When you think of areas in Detroit, the two that automatically come to mind are Downtown and Midtown. Corktown is one that is not brought up as much anymore. It is on the edge of Downtown and Mexican town. Its borders are: Interstate 75 to the north, the Lodge freeway to the east (M-10), Bagley and Porter Streets to the south and Rosa Parks Boulevard (12th Street) to the west. Although Rosa Parks Blvd. may have the western border, some still include the Michigan Central Station and other sections still a part of Corktown.
Corktown was first settled in the mid 1800s by Irish farmers who were at the time going through the Potato famine. They moved here and most were from the County Cork, hence the name, “Corktown.” Over half of the residents by 1850 were of Irish descent. Many would serve in the Civil War and as the 20th Century approached, Germans began to move into the area. The district used to be larger, but with the completion of the Lodge freeway and I-75, the district became smaller. Most of Corktown is residential, but the area along Michigan Avenue is mostly commercial.
The area that is on the rise is the commercial area along Michigan Avenue. There are already many businesses along the strip that have been there for awhile and are thriving such as: PJ’s Lager House, Nemo’s Bar, Hoots on the Avenue, the Corktown Tavern, and the Detroit Athletic Company.
There are buildings in the Corktown that have been sitting for a long time, but now are finding new life. Slows BBQ has revitalized an area at one point was super busy, thanks to the Michigan Central Station. Slows BBQ opened in 2005 and has since won many awards, ranking as one of the top BBQ joints in Michigan. It sits right across the street from the MCS and the block that it sits on has helped the buildings take new life.
The building that currently houses Slows BBQ was too small as so much business was coming through, that it moved next door, taking over a former Real Estate Agency Building. O’Conner Real Estate moved two doors down next to Astro Coffee and LJ’s Lounge. O’Connor has been around for more than 40 years and decided to invest in Detroit recently and Astro Coffee just opened up this past summer and LJ’s Lounge in the past year.
One building on the same block is a former Pawn Shop, next to The Sugar House has been empty awhile, but is looking at redevelopment and a new use. As first reported by Curbed Detroit, the former pawn shop was bought by several businessmen, Phil Cooley (owner of Slows BBQ), Toby Barlow (author and local celebrity), Ryan Cooley (Phil’s brother), Meghan Cooley (Ryan’s husband), and Brian Boyle (co-founder of Model D Media).
The plan is to turn the former pawn shop into a restaurant. It has not been said yet what type of restaurant it will be. Above the brand new addition to Slows BBQ, a brand new Bed and Breakfast is almost ready to go and it will be called Honor + Folly. It was so popular, it’s already booked.
Directly across the street from the Slows BBQ block is a former coffee shop, called Mercury Coffee Shop. The former sign still hangs there, and up until recently had paper covering the inside of the windows, which allowed no viewing into the building. That’s pretty normal to not see in abandoned buildings in Detroit but this was different. It looked as if something was going on, and it’s true, the building was being renovated. It may not be like the Broderick Tower, but it’s being turned into another restaurant. It will be called the Mercury Burger Bar and will open in less than two weeks. David Steinke and Dennis Fulton are the owners, which will also serve breakfast.
Another building, a bit farther down, towards the Downtown area, another former pawn shop was just recently bought by Joe Misfud and his partner Bryan Brincat. It is directly next to Nemo’s Bar. The plan is to turn it into an Italian restaurant and be ready by sometime in the next year.
These are just a few of the renovations currently going on in the Corktown area. Michigan Central Station is a whole different beast which we will feature in next week’s article. The revitalization of the Corktown area is giving Detroit something else to be proud of. Although it still has a long way to go, Corktown can be something it never was, a neighborhood with a vital restaurant scene, businesses galore and safe neighborhoods. To check out more information on the Corktown neighborhood, go to Detroit.curbed.com
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
By Chris Zadorozny
Inside Detroit came about because 2 people saw a need for something and they did something about it. They saw a need for a space where people could get information about Detroit, where people who wanted to learn more about Detroit’s past could. That’s how things happen in Detroit. People see where there are holes in the system and then fill them.
The same thing is happening right now, 6 years later, Inside Detroit is growing. We’ve expanded our space and we’re now cohabiting with a new, just starting up, non-profit, The D:hive.
“The D:hive will be a non-profit partnership that will help individuals connect with information and resources relevant to living, working and engaging in Detroit through the direct assistance of a D:hive team member. D:hive team members will act as “air traffic control” for many institutions, programs and projects that wish to serve, assist and partner with new Detroit residents”
Thursday, December 8th was the D:hive’s pre-launch party at the Madison Theater Building.
