Dilapidating Ruins reminiscent of a glorious past
Haussmann under the commission of Napoleon had vast areas of Old Paris demolished and rebuilt with wide avenues interlinking to form a grid. Detroit, on the other hand, started with a clean slate and the city expanded with a grid and mile road system, designed for driving pleasure.
Henry Ford and the other titan’s of the early automotive industry helped create a robust economy that allowed for things to keep getting better until it made the locals complacent and outsiders curious. A cataclysm of massive proportions was impending upon Motor City.
Eventually everyone saw the headlights of the oncoming cataclysm but just as cars in Detroit don’t have front license plates, no one could identify it without the benefit of hindsight. Detroit however did not end; Detroit continues, ignominiously whimpering under the twinkle of a fading star.
“Massachusetts has been the wheel within New England, and Boston the wheel within Massachusetts.
It has therefore been the source and fountain of the ideas that have moved and made America, and is, in a high and honourable sense, the hub of the New World”
— Foster Barham Zincke
“I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.”
— Andy Warhol
“The missionary comes after the whiskey — I mean he arrives after the whiskey has arrived; next comes the poor immigrant, with ax and hoe and rifle; next, the trader; next…
…All these interests bring the newspaper; the newspaper starts up politics and a railroad; all hands turn to and build a church and a jail— and behold, civilization is established for ever in the land.
But whiskey, you see, was the van-leader in this beneficent work. It always is.”
— Mark Twain
“And it is awful here, there is no other way to say it. But I believe that Detroit is America’s city. It was the vanguard of our way up, just as it is the vanguard of our way down. And one hopes the vanguard of our way up again.
Detroit is Pax Americana. The birthplace of mass production, the automobile, the cement road, the refrigerator, frozen peas, high- paid blue-collar jobs, home ownership and credit on a mass scale. America’s way of life was built here.”
— Charlie LeDuff
“My advice for aspiring writers is go to New York. And if you can’t go to New York, go to the place that represents New York to you, where the standards for writing are high, there are other people who share your dreams, and where you can talk, talk, talk about your interests. Writing books begins in talking about it, like most human projects, and in being close to those who have already done what you propose to do.”
— Walter Kirn