mandarin oranges that smelled like benzene.

  • 34. gooficus maximus  |  December 15th, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I have printed out a picture of Matt Harvey and put it up on my dorm wall above my bed. Love you.

  • 35. virginia plain  |  December 15th, 2009 at 10:25 am

    HP is what happens when the ghetto mobs aren’t kept in line. If that takes jackboots sometimes, so be it.

  • 36. Sandy Millard  |  December 15th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I am an elderly woman.

  • 37. Eddy boy  |  December 15th, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Just for clarification, Chrysler moved 30 miles away to Auburn Hills, not 50 miles away to Ann Arbor.

  • 38. JF  |  December 15th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Powerful article.

    It’s a very sad and scary situation.

  • 39. Teg  |  December 15th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I wish I was Matt Harvey, but instead, I’m the square root of 0

  • 40. Catherine  |  December 15th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Yeah, if Chrysler moved to Ann Arbor, that’s news to Ann Arbor. BTW, Clint Eastwood’s last movie, Gran Torino, was filmed in Highland Park. Loved his line, “The cold is supposed to keep the idiots out.” Didn’t quite work. Although the thugs are less active in winter.

  • 41. smokescreen  |  December 15th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    $22 an hour? WTF, that guy’s rich.

  • 42. Mark  |  December 15th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    @39: Detroit isn’t cold enough. People in North Dakota say that 40 below keeps the riffraff away. They’re right.

  • 43. alex  |  December 15th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    My roommate is actually spending the next month in Detroit with a bunch of his friends who have an anarchist farming cooperative up there. Despite all the cool/radical stuff going down up there, it’s still scary as fuck (guns guns guns).

  • 44. badnewswade  |  December 15th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    My God! The place just looks like woodland from the air.

    Question: How do the scum manage to hang on after everyone else has left? Surely criminals need an economy of some sort to parasitize?

  • 45. Myf  |  December 15th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Not sure where those soggy-jawed socialism &gun comments came from, but I lived in detroit for a couple years and i’ve read as many primary sources as I can. And the people in detroit that want guns have them, trust me.

    Long before 1950, the Automakers were moving factories out of detroit proper and into the suburbs, explicitly to use Detroit’s infrastructure and not pay for it.

    Detroit is locked in the third world cycle of the people with power being in a position to lose power if things get better. It’s really up to the people themselves, but it’s an uphill battle since 50% of them can’t read at an adult level

  • 46. Myf  |  December 15th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Oh and the stuff about urban farming made me think of something my friend wrote a couple years ago that applies.

    Poor people moving to the suburbs is a wonderful idea. Turn them into projects, tear the fences down, and let them work the land to earn their stay in a beautiful ten room home. Children will be educated in small, committed classrooms within biking distance because nobody can afford to bus/drive their kids ten miles to school every god damn day.

    It will turn out to be the agrarian Marxist dream the world has been having just in time for its own bicentennial.

    And then some day we’ll have a whole class of colored agricultural elite that pops up out of fucking nowhere.

    I swear to god this will work.

  • 47. @Alex  |  December 15th, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Sounds pretty fucking cool. Keep us updated, maybe Ames will let him write about that experience. I’m not an anarchist, but shit, they’re the only ones trying in Detroit. Which is very sad.

  • 48. Mike  |  December 16th, 2009 at 12:10 am

    42. alex: Interesting. I’m starting a collective here in Chicago based on anarchist principles.

    I would like to check out some groups in Detroit…maybe soon, but at the very least try to get over there before and during the US social forum.

    The state and capitalism have failed there…it looks like a pretty good opportunity to start rebuilding without them.

  • 49. dogbane  |  December 16th, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Check out the vimeo link I posted @ 12 for a documentary on Detroit’s urban farmers. I don’t remember if they are anarchists or not, but they are working on a collective effort.