They asked for help pollinating the D:hive. Over one hundred fifty people were able to come out and share ideas on nine different resource questions that the D:hive is working on to assist individuals wishing to live, work and engage in Detroit. The questions were
1. Welcome to Detroit What information/resources exist, and what is needed to help individuals get to know Detroit?
2. Partner & Parallel Initiatives In Detroit, what efforts/entities already exist that the D:hive should know about, understand and possibly partner with?
3. Real Estate Information What residential and/or commercial real estate information is needed for those new to Detroit?
4. Retail Recruitment What essential retail is missing in Detroit?
5. Data Everyone Needs What data exists to assist newcomers to Detroit? What else is needed?
6. Innovator Profiles What other Detroit Innovators should be profiled and connected with?
7. Project Build Classes Please share names/contact info of individuals with project ideas who may need help writing their plan.
8. Grow Roundtables Please share names of existing urban innovators who may be interested in small monthly problem-solving gatherings. What specific topics should be covered/presented to assist existing urban innovators?
9. Job Postings How can more attention be brought to great job opportunities in Detroit?
The D:hive is located inside Inside Detroit, they ask that you come into the space and add your opinions to the boards. The goal of all these boards is to see what people are talking about.
Jon and I worked Table #1, Welcome to Detroit, and it was amazing to see what people knew about and what they didn’t. We split our boards into two different sides, one was what resources do people need to get to know the city, and one was what resources already exist to help people out?
The D:hive and Inside Detroit both invite you back into the Welcome Center, located at 1253 Woodward, to continue the conversation. The reason we want your feedback is so that we can make this the most complete list anyone has ever seen. We know that when only a few people are heard, voices get left out, and that’s not what we’re looking for, we want to incorporate all of your ideas, thoughts, and hopes.
So stop in, check out the 60+ merchants that are selling things in the Welcome Center. Then step back into the D:hive and help us make a better Detroit by sharing what you know!
Come and help us fill the boards!
Social Media / Marketing for Inside Detroit
The other day I sat in the Inside Detroit Conference Room (if you haven’t seen it yet, it sort of looks like a fish bowl), and as I stared outside I watched the rain turn to snow. I moved to the front desk after our meeting and watched more and more snow fall, but not stick to the ground. And as I left the Welcome Center at 6pm, I noticed the Trees in the Hudson’s site.
I walked to my car, brushed the snow off the window’s, not much there, but enough to make it hard to see out the back windows. The I turned left on Library, left onto Clifford, stopped on the corner of Clifford and Woodward for the light. And I’m not sure if you’ve seen the window display’s in Tall-Eez Shoe Store window, or in Oslo’s windows, but they are filled with christmas tree’s with the light blue/white Christmas lights on.
There are two Christmas Tree’s in front of Somerset’s City Lofts, with the same blue/white lights on it.
A beautiful way to see the city. The snow flakes on the Woodward street lights lit up with the same color lights as those window trees. The city is in sync, the holiday lights match.
So how does this relate to you? Well, if you haven’t been downtown in a while then you should go and check it out. It’s a side of Detroit that you haven’t seen before. It’s bright, sparkling. It’s a whole new Detroit. The streets seem brighter, cleaner, newer, and most of all you can tell that the lights have brightened the spirits of the people of Detroit.
What winter in Detroit means to me is friends that are willing to brave the cold. I know that no matter how sick you are, you will have friends from all over the city offer to bring you meals to make you feel better. I know that I can ride my bike any where in the city and be safe. I know that I can go to most bars in the city and talk to the owners. I know I can start a conversation with any one sitting next to me, because they are here for the same reasons I am, to get out of the house.
As the thunder starts to roll on another Detroit evening, rain starts to tap on the windows, I sit here and hope against hope that it does not turn to snow. I long for summer when I can ride my bike without looking like the kid from “A Christmas Story”. I long for the Detroit summer with its hot gusty winds, the summer smells in the city, the sounds of Tigers games echoing throughout the city.
Writing like this makes me feel a little “Sex and the City”, but what can I say, I love Detroit. I don’t have sorted affairs with men, I can’t afford Manolo Blahnik’s, even though I’d really like too. But I do love my city. Detroit to me has everything I’m looking for. It has a gritty and amazing past. Someone posted a comment to my last post “Speak to your family and no matter what your ethnicity, you will find Detroit as part of your families historical DNA.” Detroit’s past is something that never ends. It has that of the old world, gossip, intrigue, the rise and fall of greatness… Detroit is the American version of Rome. We have Michigan Central Station, they have the Coliseum. I used to read Russian history books, Russian history is a real life soap-opera. I didn’t think America was old enough to have the intrigue that Russia did. But here I sit, surrounded by a remarkable history, that I’m reminded of every time I shepherd a tour with Inside Detroit. Every time I learn something new. Ask me about the Scott Fountain.
