This post is way overdue. The legal eagle was threatening to arrest me under some abstruse infraction of the law if I didn’t write something, so here goes: the description of 2009’s last official Tour De Hood ride. The ride actually took place back in November. You can follow the route by clicking here.
We started off with a quick visit to misterarthur’s birthplace:
Birthplace of misterarthur
No, I wasn’t born in a field. That’s the former site of Detroit’s East Side General Hospital. In lieu of a memorial to my birth, there’s an ice cream truck parked where I took my first breaths.
I had an uncle named Bob. (So this isn’t my uncle’s ice cream truck)
Directly across the street from the used-to-be-a-hospital site is an abandoned Masonic lodge. At least that’s what I think it is. No one ever asked me to be a Mason, so I can’t be sure.
Secret Handshake Headquarters
Enough of old memories.
The legal eagle and I have covered most of Detroit’s main thoroughfares this summer, but hadn’t officially ridden the Southeasternmost part of Detroit. There are plenty of lovely sights to behold.
One is Ste. Anne’s Church. Ste Anne’s is the second oldest operating parish in the United States. Wow! (It’s proper name is Ste. Anne De Detroit, after the patron Saint of France.) It’s a beautiful church, but one of its features leaves me a little puzzled. Here’s the rose window. Anyone care to speculate on why it features a Star of David?
Maybe they put up a Kvetch at Christmas
There’s a beautiful though abandoned fire station right next to the Church. I don’t know who owns it now. The inside looks to be in pretty good shape.
Look closely. It was opened in 1897
The station has lovely brickwork detailing. See?
Public Building, built like they should be
I simply cannot think of one time in my adult life when I was happy to pay for parking; hence I was bemused by this cheerfully-named place to leave your car when you hand over cash:
If you don’t pay, you won’t be happy
The advertising business has been hit hard in Detroit, what with the troubles of our domestic automakers. The easy fix for companies in trouble is to blame their marketing firms. I worry that in a couple of years, all the big names will be more like the shop below than the agencies glorified on “Mad Men”.
Advertising and Distributing: Take your pick
A bit further south, we came upon a city-owned property that is a Jimi Hendrix Mondegreen. (A Mondegreen is a misheard/misinterpreted lyric to a piece of music, like “The Girl with Colitis Goes By” instead of “The Girl with Kaleidescope Eyes”). Here’s what I mean: ‘Scuse me, while I Mistersky:
Look closely, you can see former Mayor Dennis Archer’s name under that tape
One of our main reasons for this trip route was to get a look at Zug Island, a real beauty of an industrial eyesore. Zug Island is connected to the mainland by a railroad bridge. There are signs all over the place saying not to enter, and, more specifically, to NOT TRESPASS OR YOU WILL BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW.
Zug Island Road (Private Road)
Curiously, the warning sign is only on one end of the street. We had entered at the other end. A sign there warned against taking photographs of Zug Island proper, but I thought that meant you couldn’t take pictures on Zug Island, not of Zug Island. I was wrong. After popping a couple of snaps of a nondescript pile of coal and a smokestack, we rode away, only to be chased down by a US Steel Security Guard, who demanded that I erase any photos I had taken of the industrial complex. “Why can’t I take pictures?” I asked. “Homeland Security,” he answered. Huh? Why a terrorist would target a heap of taconite and blight is beyond my ken. Shortly after passing this neglected caution sign,
Perhaps it’s to confuse would-be terrorists
we were able to see the full beauty of Zug Island from a different, legal, not trespassing angle.
I ask you: Can your city boast of an eternal flame like this one?
Detroit has a Yeti-Sized Carbon Footprint
Does your city have a Homeland Security Protected Steel Mill that randomly spews out smoke and steam? Well, mine does.
I’m sure it’s in full compliance with current EPA regulations
Zug Island abuts Delray, a Detroit neighborhood formerly populated largely by those of Hungarian descent. They’ve all pretty much pulled up stakes and abandoned the old neighborhood. In an effort to protect some of the buildings, someone has put angels on the structures. More precisely, they’ve put paintings of angels on the buildings, but you get my drift. Here are three.
Perhaps they’re the patron saints of light beer.
This grocery store on Schaefer appears to urge the populace to eat more vegetables.
I’ll take two turnips and a head of lettuce, please
As we turned onto Dix, I was looking forward to crossing the Rouge River, not expecting to pass by the winner of the Tour De Hood “Best Named Strip Club” award. It takes a great name to knock the “Please Station” off its pedestal, but how can you argue with the genius of this club’s name?
How could Chix on Dix not be an adult entertainment facility?
There was better news yet to come. Not only does the club have the best name ever, it’s affordable family fun, too!
Not just $2 Tuesdays; lap dances are only $10
Our elation was deflated a tad bit by this sad tire repair sign,
Poor little bias ply
But we perked up a bit at the National Geographic quality view from the bridge across the Rouge River.
Detroit: Vacation paradise
For an inexplicable reason, some passing adolescents yelled “Faggots” at us while I was taking this photograph. I guess they don’t like bicycles.
On the way back north, we passed an eatery that was, unfortunately, closed:
Dig those stylin’ shades on AD.
We also came across what I think was a broken water main just off Rosa Parks avenue.
The Plank and Tire are a nice touch
Our ride ended with a nice surprise. We intercepted Steve Coy and Dorota Billica as they were painting an “Hygienic Dress League” mural on Woodbridge. That’s the second time I’ve run into Steve on one of my rides, and I encourage you to go downtown and check out the finished work.
Artists at Work
And that was that. All in all, a great year on the TDH. I’m going to take a break while winter’s at its worst, but will be back like the swallows to Capistrano come Spring.
I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays, and best wishes for a fantastic 2010.