  • 50. gp  |  December 16th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Something else to consider about Detroit:
    The white suburbanites are descended of those who made the ghettos possible by redlining districts and siphoning money out of services and schools and letting black people wallow in poverty while whites became homeowners and small business owners in desired districts with the help of the government. They purposefully let a class of people suffer and now can’t seem to figure out why they’re so mad about it, or blame them for their lack of options.

  • 51. Black Monk  |  December 16th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Why didn’t anyone mention the incredible 90′s rave scene in those massive abandoned factories (such as off Grand avenue), the perimeters guarded by local gangsters keepng out alcohol while offering E.

  • 52. Black Monk  |  December 16th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    BTW a lot of American cities went into decline in the 60′s – Chicago, Cleveland, etc. But none went nearly as far, and terminally so, than Detroit. The reason? The other ones didn’t have Robert Mugabe – I mean Coleman Young – as mayor for 30 years.

  • 53. Antonio Garcia  |  December 16th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    And the picture that he took was also his girl friends family home, AHHAHA.

  • 54. Godfarter  |  December 17th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I was in Detroit last summer, just in time for morning rush hour, except there WAS no rush hour.. The place felt livable without the almighty automobile fucking things up..
    Lord Mr Ford, if only you could see, what your horse-less carriage has become…

  • 55. black light  |  December 17th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    @Black Monk
    Coleman Young appealed to his base by pretending to stand up to the man with calculated remarks to provoke white jitters. In reality, Young was The Man, or at least their light skinned black face.

  • 56. Tom K.  |  December 17th, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    It’s presumptuous for someone who’s visited Detroit for a few days, talked to a couple of people, and read some articles (probably written by people who also visited Detroit for a few days and talked to a couple of people—a source of endless amusement among Detroit journalists, my sister tells me) to say that the white suburbanites have acquired their account of Detroit’s disaster from a “cultural script”—implying of course that the “script” rationalizes and justifies their assumed racism. Why would these people need a script? Many of them lived the story.

    My parents grew up in Detroit and lived in the city until they were both about 30. My mom has talked about sitting alone on the porch of their home at night during the summer of 1967 and watching the city burn, while my dad was at night school at a local college. She sat there with my brother, who was a few months old at the time, terrified that the riots would move in their direction. They left the city a year later when I was a few months old. It broke their hearts. At the time they were living in the house my dad was born in—literally—in the city they both loved and had lived in their whole lives. They would not have left if they didn’t feel they had to for the sake of our family. They didn’t base their decision on some cultural script; they based it on what they saw happening around them.

    It’s easy to paint the whites who left as hateful racists who abandoned the black population and left them to rot in poverty. But if you really want to look at the feelings between the people, you can’t ignores the reality that the animosity between blacks and whites in Detroit was not one sided, no matter what the politically correct storyline may be. Whether the animosity was justified on either side is beside the point. For many whites who left the city, they didn’t feel that they were fleeing; they felt as though they were being driven out. Those feelings intensified when the ever-divisive Coleman Young came to power. And, honestly, it’s not like the blacks were begging the whites to stay.

    My mom gave me and my partner a four- or five-hour tour of the city a couple of summers back. We went all over as she gave us the histories of the neighborhoods, recounted personal experiences, and wove *her* narrative—a firsthand account of a life lived in Detroit, not some second- or third-hand account by a stranger. We drove through the bombed-out neighborhoods, down derelict avenues, around shabby Belle Isle, through downtown, up Woodward, and all over Hamtramck, as my mother, with a tear in her eye and catch in her throat, described what it was all like twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years ago and told us her intimate history of the city—a history not based on someone else’s mythical “cultural script.”

  • 57. mike from Arlington  |  December 18th, 2009 at 7:43 am

    What a waste of some nice homes.

    Such a shame.

  • 58. Bryan  |  December 18th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Who cares??????

  • 59. Antonio Garcia  |  December 19th, 2009 at 5:01 am

    That’s true some of those homes do look as though if you invested some money in them that they wouldn’t be that bad of a home to live in, Recently i was talking to a group of people about how if you find a home that looks run down and with out windows that there’s a good chance that the original owner may not pay the property tax any longer and that if you began paying the property tax for a few years then you could own the property, There’s a particular real estate term that they use for taking over property like that.

