Each week, I ask the new Local general get-to-know-you questions. How did you end up here, what should visitors know about the local attitude, what's your city's spirit animal. Ya know, the important stuff. I also ask about the not so great parts. It's important for us to be real with you. We never want the lovely coffee shops and romantic city views to sugarcoat what's going on in the community. If anything we hope it encourages you to take a closer look at local businesses and get to know the people with the amazing ideas.
This week's Local and Photographer Jesse David Green @jessedavidgreen summed Detroit up best. In more recent history, Detroit Michigan became the poster-city for Tough Times. "The past transgressions that still haunt us. Years of terrible government, and crooked politicians that stole, wrecked, tore down, and mis-managed many of the gems we had...You’ve seen the headlines, you’ve read the comments, you’ve seen the bombed-out buildings. The people here could care less about all that noise. We know what it’s really like here. We know who our neighbors are, we know the new businesses flooding in every single day, we know that as far as we fell, we’re brushing ourselves off and building something that is better than its ever been... It’s a great time to be here." In that vein, Jesse's always growing photo series showcasing makers and shakers and entrepreneurs in the area, illustrating that strong Detroit "can-do" spirit all around. "It’s a bit of a passion project, brought about by my love of all things business and artistry, and seeing people follow their dreams."
Support local businesses and follow your dreams,
JESSE DAVID GREEN @jessedavidgreen
Well hey there! I’m absolutely stoked to be joining @withthelocals this week to take you around my favorite city in the world. I’m going to be taking you around all week to some of my favorite spots. Places new and old, known and unknown. It’s hard to come up with the words to explain this place to someone who has never been here before, so I’ll give you someone else's. In the words of my good friend Taylor Bruce of @wildsam “Things in Detroit are complicated. They are both better and worse than you’d think. Everyday is both winter and summer. Old and new, broken and beautiful.” I wanted to start with just a simple image of my favorite building in the skyline: The Penobscot Building.
Opened in 1928, it was the fourth tallest in the United States and Detroit’s tallest building until 1977 when the Renaissance Center opened. Just as of recently, the 12 foot, 87 year old orb is currently burned out awaiting replacement. We’ve got a guy working on it, you know, we’re just waiting for the ice on the metal ladder he’s got to climb to get up there to thaw. Small potatoes.
I'm @jessedavidgreen. Welcome to Detroit. Welcome to my home. Let’s take a look around, shall we?
So where might you find me (@jessedavidgreen) on a quiet wintry morning such as this? Well, in the sun-filled aisles of @johnkingbooksdetroit of course. One of the world's largest used and rare bookstores, we're talking 4 stories (and basements, and the building behind them) filled to the brim with books spanning years and years. It's one of the calmest, most beautiful and inviting sites you'll find in the city. Definitely a place you can spend an entire afternoon and still feel like there's more to see.
It's nearly 5 o'clock. Where will you be? You'll often find me at @atwaterbeer, right in the historic warehouse district of Rivertown, along the mighty Detroit River. They dropped a taproom right in the middle of their production warehouse. If that's not quintessential Detroit, I don't know what is. That, and the honey mustard pretzels are always plentiful and free.
(at Atwater Brewery)
I love coffee. That's no surprise to the people that know me. There's so many great shops in this city, and it just keeps getting better. But @astrocoffee will forever and always be my favorite. It's not just the delicious coffee. It's not the house-made biscuits and jam, or the absolutely ridiculous egg biscuit sandwich. It's the people. I can't remember the last time I spent more than 20 minutes in here and didn't see a friend, or didn't meet someone whom I might have the chance to work with in the future. The best part about this place (besides the coffee and the treats and the floor to ceiling chalkboard walls) is the community. It's not a shop where you'll see 100 laptops out with nobody making a sound. You'll see one or two laptops in the place usually. The rest of the people in there are chatting, catching up, reading the newspaper, watching the cars go by on Michigan Avenue out the front window. It's just a special place, filled with special people. You'll have to stop by and see for yourself.
(at ASTRO COFFEE)
Good morning and welcome back to beautiful Detroit, Michigan once again! I'm @jessedavidgreen and I figured since its bright and early I'd take you to another of my favorite breakfast (and lunch) spots. Opened just last year, @rosesfinefood has already secured itself as one of the best food gems we've got in this city. An old diner on the city's east side (right past the Belle Isle bridge), it's such a gorgeous space with green walls, old family photos of the two owners (and cousins) Molly and Lucy, and the most amazing shiny green brick exterior and massive windows.
Take a seat at one of the handcrafted @gretadeparry tables, sip some delicious (and bottomless) @populace coffee, and then order up a big old plate of "Grandpa Richard's Pancakes" or "Bangin' on the Border" (breakfast tacos with house-made hot sauce). Nearly everything at this place is made in-house and sourced locally.
Last but not least, no tipping in this joint. All of their front and back of the house staff are paid equally, and above living wage. If you do decide to tip, it'll be split equally, and the rest will be donated to a Detroit-area charity of the staffs choosing. That's just good business.
(at Rose's Fine Food)
Winters here are tough. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes they seem like they last for 6 months at a time. Where do I head to feel at least some semblance of warmth and green? The Anna Scrips Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle, Detroit's 982 acre island park in the middle of the Detroit River. Designed by renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn (seriously, look him up) in 1904 at the same time as the neighboring aquarium, it's a stunning iron and aluminum (originally wood) structure. It's warm, it's green, it's breathtaking, it's free, and it has an 85 foot Palm tree in the main dome, so that's pretty awesome.