Detroit has a gritty present, we’ve been plagued by corruption, exodus, failed mass transit, you name it, we’ve had it, recently. But we’re combatting it. Now, right now. The people in this city, my friends, me, we are here making the city a better place. Making events, restaurants, stores, things, we’re making things happen here. The buildings that have been left behind are empty, blank, cheap and ours to make whole again. The Woodbridge Pub, was once a liquor store, could you tell? I have watched The Bronx and Motor City Brewing Works grow, The Park Bar and Cliff Bells get remodeled. The opening of City Bird and The Bureau of Urban Living and then watched that change into Nest… How amazing to be able to watch things grow, change, reinvent, and then do it again.
and the future will be what we make it.
Watching the lights pop up on Woodward, the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the general amazingness of the holiday season in Detroit, put me in an unusually good mood for the cold weather.
As the photo says, And then they lived happily ever after. Won’t you be a part of that happily ever after?
hoping you enjoy the weather.
We received an email and wanted to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy, and please share your stories too!
I married my best friend, Garrett Menzel, on Saturday, October 22, 2011! He is a wonderful man, he is an awesome step-father and the best partner a woman could ask for. We met at a Super Bowl party on Sunday, February 7, 2010. I was not going to attend due to the fact I was sick. However, something “pulled” me to the party. I spent 75% of the party talking with Gary. We started dating immediately after that and have been inseparable ever since. He proposed to me at Iridescence in Motor City Casino-Hotel on Saturday, February 6, 2011. We completely enjoyed our dinner that evening as well as our stay at Motor City Casino Hotel. As we planned our wedding, and honeymoon, we decided we would wait to see the Detroit Lions’ 2011-12 schedule. If there was a home game near our wedding date, that was where we would go and stay Downtown for a few days. As it happened, they did have a home game on Sunday, October 23, 2011. Our plans for “Honeymooning the D” had begun. We then purchased a Groupon for Small Plates, Finn & Porter and Coach Insignia. We reserved a corner, king room at Greektown Casino-Hotel. As we told people our plans there was a mix of responses, from REALLY??!!! WHY??? and WOW! That is awesome! As our wedding date grew closer, we became increasing excited for our “Honeymoon in the D”.
Sunday, October 23, began with two of our friends joining us for the Lions game. In the 3rd quarter my husband saw the “wedding present” I set up for him “Happy 1 day anniversary” up in lights on the jumbotron. After the game we met up with my new sister in law, Sandy. She took us to Cliff Bells for a drink to celebrate our marriage (and to “drown our sorrows” due to Lions loss to Atlanta). She then took us on a tour of “must sees and must dos” within Downtown Detroit. We ended with dinner at Vicente Cuban Cuisine Restaurant. We were off to a wonderful honeymoon!
We checked into Greektown and enjoyed the nighttime view of Detroit! Out our window was the Blue Cross building with its pink ribbon lights. The other buildings that we could see were beautiful and made us wonder about their histories.
On Monday we proceed to ride the People Mover around and then ended up back at Endzone Restaurant in Trappers Alley for breakfast. We then went to Avanti Press for a tour and to pick up some greeting cards. This was not a planned part of our excursions, but it was a lot of fun and very interesting! For lunch we went to Hudson’s Café. It was a flood emotions for me, as this was a place that my mom and I would frequent when I was younger. My mom has been gone 8 years. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was modern yet comfortable. We went about stopping in a few stores and buying I <3 Detroit shirts for our children. I rested for a bit in our room and Gary gambled in the Casino (he broke even lol).
For dinner, our two-day anniversary, we went to Coach Insignia at the Renaissance Center. The view was amazing and we enjoyed watching the sunset. This was our second trip to CI and we will not be returning.
On Tuesday we set out for brunch/ lunch at Small Plates. They were not open when we arrived so we proceeded to Simmons and Clark Jewelers. Gary purchased a charm for my bracelet to commemorate our honeymoon. We then went to Small Plates to eat. THIS WAS AN AMAZING MEAL! The service was almost as enjoyable as the food! The staff congratulated us (everyone, including the manager). They even gave us a complimentary dessert, their chocolate chip cookie and ice cream and caramel creation, DELICIOUS!!
After lunch we stopped next door at the Detroit Brewery for a taste of beer. I am not a beer drinker and the bartender was very attentive in helping me choose one to my liking. We bought souvenirs for our “home bar”.