  • 60. Bob Whooly  |  December 19th, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Yay! Finally a story about my beloved city!

  • 61. Flatulissimo  |  December 19th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    @Godfarter -

    Just wanted to let you know that somebody appreciated your awesome Jerry Reed reference.

  • 62. Michigan Emigre  |  December 19th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Tom K. has a point: Harvey’s desire to blame Detroit’s plight principally on white racism glosses over a reality that is more complex and, yes, tragic. That’s not to say that racism wasn’t ubiquitous and palpable in Detroit and its suburbs, because, as I can attest from personal experience, it was.

    Rather, Detroit is a uniquely unfortunate city. It’s a former industrial behemoth that lacks the diverse economy of its rival Chicago, and was thus especially prone to fall victim to postwar globalization. Unlike Pittsburgh, Detroit is not home to great universities that might provide the intellectual capital for a renaissance. (Michigan and Michigan State are located elsewhere). Even Cleveland has a world-class symphony, a leafy museum and Case campus, and intact neighborhoods. Detroit, I fear, excels mainly in its ability to elect unscrupulous politicians, which it has done with great elan.

    Harvey (and anyone else interested in the tragedy of Detroit) would benefit from reading Paul Clemens’ heartfelt memoir about growing up in the city in the 1970s and 80s, Made in Detroit, or Kevin Boyle’s history of the UAW and the end of American liberalism.

  • 63. Jakareh  |  December 19th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Bencorp,

    Just out of curiosity, what pathetic armpit of a country are you that you would consider Detroit a land of opportunity?

  • 64. Technomad  |  December 20th, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Basically, Detroit fell victim to being a one-industry town that drove out its one industry. Blame the almighty UAW, along with the idiotic, self-defeating rioters and the welfare/ghetto culture.

  • 65. debbie  |  December 21st, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Farming the area would be a great idea. But is the teeming useless people going to be the ones doing it? Of course not. So what happens to them when the few effective people start farming and have their whole crop stolen by hoards of human shaped locusts because the welfare checks were not enough?

  • 66. Metallica  |  December 21st, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Maybe America would be a better place if we stopped looking for someone to blame when things go to shit and start thinking about a solution for things going to shit everywhere all the time?

  • 67. Bor  |  December 21st, 2009 at 9:17 am

    It is our future for every large town.

  • 68. adolphhitler  |  December 21st, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    @59…its called adverse possession and it works!

  • 69. proletariat  |  December 21st, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Man, there’s a lot of racism in these comments.

    I thought I was at exiledonline.com, but it seems I’ve stumbled onto the comment section of kkkalamaba.org

  • 70. Expat in BY  |  December 23rd, 2009 at 4:45 am

    69. Proletariat

    Sadly, Detroit is racism embodied, so it’s hard to be “politically correct” about the city. Though it’s a wasteland, it is also one of the few places where race relations (read: differences in color of skin, since DNA-wise racism is all artificial anyway) can be most easily improved to make an impact on the country and internationally.

    Would I expect that to happen? Probably not. I’ve not read anything that suggests the corruption of the officials, the desparate anger of those in the city, or the grudges held by those in the suburbs have decreased any since I was last there. And the environmental issues are not going to go away until both sides of Eight Mile are willing to ccoperate.

    Until then, I wouldn’t expect any serious investment to come to Detroit. With no prospects, living there is really just slow death. (But then when I was last there, death almost seemed a romantic notion. That popular notion, for there, too probably hasn’t changed.)

