Monday, August 8, 2011

Delray and Southwest Detroit

I spent about an hour this past Sunday driving around the southwest Detroit area.  It's been a long time since I've been to that area of the City and I went to a few places I'm sure I've never been.  I started in the heart of the CBD and headed to the southwest on Fort Street, eventually heading further south and west until I was on Jefferson.  I was amazed by what I saw.  I knew Delray was a bit decayed but I never realized how much vacant land there is in the former village.  Every few blocks was a vacant expanse of overgrown weeds, full of garbage and who knows what else.  Many of the streets look eerily similar to this image of Anystreet, Delray.  While there was the occasional person sitting on the occasional porch, the area felt abandoned, even for Detroit.  It was a Sunday afternoon but I would go several minutes at a time without seeing another car - something you'd be hard-pressed to do even in rural areas of southeast Michigan.  Roads would seemingly dead end to the heavily industrialized areas, a sign of their one time vibrancy.   What remains is a sad reminder of the magnitude of need for Detroit.

Jurisdictional boundaries seem to matter less on the southwest side of Detroit.  Whereas the Northern border of Detroit, 8 mile, cuts a fine line between urban/suburban and white and black, the border is much more blended to the southwest. I didn't realize I wasn't in Detroit until I was in Ecorse, two communities further south and that was only because I saw an Ecorse sign.

So what I'm left with is a place that has jumped to the top of the I-need-to-take-a-friend-and-a-camera-and-take-pictures list. And when I manage to take those pictures, they'll show up here.