Toby Barlow
The Huffington Post

 You may know this already, but the one thing I've learned since I moved here is that many, if not most, of the people who identify themselves as being from "Detroit" have really no idea what Detroit is like. That's because they really live in, say, Novi, Warren, even neighboring Redford, and haven't explored downtown in years. Holding onto mythologies perpetuated by a hysterical press over the past quarter century, they cling to the belief that there are no grocery stores in the city (we actually have 115) and still ask me where I get my dry cleaning done (for the last time, I get my dry cleaning done at the dry cleaners.) They've been to the Fox, to Comerica Park, and maybe waited in line at Slows, but they haven't been to MOCAD, Astro Coffee, D'Mongo's, Good Girls Go to Paris, Le Petit Zinc, Supino's Pizza or any of the other places that have popped up over the past half-decade.

People will say, "Oh it's not like it was," they'll say they can't bear what happened to Detroit, but they're simply blind to the possibilities of the present. Nostalgia for an old bygone Detroit is fine, but it's not relevant to what is happening on Michigan Avenue, on Woodward Avenue, and in Eastern Market right now. It's great that you still know the Faygo song, but do you know about the College of Creative Studies' massively incredible new Taubman Center? Who do you want to be? That guy hanging out at Starbucks sporting a Mark Fidrych t-shirt who has no idea where Cliff Bell's, Honest John's or the Russell Street Deli are (that last one's on Russell Street, by the way) or do you want to be really, actually, honestly, 100% from Detroit?

The lack of knowledge comes from a very specific history. The last two or three generations got out of Detroit during the enormous boom years, leaving the city limits for the American dream of a suburban house with two cars in the garage. In their wake, they saw Detroit go through an enormous upheaval of poverty, extreme racial division, and abandonment. The problems seemed too huge and too intractable so, out of frustration, they simply stopped looking. When they turned their back on the city, their children and their grandchildren did the same.

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