We proceeded to walk over to Inside Detroit and read some literature and looked over the merchandise.
We retreated back to our room for rest and gambling again. On the agenda for Happy Hour was Roast. We enjoyed an hour of drinks and appetizers. For dinner we went to Finn and Porter. Again, this was an amazing meal and experience! The service was terrific. The food was absolutely delicious and cooked perfectly. They treated us like VIPs. We spent 2 hours there, by our choice, and enjoyed every minute and morsel.
We spent our last night at Greektown by enjoying the view from our room.
We have shared our experiences with our friends and families. There are outings already scheduled for our return.
When Detroit was in its golden age, Merchant’s Row was the place to be. Merchant’s Row is now known as the Lower Woodward Historic District. It runs from Grand Circus Park in the north, to Campus Martius Park in the south. It’s not very large, just three blocks long, consisting of 31 commercial buildings.
As mentioned in the second article of this series, when talking about the Somerset CityLoft, the historic district was the largest in the country and the busiest in the 1920’s.
The intersection of State Street and Woodward Avenue was the biggest (most congested) pedestrian crossing in 1925.
We’re going to dig deep and find out what really was there and what is being done to revitalize what was the best shopping district in the city.
Merchant’s Row flagship stores were the J.L. Hudson Department Store, Vernor’s Soda Fountain, Sanders Confectionery, the S.S. Kresge Company, and Kern’s Department Store. The J.L. Hudson Building, which is now just an empty lot, was the tallest department store in the world.
It was 33 stories high and had 2.2 million square feet of retail space. It was where every Detroiter went to shop Downtown. The building was demolished in October of 1998 and the lot has been empty since. The only thing that exists is an underground parking structure.
For 13 years, nothing has been talked about for the site until recently. Dan Gilbert, mentioned a couple of articles ago, is looking into the site and has requested a longer tax break for it. It currently has a tax break until 2017.
If Gilbert gets his way, which has happened frequently with the purchase of many buildings downtown, it will become a space that will hopefully get used again. His tentative plan for the site, or so the rumors go as of now, is that it would be a mixed use building of retail, office space, restaurants, and residencies. There is no firm plan in place to start building, but at least there is speculation for the former Hudson’s site.
The Kern’s Building was directly next to Hudson’s and the Compuware Building now sits on the site. Kern’s was another department store in Downtown Detroit, not as popular as Hudson’s but there was something that made it stand out from the others: its clock. The big saying back then was, “Meet me under the Kern’s clock,” as it was so busy that if you were under the clock, people knew where to find you.
Vernor’s was the pop of city. It has been around since 1866 and had a flagship store on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Clifford Street. Detroit is still known for Vernor’s but the flagship store on Woodward no longer exists. Tall-EZ Shoes now sits in the original spot where the drug store was. Sanders Confectionery was the ice cream of the city like Vernor’s was the pop of the city. Sanders original confectionery was right across the street from the Kern’s Building. Sanders now only has a handful of stores left in the Metro-Detroit area, but is working on building their once successful empire back up. A parking structure now is built on where the former flagship store was.
Finally, the Kresge Flagship store was located across the street from the Hudson’s store. Kresge is now known as Kmart, but back then was yet another department store that Detroiters shopped.
The original headquarters was located in Grand Circus Park, but the department store was in the small little corner of the world that was the busiest in 1925. The building is not what it once was, but it’s on its’ way. The former flagship store for Kresge now has a restaurant and a few shops.
Somerset CityLoft is also helping to revitalize the area. It was a bunch of shops from Somerset Mall in Troy, making mini-stores out of a couple ground level floors just off of Clifford Street on Woodward Avenue. It started something great, only one weekend a month from June-October. It looks as if the mini-stores succeeded as they will come back for the Christmas rush. They will be open December 1, 2, and 3 from 11am-7pm.
There are still many empty buildings in the former Merchant’s Row, but with the revitalization of the area, they probably won’t sit empty for long. Dan Gilbert and Somerset are leading the charge for the area. Don’t be surprised if this area once again becomes the heart of Downtown.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny
Detroit was a growing city, the fastest, in fact during the Roaring Twenties. As Detroit grew and became one of the largest in the country, the city needed something to solidify it as one the best cities in the country too.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade, as it is now known, was the answer. The parade, which began as the “J.L. Hudson Thanksgiving Day Parade,” brought in people from all around the Metro Detroit area from 1924 until 1979, when the J.L. Hudson Company could no longer put forth money to make a profit.
