Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Event Starts at 5pm and runs through 1am
KIDS’ DROP at 6:30pm
“The Drop” will also take place at Midnight!

Campus Martius Park

This event is FREE for the public.

The fourth annual Motor City New Year’s Eve “The Drop” will be hosted on December 31, 2013 in Campus Martius Park. The free community event, sponsored by Opportunity Detroit and Bamboo Detroit, will take place from 5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. and will include a unique Detroit-themed ball drop. Entertainment throughout the night will include DJ Tom T and the band The Strange. In addition to entertainment, attendees will be able to ice skate in the park and enjoy s’mores and other concessions.

New to the event this year, due to popular request from families throughout the region, will be a family friendly Kids’ Drop at 6:30 p.m., for those that want to bring their children out to experience this special event. This year the ball drop will come down from the Chase Tower, which faces Campus Martius Park, with the historic Penobscot and Guardian Buildings providing a breathtaking backdrop. Also new this year will be a food truck rally, featuring Detroit-area favorites such as the Mac Shack macaroni and cheese, Rolling Stones wood fired pizza, and more. Fountain Bistro will be having specials running throughout the event, multiple beverage centers will also be placed around the park that will have drink tickets, $10 for two beverages.

*Please contact us as we have parking blocked off at Campus Martius for Media.

For more information also visit: www.MotorCityNYE.com

"Make Your Money Matter" is a grassroots campaign introduced by 8 credit unions from across the country and PSCU that aims to educate a new generation of consumers about the wealth of benefits credit unions provide over big banks.

 To learn more about the benefits of joining your 
 Local Credit Union, click here

*This post is sponsored by Make Your Money Matter, in association with PSCU, though all views expressed are my own.*
Inner Circle Greenway Map
Construction is scheduled to begin next year on a number of projects designed to make roadways in the Detroit area more bicycle-friendly.

A focus on safety is part of what is driving the expansion of biking infrastructure in the area, the Detroit Free Press reported. Warren, Detroit, Ferndale and the Grosse Pointe communities are among those planning significant projects. In Warren, for example, the right lane in both directions of a more than one-mile stretch of Van Dyke will be converted to a bike lane with help from a $292,000 grant. Mayor Jim Fouts said it is a worthwhile experiment, although he knows some drivers might complain.

“I’m willing to take a chance. I’m a strong believer in outdoor activity,” Fouts said. Bill Gambill, Warren’s neighborhood services and grants coordinator, said a traffic study showed that seven lanes aren’t needed in that area. He said five through lanes and a turn lane should be enough for the volume of traffic on that portion of Van Dyke.

A 26-mile loop through Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park called the Inner Circle Greenway is expected to get funding for acquisition of more property. Bike lanes are planned on Detroit’s east side. And bike lanes also are planned in Ferndale.

In the Grosse Pointe communities, road signs and bike racks are planned. In addition to local efforts to build bike lanes and paths, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Michigan Department of Transportation are looking at bicycling in their regional non-motorized plan for the seven-county region.

The plan in part will analyze existing and proposed on-road and off-road bicycle facilities. Barbara Teranes, 73, of Grosse Pointe, has been an avid bicyclist since she was a child, riding in Michigan, other parts of the U.S. and in Europe. Teranes and her 77-year-old husband, Paul Teranes, are members of the Easy Riders Bicycle Touring Club.

“The more people we have riding bikes, the safer it will be for bike riders,” Teranes said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


But despite the bankruptcy, crime, urban desolation and despair, a different story is emerging. Slowly, the Detroit phoenix seems to be peeking from its very substantial ashes. Slowly, the Detroit phoenix seems to be peeking from its very substantial ashes.

The lunchtime walk from the MGM Grand is weird. It’s cold, there are no cars. It is reminiscent of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, where everyone stays inside — only the crazy or naive walk. Across the Detroit river is Canada. The smokestacks and stacked aerials are the perfect setting for a Springsteen song.

But at 1555 Broadway Street, just across from the Detroit Opera House, a once-famous building has become the lodestone for the city's regeneration, a coworking space that houses startups — even a company known as Twitter.

The M@dison Theater was originally built in 1917 and was crumbling away until it reopened in 2011. It was purchased by Dan Gilbert, the chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, the largest online retail mortgage lender in the U.S.

This followed Gilbert’s decision to move his Quicken Loans family of companies and 1,700 employees to Detroit in 2010. The M@dison’s purchase is part of a longstanding future commitment to the city.