  • 71. fastfrank64  |  December 23rd, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    harvey’s column lost alot of credibility because he’s not a Kone wearing the Klansman liKe me: truth according to him is hp cops were the home arsonists- what a bunch of unproven shit! as a teenager i caddied at the golf course in palmer park in late 50′s- great heighborhood. the riots ruined hp- it became a toilet in the 60′s. not whites fault, what has conyers done for his district ? he’s been washington forever- what has he accomplished ? just another self-serving black politician from detroit. gee, can we say coleman young, kwame moron, moncon, martha reevas, and the tiara queen ? hp and detroir got what they deserve – they live in a shithole they created at the expense of all the good people of detroit ! there’s a special place in hell waiting for all you bottomfeeders….

  • 72. fastfrank64  |  December 23rd, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    I LOVE YOU ASSHOLES! i didn’t believe that censoring could be so good and includes totally changing content and injecting your fucking great views! i love liberal assholes like you even worse than the right-wingers. so raise this up your flagpole and then stick it up my ass ! what a great accomplishment – altering free speech …. YOU UNBELIEVABLE FUCKING ASSHOLES ARE GREAT ! let me jerk you off

  • 73. Joe Blow  |  December 24th, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Frank, you are reaaly fast… and stupid.

    and ugly.

    I am sure that dislike between races has been a factor in most of these types of issues…

    arson, looting, overcharging, discrimination,

    crime, rape. and I doubt it was all the UAW’s fault….

  • 74. proletariat  |  December 24th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    God, I’m glad Frank is going to die soon.

    Just a shame he’ll probably do so peacefully instead of blindfolded and puffing a camel.

  • 75. az  |  December 27th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Watch for the upcoming nonfiction bestseller, “Niggers and Communism: The Demise of Detroit” by fastfrank64.

  • 76. mr. mike  |  December 28th, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Allegedly (and I read this at Sam Smith’s Progressive Review) the plan for Detroit is to become a city of “villages” with the abandoned zones bulldozed over and allowed to become forrest…Detroit was a city of 2 million; now it is down to 600,000. BTW, Philadelphia is in a similar situation but the pockets of abandoned buildings (mostly factories, warehouses, and boarded-over rowhouses – even an abandoned pier jutting into the Delaware!) are all over the city so demolition just doesn’t happen. And as most buildings are brick, there is no tradition of house fires.

  • 77. whatevz!  |  December 31st, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Will someone please explain to me why Exile’s writers pussyfoot around all matters nigger-related? You guys hold no tabboos whatsoever around every other subject but when it comes to niggers you just get all stoopid, I mean f’rea! Grow a pair and stop pandering to some pre-existing demographic. You can admit that niggers are overall a violent and stupid lot while at the same time believing that part of the fault of this is rampant capitalis, and that everyone deserves the basic human requirements of housing, food, medical treatment, etc.

    You can support Obama while being cognizant of the fact that he aint quite the negro median when it comes to IQ.

    You can admit the fact of divergent evolutionary histories that produced divergent biological results with regard to matters beyond skin color and cheek bones while supporting the essential and EQUAL humanity of all people.

    Fuck, I do all these things all the time and all my adult life.

    It’s only when encountering chickenhawk pussies like you that I start throwing the “fuckin niggers” bit around so as tpo show you how fuckin pussified you guys are that you can talk about vaginal insertions like the most mischevious of teenagers but are wholly loyal to the true tabboos of the day – admiting to serious, biological, racial distinctions at their median points.

    me

  • 78. Alex_C  |  January 7th, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Dee-troit just needs some hardworking, well-armed settlers. Designate it a special zone, open carry not only allowed but encouraged, local hands-on enforcement of simple laws treated with a cavalier attitude if they’re even taken to court at all, which would be a waste of time.

    Translation: Thieves, burglars, muggers, so on, just shoot ‘em. Gangs can be hunted down and disposed of. Put a bounty on drug dealers. All the things we know need to be done. I’m not talking about race here, I’m talking about behavior. The wrong behavior gets you a lead enema.

    Instead, Detroit will be settled again and will be a beautiful area, but after things get so bad that the power of government recedes and what needs doing can be done.

    I assume Benco is in England, which is an armpit of a country.