It was then that the Detroit Renaissance Foundation took over the parade for four years, before transferring it to the newly formed Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation in 1983. Finally, The Parade Company took over in 1990 and has since held the rights to the parade, re-naming it America’s Thanksgiving Parade.
Since 1924, the parade has grown larger with each year. In its first year, the parade only had four bands, 10 floats, and a small number of people dressed up in large heads. Today, it draws over one million people downtown. It is the second oldest parade in the country, tied with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and just behind the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.
During World War II, in 1943 and 1944, the parade came to a halt to help the war effort. In 1942, the last year before they stopped the parade, the balloons, floats, and anything rubber had signs on them stating, “I’m on my way to the Rubber Salvage.” All of the giant animals and other balloons were sliced up behind the Hudson’s Building after the parade and went directly into the war effort.
When the parade returned in 1945, over 200,000 people came out to witness the first parade in three years and they were rewarded with over 600 characters, eight bands, and 75 clowns, including Donald Duck, the Toy Soldiers, and the Wizard of Oz.
It’s obvious that children are the main audience of a parade, and in 1948, the Rotary, Board of Education, and Legal Division of the Detroit Street Railroad combined to bring over 650 handicapped children in 20 buses to the parade. For the kids, Santa is the main attraction and seeing him brings a smile on every kid’s face.
For Hudson’s, it was important to be the biggest name out there to market the Toyland, which was located on the twelfth floor of the building. In 1958, Hudson’s began a contest for students to design floats for the parade and the winning design actually had their float built, which still continues today. The first ever winner of the float design was 10 year old Carol Kulesza.
The parade has also been broadcast live nationally on television, first in 1948 locally, then on NBC in 1952. As the parade became more nationally known, CBS wanted to broadcast it live but Hudson’s had a contract with ABC. CBS did air it even though it was threatened with a lawsuit in 1959. The national coverage ceased to exist in 1988, but resumed back in 1999.
One other aspect of the parade is the Turkey Trot, a 10k (6.2 mile) race before the parade starting usually around 7:30 or 8:00 am. This year it starts at 7:45 am, for its 29th year. There is also a 5k (3.1 mile) race and a one-mile fun run. Last year it drew over 17,000 runners and they welcome all ages. There is a costume contest and when registering, you receive a number bib, timing bib, and a pullover with the logo. This year, officials are expecting 20,000 runners, which is their limit.
The current parade route starts at Woodward Ave. and Mack Ave. in the Midtown District and moves south down Woodward Ave. ending at Congress St. This was the first route taken back in 1924 when the parade started. It has had to change courses over the years it has existed, though. It will take the same route this year on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24. It will step off, as they say, from Mack Ave. and Woodward Ave at 9:05am.
America’s Thanksgiving Parade is a great event to attend and it doesn’t cost a dime. It’s totally free and if you get a good spot early on Woodward Ave., you will be able to see not only the runners run and cheer them on, but you also get to see a great parade. Make sure to dress warm, bring some hot beverages and snacks, a couple chairs and blankets, and you are ready to go.
It is such an historic event, even if you aren’t a kid, the enjoyment of seeing the different floats, bands, and people and the holiday cheer the parade brings won’t disappoint you.
Next week we will look at the buildings in the Lower Woodward Historic District, as well as what is being done to them to revive the area that was once the busiest in the city.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny
Detroit, MI, November 17, 2011 Holiday events and market hours. Christmas and New Year’s day fall on Saturday this year. Eastern Market’s “Public Market” will be open Friday December 23rd 7am- 2pm, Saturday December 24th 7am – 12pm and Saturday December 31st 7am – 2pm.
Eastern Market is open for all your holiday shopping needs. Whether it’s fresh food, holiday gifts or a quaint place to enjoy lunch or dinner Eastern Market offers it all. While shopping at Eastern Market please make a donation to one or more of the giving campaigns happening at the Market. Thank you for your support!