“The Madison building project is another step in the … vision for a technology corridor of growth … in the heart of downtown Detroit," said Gilbert at the time of the M@dison’s opening. "This historic building will be molded into an exciting center where young entrepreneurial enterprises will collaborate, innovate and build the kind of 21st century businesses that our new economy in Detroit will be based upon."

In the interim two years, Gilbert’s vision has more than come to pass. Through Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity of Gilbert’s portfolio of companies, the company now owns more than 40 downtown properties, totalling nearly 8 million square feet. (Interestingly, one of those properties is the newly opened Greektown Casino.) Gilbert-owned businesses employ more than 11,500 people in the city.

Even on a bitterly freezing day, the M@dison building is impressive. Much of the original materials were used in its rebuild. Exposed steel beams add an industrial effect, and original graffiti graces the walls of the formerly abandoned site. There is also a cool rooftop area and a large event space, as well as the mandatory coffee machines and community games area.

The M@dison building has not only created a coworking space for tech entrepreneurs, its influence has become a household name: "the M@dison Effect." It's a phenomenon in which companies that have grown too big for the M@dison have moved into nearby offices. Block by block, Detroit’s tech scene is reviving a great city. Even Google moved in.

Click HERE for the full story! 
Detroit's Midtown neighborhood is reviving in the midst of the larger city's decline.

The streets outside Avalon Bakery in Detroit's Midtown are a snowy, slushy, mostly unplowed mess, and all these customers want to do is pay for their loaf of Motown Multigrain or Poletown Rye.

But Detroiters are a gracious, if weary, bunch. So when they see yet another reporter sticking a microphone in their faces, asking what they think of all this media attention, they answer politely.

And even if they're not always crazy about the way their city is portrayed, no one argues with the fact that Detroit had a newsworthy year.

"Whatever bleeds leads," says Jeff Reid, who moved to the area to take a job at Ford. "People like to show the dilapidation and the poor parts."

"It actually isn't surprising that the media has put so much attention on Detroit. I just wish it was positive," says Leslie DeShazor.

"It's become the stepchild city everyone likes to make fun of," says Jonathan Rajewski. "Everybody's done it — everybody's made fun of Detroit."

Its former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was sentenced this fall to 28 years in prison for corruption. It's officially the biggest city in American history to file for bankruptcy protection, which it did this summer. And on CNN, food personality Anthony Bourdain compared its aesthetics to those of Chernobyl.

'The Most Pivotal Moment'

But Detroit's story is not just about astonishing corruption and dystopian landscapes.

There's also renovation — proven by a Whole Foods in Midtown, which opened over the summer to great fanfare. As the first Whole Foods to open in the city, it's part of the up-and-coming, hip, more affluent Detroit.

In the past year, this neighborhood and a few others have seen remarkable revitalization. Big companies are relocating downtown, bringing thousands of workers to the city's core. You can now find boutiques. New bars and restaurants. Nightlife. People.

Nancy Kaffer, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, is grabbing a grocery cart at the Midtown Whole Foods. She's picking up ingredients to make cookies for friends who are helping her move from the suburbs to the city proper.

"Our new cliche for Detroit is it is a tale of two cities," Kaffer says.

Kaffer says the fact that Detroit's story is so complicated makes it all the more fascinating: "Every year that I've been covering the city, we always say, 'This is the most pivotal moment; this is the biggest turning point in the city's history.' And it's always true."

Making Things Work

In large part, Detroit is the poster child for distressed cities. Its problems are bigger, its scandals more spectacular, but fundamentally they're the same problems facing dozens of cities. So how Detroit deals with its financial mess, as it strives to stem its decline, is something a lot of people are interested in.

"I would call the last year a cleansing year, and the beginning of a renaissance, says Reid, at the Avalon Bakery.

When he first moved to the area, he lived outside the city, "because I thought I'd get killed if I lived in Detroit," says Reid.

Then he visited and fell in love with it. He moved here a little over a year ago.

Click HERE to read the full article! 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Locals call it the " Dan Gilbert effect," the recent buying spree of commercial buildings in downtown Detroit by the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans.

Now the phenomenon appears to be spreading.

Despite a fiscal plight that forced the city to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection five months ago, the real-estate market has been picking up in Detroit's downtown core. Mr. Gilbert has led the charge by buying dozens of properties and moving in 3,800 of his employees from suburban offices and creating another 6,500 jobs downtown since 2010, according to the company.

But lately, other investors have begun buying trophy buildings and starting to develop apartments to meet the rising demand from workers who prefer downtown living. City officials estimate residential occupancy downtown is 97 percent.

