Monthly Archives: August 2013

Adventures in Detroit: Part 2

Shortly after arriving in Detroit, I fell and broke two bones in my right hand. It was 10 May. I was in town to watch my first ever Major League Baseball game (Detroit (10) v Cleveland (4)), and get a local’s tour of the city. I fell in love with Detroit two weeks earlier. It was love at first sight as soon as I saw Detroit’s early morning skyline from the Ambassador Bridge. After a quick drive up I 74, we spent the day at The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.
My partner’s brother wanted us to see the areas of Detroit that he’d delivered to when he drove truck. Prior to seeing Detroit for the first time, I had hoped to shoot abandoned buildings. Instead, I chose to focus on street art. Some of the old architecture was beautifully decayed, the brick and cement equivalent of Delta Dawn.
My first subject was the church at Jay and Orleans. Beautiful. Gothic. Stained by decades of road dirt. From the church I saw an amazing gallery on Gratiot.

IMAGE: Eastern Market, Detroit.
Eastern Market, Detroit.

We went into the Eastern Market and parked so I could walkabout with my D90. It’s a little uncomfortable to go on a photo walkabout when the people with whom you’re traveling aren’t making photos, too. Even more uncomfortable when they don’t even have cameras with them. So I shot a little more quickly and a little more discriminately than I might have were I alone.
Being up close to some of this art was breathtaking. I walked with my camera in my face, trying to focus on individual pieces, or productions. I was like Dug in Up.
IMAGE: Eastern Market, Detroit.
Eastern Market, Detroit.

Within fifteen minutes of hitting the streets. I hit the street, literally. I fell on my wrists–protecting my Nikon, cutting my face on the lens hood–while framing an image. I was a little disoriented and bleeding from the nose. Road rash stung my right shin and knee. My left wrist was scuffed black and oozing blood. My right hand throbbed. It wasn’t bleeding, but it objected vehemently to movement and could barely hold the D90. I was 100 yards from the largest street art gallery I’d ever seen, and eight hours from my first MLB game.
The others in my party asked whether we should go back to Canada so I could get medical attention. I came a long way to experience Detroit, and see the Tigers live. There was no way I was going to let a little pain interfere with this dream-come-true day.
Shortly after falling, I caught the sweet scent of barbecue. I may be clumsy, but I know good barbecue when I smell it. I followed the aroma to an older fellow named Tony, casually flipping racks of beef ribs in front of a joint called Bert’s Marketplace on Russell.
IMAGE" Tony grill king at Bert's Barbecue.
Tony the barbecue maestro at Bert’s Barbecue. Cool man. King of the Grill.

It’s a block long, comprised of individual buildings that seem to have doors punched through the walls. I’m not sure whether it’s a joint or a dive. I do know that I love the place.
I had a half-rack with two sides ($14). There were enough beef ribs on my platter to feed the four of us.
IMAGE Bert's Barbecue beef ribs. Heavenly.
Half-rack of beef ribs with two sides and corn bread. Mmm, mmm, good.

My partner had three ribs with two sides ($7). That was a good-sized meal for one.
IMAGE Bert's Barbecue beef ribs. Heavenly.
Three ribs with 2 sides, great lunch at Bert’s Barbecue.

I would visit Detroit again, even if Bert’s barbecue was the only good thing about the city.
It’s not. I would happily make Detroit my home, despite the lame political situation and crime rate.