2011 – Holiday Events Schedule
Forgotten Harvest Every Saturday November 12th ~ December 24th
Forgotten Harvest is metro Detroit’s only food rescue program. Help feed hungry people in our community by donating fresh fruits and produce. When shopping, please consider those in our communities that will otherwise go without healthy food options! Donation Stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Gleaners “Give a Hand for the Holidays” Saturday December 3rd
For more than 33 years, Gleaners Community Food Bank has been nourishing communities by feeding hungry people. You can make a difference. Donate non-perishable food items today. Donation Stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Holiday Carolers Performance Saturday December 3rd
No holiday celebration is complete without the stunning sounds of carolers singing in the spirit of the season! Enjoy our local high school choirs as they bring the season to life! Performances in Shed 5 on the landing
Salvation Army Red Kettle Collections & Coats for Kids Drive – Saturday December 10th
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle & Coats for Kids Campaign. Give a coat, warm a child and feed your soul! Donate a new or slightly used coat and help keep a child warm. Donation stations are located in Sheds 3 & 5
Creative Ice Carving by Roy-Saturday December 10th
Ice sculpturing is the highlight of the day as Roy creates extraordinary carvings from huge blocks of ice. Performances at 10AM between Sheds 3 & 4 and 1PM between Sheds 4 & 5
Toys for Tots Drive-Saturday December 17th
The Marine Corps Reserves “Toys for Tots” partners to collect new unwrapped toys. Deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters! Donation Stations located in the Welcome Center (7am-4pm), Shed 3 (9am-2pm), Shed 5 (10am-1pm)
Santa & Mrs. Claus-Saturday December 17th
Take a photo with Santa & Mrs. Claus for $5.00 per photo; or bring a new, unwrapped toy for the “Toys for Tots Drive” and your photo is free! Santa & Toys for Tots Donation Stations are in Shed 3 & 5
Retail shops and restaurants are independent from the Saturday Public Market and may have different holiday hours. Their contact information can be found on our website www.detroiteasternmarket.com. Please give them a call to determine their hours of operations during the holiday season.
Our regular Saturday Market will resume its normal hours beginning on Saturday January 7, 2012, 5AM – 5PM. We invite everyone to avoid the long lines at the mall and do their holiday shopping at Eastern Market.”
Detroit Eastern Market – History
Since 1891, Detroit’s Eastern Market has been home to an amazing community of farmers, merchants, food lovers and residents. Eastern Market is a year-round Saturday public market attracting 10,000 in December through March and from 30,000 to 40,000 per day April through November. Detroit Eastern Market encompasses a wholesale market with 40 to 50 vendors in mid-June to November, 80 small-scale processors and distributors around the market, 15 restaurants and over 40 small retail related businesses.
Eastern Market is a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Detroit Eastern Market is the largest historic public market district in the United States. Every Saturday, Michigan’s largest and most colorful market is host to more than 150 farmers and vendors from Michigan, Ohio, and Canada offering a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, breads, baked goods, jellies, jams, honey, apple cider, cheeses, spices, herbs, plants and flowers.
Eastern Market Corporation – Mission
To run a successful market on a daily basis, imagine, fund and implement a series of capital improvements to the market. To serve as an official economic development organizer as well as strengthen the market for the Eastern Market district; and work with a number of collaborators and partners to strengthen the regional food systems in southeast Michigan.
Eastern Market-Detroit is located between Gratiot and Mack, bordered by St. Aubin and the I-75 service drive — just northeast of downtown Detroit. The Market is open on Saturdays from 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact 313-833-9300 or visit the website at www.detroiteasternmarket.com.
I grew up in the middle of the California dessert, we had no phone, and our source of electricity were generators. I had to go to a national park to talk to my grandparents on my birthday from a pay phone. We had chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, sheep, guineas, dogs, cats, rabbits, and I’m sure there were some more animals peppered in there. I have had an amazing life, one that people tell me I should write a book about. And I thought once I moved away from there that I would have nothing else to write about. That is until I got a phone call for a job in California. This phone call has made me think of the possibility of leaving this city that I have fallen in love with. And while I didn’t get the job, it did put these thoughts in my head.
I have fallen in love with you. Slowly at first, then like a rock dropped into a pool; head first, fast and with ripples that touched every part of my body. My first visit to you was in 1997, I was a slow talking high school freshman from Texas. My high school cross country coach lived in an apartment over Nikki’s Pizza in Greektown, I came down to watch the Detroit Marthon. I knew nothing about Detroit history, nothing about the riots, segregation, the auto industry and the people. I’m not sure if back then I would have understood or cared about any of that. I just loved the sights, tall buildings, a ton of people, and good food.
I came in every once and a while, for a Tigers game, to run the Turkey Trot and to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. But never really gave Detroit much thought. I went away to college, 2 years at Ferris, 1 year at Ohio University and then I moved back home and went to OCC. I realized I needed a college degree from a 4 year university, so I switched to Wayne State. The advisor said 3 more classes and I could have a degree in Photography (those 3 classes turned into 3 years, and I loved each and every one of them).
So 6 months in Hubbard Farms, a summer in Italy and 4 years in Woodbridge, and, I thought I had to choose: Detroit or CA.
CA – Dream job. New beginning. Pay check, benefits, 401k. Sunshine. Snow only in the mountains and only when I want to see it. 80 degree’s all year long, no more pit bull in a sweatshirt in the winter. Furthering my career.