The projects show that some real-estate investors are looking beyond the bankruptcy to an eventual rebound in Detroit. They are hoping that property values and rents will rise due to the region's resurgent automotive industry and the expansion of its medical community and nascent technology industry.

The city's economic development arm forecasts almost 1,000 new residential units coming on line downtown over the next five years. Next year, developers are expected to complete the renovation of the 19-story David Whitney building to house a boutique hotel, apartments, restaurants and a bar, city officials say.

The real-estate firm Schostak Brothers in September announced the planned construction of a 16-story office building for $111 million to house Meridian Health Plan, slated to open by 2017. The building would be downtown Detroit's first new high-rise since 2006. Company officials weren't available for comment.

In October, Dongdu International, known as DDI, paid a total of $13.6 million for two of Detroit's better-known buildings, including the former home of the Detroit Free Press, now slated for a residential conversion. The Chinese company is now under contract to buy a third, 10-story loft-apartment building for $2.77 million, an attorney representing the company said this week.

And just last week, the city's downtown development authority gave preliminary blessing to a proposed $450 million sports-and-entertainment arena backed by the Illitch family to house the Detroit Red Wings through a mix of public and private funding. The plan includes another $200 million in private investment for residential, retail and office space across a 45-block area.

Click HERE for the full article!


An under-the-radar city getaway that's closer (and cooler) than you realize

Why Go Now: A hip, new, cultural- and design-savvy Detroit is emerging from what remains of Motor City. Some compare it to hipster Brooklyn because of the microbreweries, coffee shops, organic bakeries, guerilla farming, forward fashion boutiques, and funky cocktail spots popping up all over town. Art is a big draw these days, especially as talk continues about whether the world-class Detroit Institute of Arts will have to sell off important works to pay Detroit's creditors. If you're interested in more avant-garde work, check out the many new gallery spaces, or the Heidelberg Project, a blocks-long outdoor art project where the houses are the works of art. Beer aficionados tout the quality and diversity of Detroit area microbreweries, while foodies love Detroit for its innovative new restaurants, and for the feast of artisanal food and local procedure that takes place every Saturday morning at the Eastern Market.

Insider Tip: Detroit's renaissance means there are festivals and special events most of the year, so plan to get out with the locals. Friday Night Live! is the weekly celebration organized by the Detroit Institute of Art, with music, workshops, and food. Every third Thursday, venues all over town stay open late with openings, exhibits, and all sorts of programs. Also of note: JetBlue is set to introduce a new direct Boston-Detroit route in March 2014.

When to Go: Late spring, summer, and early fall are the most popular time to visit Detroit, when the weather's fine and you can rent a bike to tour the city. Winters tend to be cold and less hospitable, with sudden snowstorms.

Plan Your Trip: Start planning using Fodor's Detroit Travel Guide. –Caroline Trefler

Click HERE for the full article!

Grand + Woodward Holiday Shop Kicks Off Today!

Pony Ride

Lots of rust belt cities boast of a burgeoning start-up economy, but entrepreneurship may face its greatest test in Detroit, a city battered by the auto industry's struggles. Start-ups are growing, what with cheap downtown office space, abundant talent, and "Made in Detroit" grit. The city has a dozen venture funds, and high-rise loft apartments beckon to software engineers. But downtown dwellers live among a soaring homeless population, and new tech companies sit down the road from three casinos, part of the city's regrowth strategy. The city is plagued by abandoned buildings and an exodus of residents. This gallery showcases that ongoing economic tug of war.­


A 30,000-square-foot warehouse designed for artists and entrepreneurs. One tenant is Veronika Scott, whose Empowerment Plan hires homeless women to make coats that double as sleeping bags. Rent: 10 cents to 20 cents per square foot Test Case: Developer and designer Phillip Cooley sees it as a study of how the foreclosure crisis can positively affect communities.


Quicken Loans founder and homegrown businessman Dan Gilbert's entrepreneurship accelerator, with 37 start-ups in its portfolio. Number of Local Ventures funded: 18 per year No Time to Lose: Bizdom hosts three accelerator sessions annually.

Broderick Tower 

Once one of the most notorious abandoned buildings in the country. A local consortium started a $53 million residential redevelopment in 2010, creating loftlike spaces for young professionals. Occupancy: 100 percent In Demand: Five days after the building’s opening, all 124 apartments were leased.

Click HERE for the full article!

Holiday Merriment & Market

Support local small businesses this holiday season

What happens when Ponyride hosts an annual small business holiday shopping event?

