The solid advice for anyone moving to Detroit or spending any extended time in the city is to get a bike. This is the best way to see Detroit. There is an endless array of eye candy for the adventurous, and no matter how resurgent, struggling, heartbreaking or inspiring Detroit can be, it is a really weird and wonderful place.
My goal was to eventually end up at the 48th Annual Flower Day in Eastern Market, but I ended taking a bit of detour. Riding west from the near east side I had lunch at Mercury Burger Bar and then decided I would need a few miles to burn off the gourmet burger.
Continuing west from Corktown I peddled through Southwest Detroit and then looped back east towards the Riverfront. It was packed. Joggers, wanderers and bikers all shared the promenade along the river sucking up this ideal spring afternoon.
I took a lap around Belle Isle which was as lively as I have ever seen it. Despite part of the island being dominated by the impending Grand Prix, the rest of the park was alive with day traffic, family reunions, fathers and sons fishing, bikers and joggers.
Not ready to cut over to Eastern Market quite yet I headed up Grand Blvd towards Hamtramck. I wandered through neighborhoods that remind you that the Motor City has a great deal of work to do, but a particular resilience was on display as I passed people cutting grass, folks streaming out of Sunday church service and those simply gathered porch side having food and drinks.
Detroit’s ultimate eyesore, the Packard Plant, passed by without much fanfare. It’s a mess, it’s risky and until some other extreme sports uses it as a backdrop I am not very interested. Eventually taking Chene back towards downtown I couldn’t help but notice how hard hit that east side neighborhood has been. A cogent reminder that there is much work to do.
Cruising into Eastern Market I was stopped in my tracks by a mass of humanity milling about the market. Flower Day in Detroit was in its 48th year and is one of the largest flower shows in the country. In true Detroit fashion there was plenty of food and beverage on hand. There were not only members of the Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association, but hundreds of flower growers from Michigan, Canada and other states in the region. There were exotic plants, shrubbery, annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and all other matter of flora to round out your yard or home.
It was more festival then market, live music permeated the air, the smell of cooking meat filled my nostrils, overwhelming the aromatic sweetness of all the flowers and everyone seemed to be having a good time. It seemed an idyllic way to enjoy a breezy day in Detroit.
Here are few more images of Flower Day.
People searching through hundreds of flower options.
Nothing is complete without Elephant Ears.
Segways on patrol.
Bert’s always draws a good crowd.
One of many street performers that call Eastern Market home.
It wasn’t just flowers on sale.
Weird is right.
Some of the best typography is in and around Eastern Market.
Still a great place to get fresh meat.
All shopping needs can be taken care of at Eastern Market.
A reminder of Detroit’s past, and hopefully our future.