  • 79. Dr A O reddy  |  January 9th, 2010 at 2:47 am

    The only prescription to reverse damages of globalisation is to produce food and other services of livelihoods through manual work without any machine.Then everybody will have work and secured livelihood. this is a model which thrived well in India till the year 1980 and got destroyed with invasion of westren culture.

  • 80. robert chambers  |  January 9th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    It’s so obvious there are a LOT of jobs in demolition, clearing the place, so get to work! Heavy industry isnt coming back to north america, and certainly not to Detroit. It doesnt matter what you think (or I think) of globalization. Heavy industry is gone. All you can do about it is tear down all this abandoned crap.

  • 81. wow  |  January 11th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    @badnewswade

    american “capitalism” is communism by another name. with luck, things will crash and burn sooner rather than later. if western civilization doesn’t collapse, the whole world will get sucked into the totalitarianism of ‘social policy’

  • 82. robert chambers  |  January 12th, 2010 at 2:57 am

    dear #76, philadelphia isnt even remotely comparable to detroit.

  • 83. brooks marcus  |  January 21st, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I must say I went to the auto show last weekend and I was shocked at the condition of that city. WOW! That place is hit hard! Very sad…

  • 84. Noah De La Garza  |  January 24th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Rasicm was the down fall of Detroit and you all know it , And guess what it’s just a matter of time before, the money vultures come back to snatch up prime real estate sold cheap!!! MORE PARKING LOTS to make
    (QUICK MONEY). They used race to play every Detroiter for there own personal gain and developements. Where’s the major department store chains??? Cant make any money there,
    MORE PARKING LOTS!!!! Downtown Detroit was once beautful all four seasons of the year. Now greed and coruption in this once beautiful Downtown has become just what the money vultures have been waitng for. MAY THEY ROT IN HELL!!!!!Wake up across 8-mile there are many beautiful neighborhoods in this city, where people take care of there properties, WHITE-BLACK-HISPANIC, If you so called self-
    righteous christians would stop looking at the race issue! And by the way it would be a blessing to have an extra acre of land adjacent to any home in Detroit for a rural atmosphere. So i say tear them down and give me that land and i will transform it into a beautiful landscape!!! Yes we have burned out homes and yes we have crime. So whats new. IF YOU DONT LIKE DETROIT STAY OUT!!!! I can assure you, you wont be missed

  • 85. PinkFloyd  |  February 8th, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Metallica, i think that oart of the reason cities like that end up the way they do is because of how much hate there is in the world… like damn, people… love each other.

  • 86. Denise  |  February 19th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I know this post is a few months old, and I don;t know if any-one wil read my words – but there they are:

    Stop blaming blacks. It’s bedwetters like myself who are the real problem. We are sad pathological bedwetters. We imagine that blacks destroy EVERY place they infest. I wish I could take personal responsibility but I can’t so I blame negroes for all our problems.

    White Racism is simply self-esteem therapy. Of course – the one tragic, horrific mistake that Whites make is to ignore me and assume they shouldn’t listen to a bedwetter. STOP it.

    It’s THEM. The Negroes.You can’t fix “Negro”.

  • 87. Pim Delfgou  |  April 10th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I saw the carnage in Detroit when I passed through at the end of the Christmas holidays. I live in Elliot Lake, Canada, a city of 12000 where the uranium mines that drove the local economy closed in the 1990′s. Elliot Lake did fare much better than Detroit in bringing retirement living and secondary industry, and filled nearly all the abandoned homes with new residents and rehabilitated them. The local economy is doing well now with two new mines plus secondary industry. However, there are still some abandoned stores and an “Urban Prairie” across from where I live, complete with an abandoned apartment building – a small reminder of what I saw in Detroit.

  • 88. lisa  |  May 11th, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Denise. I think you’re right. It’s hard to look at ourselves in the mirror and see how we constantly blame and hate. Why do we hate anyways? We need to put all that aside and move in a different direction. I was just in Detroit yesterday and I noticed that amongst all of the burned out homes and abandoned buildings there was a lot of green space. And there are people gardening. Maybe that’s a start.

