The article I have chosen for this blog post is titled ‘Detroit: The Most Exciting City in America?’, extracted from New York Times, and authored by Reif Larson. The article begins with a stylistic analogy about how exploring a city on a bicycle allows for a “mutual handshake with the urban topography”. Working at MoGo for the summer, Detroit’s up and coming bikeshare, I have firsthand felt this analogy come to life as I explored Detroit on MoGo bikes with Kushal and Jacob on my first day of work. Therefore, instantly drawn to the initial anecdote of this article, I dove in further to see what it beholds.
Covering a large number of experiences of the writer around Detroit, this personalized informative piece of writing constructs beautiful insights about Detroit as it takes readers through the food, transport, history, art and future of Detroit. My favorite aspect of the article however was that while merging different aspects of Detroit in the article, he maintains a continuous story about the Slow Roll ride supposed to take place that day. While it got canceled, he narrates how 200 citizens still showed up. Through the lens of Woody’s–a young African American and passionate slow-roller–dialogues – “They’re still coming”, he highlights the persistence and passion of detroiters. Moreover, based on the interaction he has with other citizens during this Slow-Roll, does he discover the hidden gems of detroit. Whether it’s stopping at Page Bookstore to learn about Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (G.R.D.C.), which helps organize a local farmers market, repairs dilapidated housing stock and provides assistance and retail space to small businesses like Pages or hearing about Slow Roll co-founder Mr. Hall’s plans to transform Greenway into a giant loop around the city and start a program that gives every citizen a bike while biking along the Detroit River, Reif’s interactions with the people and places all over Detroit reflect the exciting spirit of this city.
In his words and my favorite quote from the article, “There is space to dream big in Detroit, to do things that would be impossible almost everywhere else, and this is part of the reason it feels like the most exciting city in America right now”. Its humble beginnings encourages it to empower diverse communities, and small business, its people who have seen suffering for decades, feel a unique sense of compassion and comradery for one and other, and together these places and people amalgamate to form the innovation, invention and imagination that define Detroit today.