Dating demand detroit
You can walk right through its majestic downtown in the middle of the morning and meet nobody at all.There is no danger of being mugged, as a mugger in this part of town might have to wait hours for a client.
The wartime expansion drew in 200,000 immigrants, many of them blacks from the South.Most of the great buildings are ghosts: hotels that haven’t seen a guest in years, department stores where the last customer left decades ago, abandoned dentists’ surgeries where the elaborate Forties chairs moulder in echoing solitude.Where there was optimism, there is now nothing but melancholy.A few excellent restaurants do surprisingly good business in the evenings, much of it from prosperous black families. There are some dispiriting casinos, those invariable signs of economic desperation.But real life, the sort that makes for crowded pavements, exhilarating noise, bright lights and business, has departed to the far fringes of the suburbs.Sometimes they are brutally recycled, so that you can find the sad traces of a beautiful theatre’s ornate ceiling stranded madly in a multi-storey car park.
But mostly they have just been left forlorn, the windows of their high floors sparkling misleadingly in the sun, but the grand doorways at street-level smeared with dust and firmly locked.
A little way out you can see the colossal wreck of the old Packard factory, a monument to the passing nature of commercial success.
Once, Packard was as well-known and renowned as its rival, Cadillac. As is so common in America, with its endless space, the corpse of this enormous building has not been demolished. Instead it has been left to decay, a dangerous wasteland of sagging roofs and jagged edges, frightening in its emptiness and silence.
Through here, in the lost boom years, came businessmen hastening to sign contracts, politicians looking for finance from business, unions or both, government contractors gearing up for war, Southern blacks and their families seeking a new life. This is to be found near where Van Dyke Avenue intersects with Mack Avenue.
Now it is a ruin, ringed by razor-wire, its windows broken, its superb arrivals hall a shadowy, chilly tomb, its many silent platforms invaded by weeds. Where prosperous, neat suburban homes once stood, pheasants flap and knee-high grass obscures the foundations of vanished homes.
The few remaining trains do not even come here any more. The main road that leads from here into the heart of Detroit is so worn that the asphalt has peeled away to reveal the Edwardian cobbles beneath. Occasionally a half-ruined or half-burned house still stands to remind you that this used to be a cityscape.