  • 89. Bradley J. Greene  |  May 25th, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Wow SO much mis-information in the article as well as the comments… Chrysler moved to Auburn Hills NOT Ann Arbor, The ruins of Highland Park are NOT Victorian… and the Victorian houses shown are in Brush Park (a neighborhood in downtown Detroit) with all the negative attention we have gotten lately was this article really necessary? I live and work in Detroit and if you are going to guise this as an informative piece, at least “inform” your readers, instead of misleading them.

  • 90. FPL  |  July 17th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    What happended to Mr. Bond and his News ?

  • 91. nichole  |  September 3rd, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    We do have farming in Detroit and for some people that is the only way to give themselves and their kids fresh vegetation . # 84 u r absolutely right u racist people and haters stay out of the city bcuz in the end u will only hold it back from reaching its true potential its time we handle this mess for ourselves since no one is goin to take care of it for us we need to find other ways to bring the city back bcuz the auto industry is long gone and probably never returning and if farming is the way to do it then by all means lets do it and. turn this city around and show all of these people that believe we live in third world world like conditions that we can come together no matter what race and make this a place that had survived thru hard times and rose from the ash to strive for something better come on fellow Detroiters it is time to do 4 self

  • 92. Paul S  |  September 25th, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    The pictures are great. The bleeding heart “analysis” however is so inaccurate, as to be laughed at. This is a sarcastic parody, right?

  • 93. Robert  |  October 18th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Actually the whole collapse makes very little sense at all. Corruption at it’s heart, did slum land lords run down the are on purpose so they could buy up the remaining properties on the cheap, only it got out of control as too many slumlords also jumped in.
    As for turning into farmland, we all know what that bull is about. Kick everyone out, buy it as cheap farm land and wahoo subdivide and sell it as a low commute safe inner suburb, 1000 percent profit for the corrupt insiders.

  • 94. Who_Is_John_Galt?  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Seems like the farming is a good thing, whether it wins or not. It was a good comment above about “the only ones who are trying.”

    As our economic collapse continues and spreads across the remnants of the middle class, redistributive government will be resisted. It will become clear to all that self-reliance is the only way.

    There is some solace that when America is poor enough, big industry actually can come back. As people cease to pay others not to work, and as people are more desperate, wages will fall and all the laws which artificially inflate the costs of doing business will be wiped away. It will eventually be cheaper to pay Americans to produce the things we buy from overseas, rather than paying foreigners to produce them while ALSO paying Americans NOT to produce them, inflating the costs.

    Further, the federal government will lose control soon when it finishes destroying the currency. This is very real. We are borrowing 40 cents on the dollar to fund government. Very soon, no one will lend, and the only way to fund government will be to print money. The government checks will clear, but a hot dog will cost $35 in no time. At which point, money will lose ground to barter, and the struggling people will ignore the yoke of laws and taxes as the starving ignore the taboo of cannibalism in a lifeboat. Natural law will reassert itself, shrugging off the artificial constructs that only a boom of wealth and imprudence allow.

    It is sad that such pain is needed to make real change, but history shows it to be reality. As for who to blame? Don’t blame capitalism. Real capitalism is what will return when government is cast off. The problems, usually blamed on capitalism, are actually abuses of capitalism. When big business, whether union or management, co-opts the lawmakers to subbvert the free market, that is not capitalism. It is fascism. And the US is full of it, long has been. When individuals are free, and have no way to put food on the table except to produce something that someone else wants to buy, THAT is capitalism. And great, though inequal, amounts of wealth are produced. When people use the force of government to compel others to purchase things (over priced cars, senseless wars, sexual harassment training, etc) they don’t want, at artificially high prices, you have fascism. The pie shrinks, because a whole class lives as parasites by force rather than producing. And great booms and busts result. Far greater than any in a free market. Add to that the manipulation of the currency, and voila! The USA.

