You see, Corktown isn't a place you should necessarily visit, and most definitely not the only area in Detroit that isn't dominated by celebrity-chef restaurants, Quicken Loans offices, and clean streets. As disconcerting as it is, Detroit is still a tale of two cities, one developed and one not, and I prefer to spend my days in the one that can genuinely provide me with any sort of immersive and "life-changing" experience, although we could argue for hours on whether or not any of that actually happens.
Spending at least half of my day in Corktown (or Hamtramck, as I did this past weekend), however, is still the closest thing I found to immersing myself in Detroit, if a Duke student can even claim such feat.
And maybe, by doing that day after day, I'll get to know more about Detroit than what I could read in a textbook or in a trip to the museum. Maybe I'll make friends in the city, or perhaps I'll simply support local business by eating with the locals, get lost until I know the entire city. Regardless of what happens, one thing I know for sure: I'll have a story to tell when I get home, beyond my photographs and blog posts, a story made of rotten raspberries on the ground and abandoned tortilla factories, of real Detroiters and $1 tacos. And only that will make it more Detroit, and less DukeEngage.