It starts a new trend called "Hot Pink Friday"!
(Hot pink because it's the color in Ponyride's logo. And we are a creative community)

This Friday, from 5-10pm, come eat, drink, and be merry. Shop handmade and edible goods from over 50 Detroit businesses while you tour the 30,000sq.ft. space of Ponyride.  Its a multi-floor holiday shopping experience where you'll be sure to find a few more holiday gifts for those on your list.

Come support the best of Detroit's creative community on Hot Pink FridayDecember 6th, from 5-10pm

DateFriday, December 6, 2013
Location: Ponyride, 1401 Vermont St, Detroit 48216

Participating Businesses

Abberations*      Anthology Coffee*      Batata Shop       Beard Balm*      Beehive Recording* 

Chain Chain Chained        Chez Chloé      City Girls Soap      Clay and Cloth     Craine & Jonson  

Curiously Lovable      Cyberoptix Tie Lab      Detroit Bulk Company      Detroit Cuff     Detroit Denim* 

Detroit Rose      Detroit SOUP*      Detroit Surf Co.      Dirt Label*      Edible WOW*   

Empowerment Plan      Floyd Table Legs     Friends of Detroit & Tri Counties      Gem Bakery    

Gentle Giant Detroit      Heavy Metal Boyfriend      Humons      Hunt & Noyer Woodworks     

Kathy Leisen      Line Studio Detroit*      MotorCity Skateboards*      Nicole Helegda Photography 

Order & Other*    Paul Karas Designs*     Pilar Cote*     Ponyride*     pot & box     Purifoy Collection* 

reFINDware      Sister Pie      Smith Shop*      Social Sushi      StickRmada      Stukenborg Press*  

TAKD design      Tender Moments      The Alligator Factory      The Green Pen      Trish's Garage

 Winner's Circle*     Wolf Moon Juice

*Ponyride Tenants
Ted Balowski, Joe Posch, Nick Gorga.  Hugh's Grand Opening. 

A new city guide iPhone app says it can garner all sorts of information about a place -- including the general happiness of its residents -- by analyzing millions of photos posted on the social networking site Instagram.

The free Jetpac City Guides app, launching today, undertakes a pixel-by-pixel examination of the contents of millions of photos to convey particulars about restaurants, attractions and more in 5,000 cities. Among the secrets it says it can divine from examining Instagram photos: bars women love, hikes only locals know about and dog-friendly spots.

But more about those happy cities and how Jetpac determines happy places vs. more down-in-the-mouth spots. One word: smiles. In analyzing millions of photos of people in various places, it awards a "smile score" based on the size of the smiles in Instagram photos.

The No. 1 smiling city, according to Jetpac: St. Louis, Mo., followed by Kansas City, Mo., and Columbus Ohio. In fact, seven of the 10 smiling-est cities are in the Midwest, including Detroit, at No. 9.

Click HERE for the full article! 

"Make Your Money Matter" is a grassroots campaign introduced by 8 credit unions from across the country and PSCU that aims to educate a new generation of consumers about the wealth of benefits credit unions provide over big banks.

To learn more about the benefits of joining your 
Local Credit Union, click here

*This post is sponsored by Make Your Money Matter, in association with PSCU, though all views expressed are my own.*

The 41st Annual Noel Night will take place on Saturday, December 7th from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area. Over 70 institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Public Library, amongst many others, open their doors to the public free of charge during this Cultural Center-wide holiday "open house." Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre, and dance groups. The evening’s festivities culminate with a community sing-along on Woodward Avenue led by the Salvation Army Band — a long-standing Noel Night tradition.

Noel Night activities take place in and around Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center institutions, primarily between Cass and John R and Kirby and Willis. Free shuttle service is offered between participating venues. Convenient parking is available in area lots.

 Noel Night is produced by the University Cultural Center Association, a nonprofit community development organization that supports economic growth in Detroit's Midtown district.

Call 313.420.6000 or visit http://midtowndetroitinc.org/events/noel-night/noel-night for additional information.

Unless you were born yesterday or just moved here from Brooklyn to open an art studio, all Detroiters should know who Mort Crim is. Even if you weren't around during his heyday, you should probably pick up the White Stripes' "Elephant" album and listen to "Little Acorns."

Crim anchored the nightly news on WDIV alongside Carmen Harlan from 1978 to 1997, where he retired. But before landing in Detroit, Crim anchored Philadelphia news broadcasts with Jessica Savitch, the tragic reporter whose career was cut short after a fatal car crash in 1983.

Click HERE for the full article!