    Restore freedom. Vote Libertarian. Support freedom and property rights.

    We can rise again.

  • 95. Harry  |  November 29th, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Soon, Detroit will be getting 25 miles of new freeways. And a proposed one percent sales tax to pay for these.

    See savethefueltax.org

  • 96. Tabrian  |  June 6th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    wow… lots of comments…

    here’s mine:

    YO Fucktards talk is all well and good, but doin somethin is the only way to change things…
    as per the uber fucktard(s) who wants to get rid of all the blacks… someone needs to shoot your stupid ass. it’s not their fault our ansestors made them slaves and brought them here in the first place; so shut your hole!

  • 97. philter  |  July 31st, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    @smokescreen
    “$22 an hour? WTF that guys rich”

    First off, maybe I just got trolled… but $22 an hour is barely scraping by. I make about that much at 40 hours a week and Im still in college at U of M and live with my dad. Minimum wage doesn’t pay rent in Detroit or elsewhere, regardless of how much crack you smoke. If you make 22 an hour you can survive, but you got nothing extra after rent, utilities and food. Its just sad that the big three had to die because they gave their employees a fair wage and benefits. The average employee working for a foreign automaker or supplier earns about half as much as their domestic counterparts. Buy the foreign cars, ruin detroit and soon the american dream entirely. I hope that when you’re driving your toyota, u think about the americans who lost their jobs so you can have a shit car and pay shittier employees half as much.

    I believe that most suburbanites near “The D” (“The D” is definitely Detroit, not Dallas) would agree that they love the city of Detroit and want to help. But there isn’t much to be done until said suburbanites stop fearing the city, embrace it, and once again make it the place to live work and play. Go tigers!

  • 98. Victorian  |  November 8th, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I have never been to Detroit, but I love Victorian anything. If they can’t restore any of those properties and or houses instead of demolishing them they could take all the materials and recycle them, meaning use them to rebuild something else. There is lots of bricks they could use and all the fancy woodwork, lighting fictures, marble, tiles and on and on. That’s all reusable stuff.

  • 99. James  |  January 17th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    The writer of this comment is an idiot white power troll. It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to realize why Highland Park is a shithole. White power flight and urban sprawl.

  • 100. Stephen  |  January 22nd, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I love blacks

  • 101. Lifelong Detroiter  |  February 21st, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    This piece is so full of erroneous statements, I don’t know where to begin.

    I’ll pick a few:

    You cannot absolutely state that Highland Park is the worst neighborhood, hands down. Detroit and Highland park cover well over 150 square miles. Anyone who has been in Detroit for more than a day knows of more decrepit areas. Try stepping out of your car at Palmer and Chene, I dare you.

    - 30 Philidelphia is not Tudor nor does its exterior have stucco and it is well over a half-mile south of Highland Park, in Detroit. This area is near the epicenter of the 1967 riots.

    - Any contemporary middle-aged person (such as Franklin Gaudy) could not possibly remember Highland Park in its prime.

    - White suburbanites regarding Devil’s Night as the worst thing about Detroit? Maybe in 1980something.

    Absentee (out-of-state) real estate speculators deserve as much blame for Detroit’s present state, especially downtown. Our spectacular collection of early 20th century apartment buildings are forever lost only because absentee landlords bled them to ruin.

    Driving through Detroit and daring to step out of your car a few times does not give you license to write an authoritarian piece. I have met too many people who have garnered a cartoon-like image of what Detroit is from reading pieces like these. Please don’t do this again.

  • 102. Walter Ring  |  February 28th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    The cause of all this is simple: CRACKERS, CRACKERS, CRACKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 103. Son of Delray  |  March 13th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Dear Carpetbagger Journalist,

    We all know how bad things are in Detroit. What did you do when you were here to help make things right?

    “Now, with an estimated 5,000 of some of the poorest people in America displaced by the real estate crash, Highland Park’s future looks grim.” Seriously? NOW? Where were you thirty or fifty years ago?