Good morning and welcome back to Detroit! If there's one thing we've got the lockdown on, it's stunning Art-Deco architecture, style, and skyscrapers. The Fisher Building, the Guardian Building, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Pewabic Pottery, the Penobscot building and more, they all played a massive role in the beauty of this city. Take some time. Stroll around. Walk into buildings and look up. You'll be glad you did.
(at Guardian Building)
One of this towns best kept secrets? We've got a pretty extensive canal system on the east-side of town, winding through the neighborhood of Jefferson-Chalmers. We're talking houses built right on the canal, docks, 30 foot sailboats pulled right up to the house, quiet streets , and the beauty of a summer sunset pouring through the trees. Even many locals don't know these exist, and it's one of the most serene, beautiful spots along the Detroit River. Want an even better look than by walking the sidewalks? Book a sunset kayak tour with @detroitriversports and take it all in from on the water. As I currently sit huddled inside while its -18 degrees with the wind chill, this is looking might good right about now.
It's late. You want a great drink in your hand and some world-class musicians filling your ears. Roll down to Park Avenue then and park it at @cliffbells. Authentic, turn of the century jazz club meticulously renovated to the height of its early 20th century splendor. You may just find yourself lost in it all, looking around and wondering: "Where the hell am I?"
(at Cliff Bell’s)
Welcome back to Detroit! This is @jessedavidgreen and I've got until Sunday to finish showing you all of my favorite places around town. Next on the list: @theredhookcoffee in West Village, probably the fastest growing and hottest neighborhood outside of the downtown core right now. West Village is to the west of the opulent Indian Village, and is simply a more modest, family-friendly and tight-knit neighborhood. Within the last year, this neighborhood has gained the likes of @craftworkdetroit, @paramitasound, @parkerstreetmarket, @sisterpiedetroit, @detroitvegansoul, and more to come. The character, soul, and homes and townhouses of this neighborhood are beyond inspiring. Cmon, we've even got gas street lamps on tap.
Back to Red Hook though. Beautiful, artfully done restoration of their space, toys for the little ones, and pastries to die for from Pinwheel Bakery. If you want to lock in, feel like you're a part of a neighborhood fabric, and get a bunch of work done while drinking delicious @intelligentsiacoffee or@stumptowncoffee, this is the place.
(at The Red Hook)
Get cleaned up in style while in the city. Located right in the heart of downtown, on the second floor of a flatiron building, @standardbarberco is just over a year or so old, and absolutely killing it in the hair and beard grooming game. Old school style, a fridge full of Detroit beverages (Vernors, Two James Distillery, and local brews abound). They just finished up a top to bottom renovation using mainly reclaimed wood from 100+ year old Detroit homes via @architecturalsalvage and it's so, so good. If you want the best hair cut you've ever gotten, at a great price, in an unbeatable location, this is the place.
Super newcomer on the scene at least in Detroit (they've got locations in Portland, Denver, and Austin too), @punchbowldet is still a stupid amount of fun. They're open 7am - 2am everyday, they've got good design, they've got scratch made food, they've got bowling and billiards and vintage games. It's simply a blast. Somewhere you could have a casual business meeting, or meet up with friends after work and chill. Go there. Eat the chicken and waffles. Order a punch bowl. And shut up.
Hey guys! It's still me, @jessedavidgreen (you tired of me yet?). I've been saving this one for Saturday because it's perhaps one of my absolute favorite outings and experiences I can take visitors to, if they're in town on a Saturday. This is @easternmarket, an outdoor Farmers Market, neighborhood, and industrial center. It's been operating since the mid-1800's and is the largest open air market of its kind in the country. We're talking nearly 45,000 visitors walking through every Saturday. Besides the hundreds of food vendors selling fresh vegetables, meats, and flowers, there's food trucks, a pet shop, Supino Pizza, and @signalreturn all spread across a beautiful, mural-filled industrial landscape. It's so good, promise.
Don't leave @easternmarket quite yet. You've gotta make it down Division Street to @signalreturn before you take off. Ridiculously amazing letterpress and screen printed art prints, workshops taught by @joelgrothaus and friends and a chance to see it all happen live. They're setup as a non-profit and really care about teaching and learning and passing on the age-old art in their gorgeous space.
Good morning! This is @jessedavidgreen and welcome to the final day of @withthelocals in Detroit. It's been so great having this opportunity to show you guys around my favorite city in the world, and I so appreciate all the comments and interaction we've gotten to have. Detroit is truly a special place and I'm honored to have gotten the chance to show you around, virtually at least.
I've got a few more places to show you before the day is through, but I'll start with the Kresge Court, or "Detroit's Living Room" at the @diadetroit. Recently redesigned last year, it's got outlets galore, comfy seats and coffee, drinks and food readily available. It's a sun-drenched indoor courtyard that just begs you to stay all day amongst the world class art.
I leave you this week with a view from the very top. Overlooking one of our most gorgeous assets that the city is finally starting to develop and utilize to its full potential. We've got a world-class Riverwalk, new residential developments, splash parks, a state park, and more on the way. This is the place you can get away. Watch the freighters go by, hear just the birds and the water, wonder what the heck those Canadians across the way are doing.
Thank you guys so so so much again for following along, for joining us from the @mashable feature, and for being a part of this awesome movement known as @withthelocals that gets to show you places you might not have known you needed to go. I urge you, if you get the chance, come see what we've got going on in Detroit. We've got all I've shown you and much much more and I'd be glad to show you around. Want more? Follow me at @jessedavidgreen if you're so inclined! I'd love to connect with you there :) Thanks so much again and let's see who's up next!