Detroit – my home, the only place I’ve called home since leaving CA 15 years ago. A 100 year old house. A neighborhood filled with more creative driven people than I could ever imagine. Public spaces turned to art spaces at the drop of a hat. Being able to be a part of 15 different organizations on a level where I actually make a difference. Going to rooftop parties. Being able to be an artist. Being able to be a cycling photographer. Wanting to put on a USACycling bike race in the middle of downtown Detroit and then doing it. Being able to make a difference if I put my mind to it. Being a part of the planning team for a 4,000+ person Tour-de-Troit. Friends that show up when you need a sewing machine, PBR, or a bike ride. The feel of the new morning when I get to work and hear the church bells ring on Washington. The sunny days when it rains. Being a “local”. Saying my favorite restaurant is a taco truck. Having people come in and say hi because they saw my bike outside.
I love you because you loved me first, you excepted me before I knew I needed it. Before I thought I wanted to live here, you enticed me, first with big ticket items: sports and theater. But then you reeled me in with the small shops owned by people I call my friends. Bartenders who chat with you when you’re at a different bar. The bike-able streets. The passion leaking out of every building new and old. The people who can see that passion and turn it into a reality. I have seen bars change, food added to menu’s, some open, some close, some bring new life, some bring new problems, all of them bring a little more flavor to a city I didn’t think could handle any more. I have watched parades as old as the Thanksgiving parade and as new as the Marche de le Nain Rouge. I have seen the birth of the future, and I am a part of it. It’s right in my own front yard.
I fell in love with you. And I am glad I get to stay around for the long run. I am grateful for the people who found out about the job in CA and who wished me well. Those that knew that even though I might be leaving, it wasn’t to leave Detroit, it was because I was trying to make something bigger happen. Even if you leave Detroit, it doesn’t leave you. As sad as I am to not be in CA on this cold day, I am thrilled to say that I am still a Detroiter. Thank you Detroit for making me the person that I am today. Thank you for adding another 100+ stories to a life that has so many already. And one that at the ripe age of 28 will see many more within your wide open streets. Thank you for being supportive to the arts and DIY crowd, these people are my friends and the people that will make you shine like the diamond that you are.
The rise of Detroit starts with food and with the recent talk of the cuisine Downtown, we look to one of the biggest “food wars” in the city itself. Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island are the two restaurants that compete for best Coney dog in town.
For those that don’t know what a Coney dog is, it can be defined as, a hot dog inside a steamed bun topped with chili, onions, and mustard. The original Coney Island, Todoroff’s, was named after the Coney Island amusement park in New York, and opened in Jackson, Michigan in 1914. Later, in 1917 American Coney Island opened in Detroit between Michigan Ave., Griswold St., and Lafayette St. American is home of the original Coney Dog in Detroit as stated by their website.
Lafayette Coney Island split from American Coney Island a couple of years later after the brothers that formed the original American Coney Island couldn’t agree on some ingredients going into the recipes for the chili. Gust Keros stayed with American while Bill Keros formed Lafayette, which sits directly next door to American.
It’s not very often you have restaurants that are competing for business owned by the same family but still feuding to this day. Both restaurants are still family owned and have a different approach to what ingredients go into their chili.
To start, American Coney Island has a more sit down, dining like setting with tables, chairs, and waiters. The inside is covered with red, white, and blue with lots of pictures of Detroit’s history. Many celebrities have come into the restaurant and have signed pictures dedicating them to the restaurant and how delicious their Coney dogs are.
Lafayette Coney Island has a diner type setting with a long bar and a long table in the middle. The inside is rather small, fitting only about fifty people, and almost every seat will be full all night when events are happening in the city. Lafayette too has signed pictures of celebrities and awards for winning food contests. The one thing that sticks out in Lafayette over American is the pictures of the crew with the Stanley Cup that the Red Wings won a few years back.
The menus are a big difference in both restaurants too. Obviously, the big ticket items on both menus are the Coney dogs. American has more of a sit-down restaurant feel as previously stated and it shows in their menu. They also serve Greek salad, gyro sandwiches, Buffalo wings, and a chicken pita sandwich, among a few others.
Lafayette’s menu is simple; their famous Coney dog, French fries, chili, and a few other items. It’s a very small menu but the flavor is in the food to make up for it. Lafayette also serves beer at a cheaper price, than the beer available next door at American. In the summertime, both restaurants will have one of their workers outside to try to “recruit” you to come and eat in their restaurant. It’s a great rivalry between two restaurants that can go back almost 100 years. It’s up to you to choose which one you prefer.