    Thanks for nothing.

  • 104. john monto  |  January 5th, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I stunned by the racist comments. When I read this stuff I want to ask what High School you dropped out of. Under achievers are famous for blaming their problems on minorities. You can’t be successful in life because some black person had done you wrong? America is a great country with some serious problems, for sure, but we won’t improve things by pointing hateful fingers or guns at our problems.
    Maybe we should just admit that we need to start from scratch and imagine the world we want and then create it. It has to start with a conversation based on hope and forward thinking, not on hate and it’s all your fault thinking. Please, people. Think before you speak. Read some books. Stop using socialism and communism as your only talking points. It’s more complicated than that. We are all the same, we just come in different colors. We all want our families to be safe and well fed. We all want security and prosperity and equality, and we all feel pain and loss equally. That is a fact. The problems in our country are not caused by poor people, socialism, or blacks. they are caused by too few people with too much money and power disregarding the needs of the many for the wants of the few.
    Gordon Gecko was wrong. Greed is Not good.
    Nor is racism and finger pointing. The idea that there is not enough to go around is complete bullshit. If you don’t believe me then check out Sheldon Adelson and his billion dollar fortune made by running gambling casinos that take advantage of human weakness. His money could help a lot of people but he sends it all overseas to avoid taxes and the money sits quietly while the world suffers. Greed is the problem, not the Niggers you speak of, you ignorant fools.

  • 105. Chelle  |  February 4th, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    An Australian here, not impressed by the racism! Shame America has become this way because of some small minded people being nasty to the blacks over the years that they have become angry! I don’t blame them! They have never learnt to be accepted! So its about time people gave them support and helped them, as this is ONE whole world, no one owns a country, we all own the world so be nice to each other.

  • 106. A. S. Mathew  |  November 3rd, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    While coming to the U.S. from India as a student in 1971, when the London-Montreal-Chicago flight was over Detroit, the pilot said ” we are now flying over Detroit”, I was greatly fascinated and looked down at the city which I heard as the automobile capital of the world in my younger days. I have seen in my younger days, only cars and trucks made either in England or U.S.A. While reading the most deplorable economic crisis of Detroit, it is indeed very depressing, as if watching the sinking of a ship with mental agony.

  • 107. solomon sidney  |  November 19th, 2013 at 6:38 am

    please i want information on how Detroit is now. i also want information on present percentage of slum dwellers in United States. Also various places in U.S. where slum could be found, for change of face is about to come. You can send your information to my Email: vibrant4real@yahoo.com. thanks for your understanding. One love brothers, peace must return.

  • 108. Scott Severin  |  November 19th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I was going to comment, but being an inbred white trash piece of dick cheese that I am, I had to take a break to let Uncle Jethro park his pecker in my poopie, and now I plum forgot what I was gonna say. Shucks.

  • 109. john mccandless  |  January 5th, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Where are the editors/fact checkers. Chrysler relocated to Auburn Hills, not Ann Arbor. Also, Lee Iacocca was still CEO of Chrysler when they moved out of Highland Park.

  • 110. Rust  |  September 6th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    OK, here it is, crime is what killed Detroit. A beautiful city of Art and culture, But crime, drugs, and violent blacks are what killed the city. I can remember playing on Alter Rd. Walking down Beaconsfield, and visiting my grandfather on Alma. By 1982 we were afraid to visit and for damn sure were out of the city before sundown. After sundown Blacks controlled the streets and would shoot or rob anyone they came across. Drug dealers infested the parks, and areas around them. White people left because of CRIME. All the welfare spent went to giving them time to sleep all day and loot, rape and sell drugs all night! Welfare is the problem, And crime, Well shoot the drug dealers, gang members, and anyone out after 3am unless they are driving. People hanging on the corner at 3 am are up to no good. Race is useless, unless you follow up on the people that are causing the trouble, no good people do no good things, and that has to go to see the city grow again.


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