citizen kerry

Someday i'm going to understand America. Until then, I have this blog.

Posts tagged locavore

25 notes &

i finally get why maine is cult-y

I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I need people to complain (at least once) about a place before I believe it’s rad, but it’s why I’ve always been skeptical of Maine. The state can do no wrong. Plus, it puts weird spells on type-A people. When I was growing up, a friend went to Maine and came back brainwashed, talking about a beach where she wore boat shoes, went clam digging, and ate lobsters. (All things she could have done in Torrance, California, mind you. But in Maine she wanted to.) And in New York, nobody thinks Maine is just OK. They luuuuve Maine and want to drop everything, move there, and become a new person. Which no one ever says about, say, Massachusetts, although it’s also a lovely coastal state. And Presidents, who can vacation anywhere, always pick Maine.

   The workplace of the lobsterman.

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Filed under lobsters locavore maine rachel sorrento eric travel my american stereotypes

12 notes &

detroit is like paris after the war

I had an amazing brunch in Detroit this weekend. I’ve been curious about the city ever since I lived in Paris. I had a friend there named Davidde who was born and raised in the Big D (as he called it) and swore that his hometown was cooler than Paris. Of course I didn’t believe him—part of Davidde’s allure is he doesn’t think like anyone else but is still sane. And I was delusionally obsessed with Paris. But Davidde meant it—he left the City of Lights and moved to Motown, where he’s now a lawyer. And looks like this:

  (Thank you Dante for this picture!)

So you can imagine how cool it was to have brunch this Sunday, just steps from the GM building, with Davidde, and my dear friend Megan and her husband Kevin at Atlas Global Bistro (try the cinnamon french toast!). Here are some thoughts:

1. I’m now a huge fan of the auto bailout. Not that I wasn’t before, but this trip left no doubt. If someone you know is still against the auto industry “handout,” say: “Go to Detroit, and then let’s talk.” Because if they don’t believe the numbers (unemployment is at 13% in Michigan and some say 30% in Detroit) then maybe they’ll believe the broken windows and empty lots everywhere. And if this is what the city looks like after saving 400,000 jobs, I can only imagine the apocalypse that might have been.

2. Whoever designed the Batman set had just returned from a meeting at GM. The GM building looks like it belongs in Gotham—very high silver gray cylinders that would be better accessed by a bat or something non-human.

3. Locavores are not just in Brooklyn. And to think I thought the movement was a coastal thing! Oh my Manhattan hubris! Local produce and urban gardening are really popular, partly because the city’s population has shrunk by 1 million since 1950, so they have lots of empty houses, which eventually get torn down and become empty lots. And Detroit has one of the country’s longest running Farmer’s Markets.

4. Detroit is like Paris after the war. This is not my idea. This is Davidde’s. Like Paris circa 1946 1921*, Detroit looks totally bombed out and destroyed. The grandiose train station is now a cracking shell somewhere between “structure” and “rubble.” And like Paris, which was an aristocratic playground, Detroit used to be the richest city in America. You get a clue to this because there are mansions everywhere. It would certainly make sense for cash-strapped artists to make a go of Detroit—cost of living is low. But that last part is TBD.

5. Black flight is a phenomenon. I wish there were some cool civil rights spin on this story, but the point is that Detroit has gotten so bad that even Blacks are leaving. The WSJ had a great page 1 article on this by Alex P. Kellogg. It featured women who’d bought homes, invested in them, been robbed repeatedly and finally decided to leave AFTER THE 10th BREAKIN. The cops are understaffed and use their limited time to pursue murderers. Oh man geography is destiny. Even in the USA!

*Thank you reader Andrew M for pointing out that Paris was an open city and suffered little damage during the war. London, Warsaw and Berlin received much more damage than Paris did (see the Movie “Is Paris Burning”), which led to the realization that — duh — Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fizgerald, and Gertrude Stein were in Paris in the 20s. Good thing I’ve already admitted to being a moron!

Filed under GM atlas global bistro bailout davidde detroit locavore megan travel my american stereotypes