The only similarity that you will find in the restaurants is that both use the same hot dog from the same company. You will find the difference in the chili and the onions so it is now up to you to choose determine the fate of Detroit’s great food war. As Detroit rises, the food will be at the forefront and this is where it all started. Next week we will talk about one of Detroit’s greatest traditions: the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny
This week we will switch the topic from the the growing entertainment industry in Detroit and focus in on one man and what he is doing to reinvigorate a city that needs help. In this piece, we will talk about what he has done for the city, his background, and his plans for the future.
Dan Gilbert is the current founder, chairman, and CEO of Quicken Loans, an online mortgage company based in the Compuware Building, downtown in the heart of the city. He was born in the city itself and earned his bachelor’s from Michigan State University as well as a Juris Doctor (first professional doctorate) from Wayne State University Law School. He is also a member of the Michigan State Bar Association.
He founded Rock Financial in 1985 and it grew into one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the country. In 2000, Intuit Inc. bought out Rock Financial and turned it into Quicken Loans. Gilbert bought the company back along with a group of private investors in 2002 from Intuit Inc. and its affiliated companies and has since remained its CEO.
When becoming CEO, he became the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team in 2005. He still embraces the team to this day even during the current NBA lockout. He also owns the Lake Erie Monsters, a professional hockey team in the American Hockey League, one step below the NHL level. They are the farm team of the Colorado Avalanche.
Gilbert knows how to make money and realized that Detroit can be a place for people to live, work, and play. In August of 2010, he moved 1,700 of his workers in Quicken Loans from Livonia to Detroit at the Compuware Building. Five months later, he announced the purchase of the Madison Theatre Building, directly next to the Broderick Tower in Grand Circus Park. This past April he also purchased the Chase Tower, one block south of the Compuware Building, and Two Detroit Center, a parking structure two blocks away.
This past September he finished his money spending with the purchases of the Dime Building, three blocks south of the Compuware Building, and the First National Building, one block south. He also owns rights to the old Hudson’s Building site, right next door to the Compuware Building. Once everyone moves into the Chase Tower and Madison Theatre Building, Quicken Loans will employ over 4,000 workers in Downtown Detroit.
The building he resides in currently is the Compuware Building. It was built in 2000 and finished in 2003. It’s a mix of office space, restaurant, and retail. Restaurants include; Hard Rock Café, Texas de Brazil (Steakhouse), and a Jimmy Johns, to name a few. The Compuware Building sits in the heart of Downtown Detroit at Campus Martius Park, and it and will be key to the revitalization of Detroit as more and more companies move downtown.
In fact, two companies just moved into the Madison Theatre Building in the past week. Skidmore Studio, a graphic design company, and Detroit Labs, a technology firm that creates applications for the iPhone, iPad, and Android moved in this past week.
Skidmore moved from Royal Oak, while Detroit Labs moved from the Compuware Building. Detroit Labs was able to move from the Compuware Building because of Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capitalist firm founded by Gilbert to help early stage technology companies in the city. It currently has only 15 employees.
Dan Gilbert is one of the best people to help reinvigorate the city of Detroit and he has done so already with the moving of his employees, purchasing buildings to bring tenants in and looking toward the future with the old Hudson’s site. Because he owns development rights on the site of the old Hudson’s Building, he is looking to seek a tax extension from the city. The current tax breaks run until 2017 and with the possibility of extending the tax breaks for another 15 years, it could mean something big, both for the city’s business district and quite possibly the skyline.
The old J.L. Hudson’s Building was built in 1911 and continued to grow towards the finished product presented in 1946. It was the tallest department/retail building in the world, and the second largest department store building (in rooms) in the United States, second only to Macy’s in New York City. It also holds the record for the tallest and largest building to have a controlled implosion. It was imploded on October 24, 1998. The site is now an empty lot with a parking structure underground, although the parking structure is built so that a building can be built on top with steel girders sticking out of the ground.
There is speculation that an urban Target or H&M store would be built on the site along with other retail, office space, and a residential portion as well. By seeking a tax extension on this “Renaissance Zone” which is exempt from city taxes, utility taxes, city and county property taxes, and state and business income taxes, it is very likely that Gilbert has a plan to do something with this site. We do not have any idea what his plans are but the purchase of the other buildings in downtown, he seems to have plans for those as well.
Dan Gilbert is a driving force behind bringing business and retail into the city of Detroit and he’s only 49 years old. Gilbert is young and will continue to help the city of Detroit and downtown improve. In next week’s article we will look at one of the oldest and best eateries in the city, and their rivalry.
Feel free to check out my other articles at http://michiganjournal.org/
Written by Chris Zadorozny