It was a strange morning in the hood. It was as if a neutron bomb had gone off overnight. All the buildings were still there, but the streets were eerily empty. It makes for great riding, of course, and as Toby Barlow points out in the first part of Palladium Boots’ “Detroit Lives” documentary, it makes you feel like this town is mine. Maybe it was the weather. It ran backwards from yesterday – started off poor, and then the sun came out.
With the Geomaster in tow, the Legal Eagle and I decided to take a spin closer to the river than we usually follow. There were also a couple of things I wanted to show the Geomaster. Like our nearest powerplant, the Detroit Edison jumbotron over by Bayview Yacht club.
There were nine chimneys here when I grew up – the ‘seven sisters and their mom and dad’
There are plenty of boat storage facilities nearby. One of them was the resting place for an O’Day day sailer. My uncle had one of these; and a Lightning; they’re the boats I learned to sail on. This one needs a little TLC or TDH love.
Please note attentive (and barking) guard dog under the sign
The boat was on Freud street. (Pronounced “Frood” in the hood, by the way).
We also wanted the Geomaster to see the Mayor of Detroit’s residence – Manoogian Mansion, which our imprisoned former mayor KK used for his party party weekends. On the way there, we passed an “every man’s home is his castle castle” for sale. It needs work.
Everything but the moat
What’s cool about the place is that it backs up onto a canal, so you can tie up the Royal Barge in the back yard.
Our current Mayor, Dave Bing, hasn’t yet taken occupancy of the mayoral digs. Some people were over tidying up the manor. It’s a beautiful residence – and its back yard is right on the Detroit River.
Manoogian Mansion. Detroit has stately manors, too
The Geomaster has never ridden along the river. Nor has he seen the famous collapsed upon itself former water tank over a building on Iron Street. This little structure looked about to fall over for years, and then, fortuitously, gave up and just settled down into a tidy little pile of debris.
The Very Considerate Collapsed Water Tower – my new children’s novel
But as I said, the weird thing is that everything looked deserted. Here’s the Riverwalk, waiting for pedestrians and cyclists.
Yoo hoo! Anyone home?
We did have a barge to keep us company for a little while.
There’s a barge in the shadows. If you look closely, you’ll see it
We had been riding into a headwind for a while, which is as good an excuse as any to have a couple of Coney Dogs, so we decamped to the Temple of Tube Steaks, the one and only Lafayette Coney Island for brunch. I don’t need to post a photo of the place. It’s an icon, after all. Our Eiffel Tower, Washington Monument, Gateway Arch, Brandenburg Gate, and Big Ben rolled into one. That said, I don’t think many of you have seen the accommodations at the LCI. They’re down a narrow staircase, and, very, very clean.
Clean ‘n Green
Up at street level, you can see how few people (actually, no people) were around. Some abandoned furniture was available to passersby, had there been any.
This appears to not have been Scotchgarded(r) before use
Off we went towards Mexican Village. Crossing over the train tracks behind the Michigan Central Ruin Porn Station, we caught a train coming out of, and another going into the train tunnel that passes under the Detroit River. (Bet you didn’t know we had one of those, did you?) According to an article found and read by the Legal Eagle, the tunnel “leaks”.
Here’s a train loaded with hazardous chemicals, headed south into Canada.
We get Canadian Bacon, they get chemicals
I saw a nicely decorated building across the street from the Matrix Theatre – there were no identifying signs on its exterior, so I can’t tell you what it’s for, but the lily sculpture was quite entrancing.
Finally, a sad mural cheek by jowl with the Michigan Central Building. Perhaps the person being honored here was in an accident in the nearby underpass.
Requiescat in pace, Yvette
Don’t mean to end on a down note. We had a nice ride down Michigan and through Lafayette Park on the way home, nudged by a wind blowing at our back. Oh, and the guys driving the Hazmat Fire Truck from the Station at Mt. Elliot and Lafayette beeped the horn and waved at us.