A potpourri of sights to see on the Tour De Hood today – coincidentally, the same day the Tour De France finishes in my sister’s delightful hometown, Verbier, Switzerland. That’s not to say, of course, that there’s any resemblance between a fab ski resort and Detroit. (Well, they’re both on same planet, but that’s about it.)
First, the Deities: I passed many places of worship today, among them a Detroit classic: The Storefront Church. This one is the Martin Evans Missionary Baptist Church on Gratiot & Outer Drive.
Store + Steeple = Church
It was a bit early for services, so I can’t comment on the number of parishioners at this church, but I’m guessing it’s a bit more popular than the Hindu spot I rode by later. The Durga Temple appears to have seen better days. Durga means ‘invincible’ in Hindi, but I guess that power doesn’t cover weeds and awnings.
Durga-philes: This is for you
It’s kind of hard to figure out what the next place is (or was, I can’t tell). Amen Ra’s Place seems a little casual for the God of Creation, but as my son would say, “I’m no expert”.
It goes without saying, the area code is 313
On to more earthly pleasures. I should probably schedule a Tour De Strip Clubs, as Detroit is chock-a-block full of them, two of which I passed today. One open, one closed. Here’s the open one.
xx means xxtra pleasure
The next appears to be shuttered, I’m sad to say, as it is most excellently named:
Please please, me, oh yeah, like I please you
Today’s Tour De Hood route was at the behest of my cousin Paul. He’s on a mission to photograph every Detroit Fire Station. I don’t want to spoil his party, so I’m only going to show you a couple of photographs of the stations we visited today. One was Engine Company 60, at Hoover and Manning.
Building started 1931, finished 1936
There’s a plaque inside honoring Roland Martin, a fire fighter killed in the line of duty.
Engine 60 hero
There were, of course, more typically Detroit-like sights to see.
Detroit may be the only city in America that advertises its murders. Here’s a billboard for an unsolved case:
Anonymous tips requested
The appropriately-named Mystik Gas Station seems to have mysteriously fallen down upon itself:
No gas today
Detroit has a sui generis style of signage that has, it is claimed, helped turn (a) “typical urban landscape into a canvas for some of the city’s most vibrant folk art.”
While the next photo may not capture the pure Detroitness of “Murder Burger” or “Mr. Foote’s Hand Car Wash”, I was confused for a moment by the portrait on this tire store – not sure if it was of Frank himself or President Obama.
Frank or Obama
Here’s a home-made call to action: we come 2 you hair styling. I don’t know if these are reasonable prices or not.
Lest you get the wrong impression, not everything in Detroit is hand made or collapsed or out of business. One going concern is the superbly named Eutectic Engineering, with this fabulous logo:
Grain by grain excellence
As Eutectic’s workman-like web site says, apropos of its investment casting capabilities,”When a part’s math data is to (sic) complex for most manufacturing methods, or the parts (sic) harsh operating environment requires it to be made from one of the toughest alloys, investment casting offers the benefit of near set shape (? – I don’t know if that’s a mistake or not) resulting in superior strength vs. weight characteristics.”
Got that? Good. Back to English.
Here’s a gathering space for Good Humor-ish trucks. Business probably isn’t the greatest this year, what with the City of Detroit’s unreal 22.5% unemployment rate, and colder-than-I-can-remember July temperatures, but we’re all optimists, right? Nose to the grindstone, hand in the freezer, and it’ll all be right in the end. Just follow the rainbow.
Good Humor & Generic Ice Cream Trucks
What the photo doesn’t show is the proximity of Pot O’ Gold to Hamtramck, Detroit’s Polish, Arab, Bangladeshi, Hmong town.
Just imagine looking at this while listening to an amplified Muezzin, and you’ll get a small idea of what Detroit is like.