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        July 21st, Once more around the sun

It's been so long since I posted that anyone who ever checked this in the past has probably given up. Apologies for that - very long book chapter to write (thanks to OFOTM for moral support!). However that's now done so hopefully I'll poke my head out from under the pile of books and papers and have a look around see whether the city is still out there. The one thing I'll say straight off the bat is that the extended riverwalk rocks, but most people haven't found the section between Jos Campau and Mnt Elliot - check it out.

In the absence of photos here's to checking off another year (thanks for the note H).



        June 9th, Extending Detroit

The Freep this week had a lot of forum discussion on the Extended Riverwalk. Some were putting down the renovation, citing either crime or the general decay of the near downtown areas. But a lot of people were positive about this as the city's future. Andy over on AbsoluteMich wrote in his blog that in an era of dwindling natural resources tourism is the one resource that Michigan can recycle endlessly. This truly is a beautiful state. And Detroit could be at the heart of this emerging industry, drawing folks in with its rich history, fabulous art-deco buildings (Fisher, Penobscot, Guardian etc), Museums (DIA, Greenfield, HF, African American history, etc), Parks, (~Casinos~), Festivals and new features such as the Riverwalk.

But the flip side here is we make this city what it is. Belle Isle is littered with glass from liquor bottles thrown out of car windows. The vacant lots off Atwater and in Brush park are accumulating trash from fly-tippers. Drivers even open their car doors, while driving, and throw trash out onto the street. The Riverwalk is currently pristine - a gift from Detroit to itself and its visitors. The question is open as to whether Detroit is ready to lead Michigan as the focus for tourism. I guess if the RiverWalk is equally pristine in 12 months that would be a big tick. Fingers crossed, but it is up to us.



Detroit Rivard Place Carousel
A Dreamy moment at the newly opened Rivard Place Carousel




        June 1st, Summer Roles in

Temperatures head into the 90s, overnight the temperatures only dip into the lower 80s, summer is well and truly here.

If you're looking for a new bike to spend time on over the summer, let me make a recommendation. B3 (website) in Grosse Point have a great extended warranty deal at the moment. I bought my Specialized from there back in November. The winter months are slow but it's still pushing up through 1,700 miles on the clock. I took it into B3 for a look over and guess what ... (this rocks) ... they checked it and noted the rear view mirror was bust as was the front light. These they replaced on the spot. Then they told me the rear derailer was screwed up and all the cabling needed ripping off and replacing. 'Bring it back in some day when you can leave it for a few days' they said. And the price of all this work was to be ... nothing!

The extended warranty covers all parts and labor for 5 years! Now I normally put a bike through about 6,000 miles in a year and they generally don't last past that, basically everything wears down and it becomes uneconomic to keep one going past this. But the guys at B3 (and importantly their insurance company) are going to try and keep this bike on the road for 5 years. As the guy in the shop said to me 'You're going to take us to the cleaners'. One sweet deal. Check it out!

Summer roles in, only one place to be - Belle Isle.


Detroit Belle Isle
Scott Fountain Belle Isle. The wealthy Scott left his entire fortune to have this fountain built
While magnificent it does make you wonder ...


        Late May, The Fisher Building

A chance to explore...


Detroit Fisher Building
Built in 1928 for $9 million, this masterpiece of Albert Kahn's design was created for the Fisher Brothers (Frederick, Charles, William, Lawrence, Edward, Alfred and Howard)
whose body company had fed the expanding general motors empire. Located opposite the new center complex home to General motors' headquarters, the original
intent was to have 3 grand towers. But all too soon the great depression curtailed plans and a single grand tower complex was built
(with additional material from the larger complex used to construct the Albert Kahn Building).


Detroit Fisher Building
The Guardian and Fisher buildings are detroit's two grand Cathedrals to commerce, competing in art-deco superlatives.
Whilst overall the design was that of Kahn in his flamboyant mode, additional design was provided by a number of artists
including most notably Parducci and the craftsmen and women of Pewabic. Here's just a taste of the wonderful ceiling.


Detroit Fisher Building
The exterior of the building is richly adorned with themes reflecting industry, commerce and agriculture.
Topped by the radio mast of WJR, the roof was originally a shining gold until WWII when it was
removed as too obvious a target for bombing (main transept looking North-South).
From the basement to upper stories are banks, shops, businesses, surgeries and radio stations (3).
The social centerpiece however is the grand Fisher Theatre in the majestic marble Lobby.


Detroit Fisher Building
The upper floors command views in all directions, here looking east across Cadillac Place
(formerly the New Center) towards the Fisher Body Plant


Detroit Fisher Building
A chance to step out onto the upper levels of the stonework.


Detroit Fisher Building
The lavishly paneled lobby of the 24th floor. These were the offices occupied by the Fisher Brothers with their own private
elevator. Further privacy was achieved by a mezzanine level (stair on the left) that allowed access
between the offices without the need to enter the public lobby.


Detroit Fisher Building
The body of the building is a warren of tunnels that though more austere nonetheless give an impression of scale!


Detroit Fisher Building
Then back down in the second set of elevators into the tunnels and service areas connecting the new center buildings.
Here the curved wall reflects the layout of the theatre above


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