Every day while I am eating lunch I scour MSN and CNN for the latest news and headlines. Well, the other day my curiosity was sparked when I saw the headline “America’s Most Miserable Cities.” I had my guesses as to what cities I would see on the list and was not surprised one bit when I saw Detroit topping the list as the Most Miserable City in America.
Although I was not surprised to see Detroit in the number one slot, I do not necessarily agree with this ranking. Yes, Detroit’s economy has hit rock-bottom…it has the highest crime rate in the country…and as of Tuesday, the city announced that they are in the midst of a financial emergency; but even with all of this going on, I have nothing but love for the city.
I have spent quite a bit of time in Detroit since my accident because they have one of the best spinal cord rehabilitation facilities in the country. For months at a time, my mom and I would pack up half of our house and head north, in order for me to spend my days working towards my goal of getting stronger and more independent at the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery (CSCIR).
In 2009, Mom and I rented a loft in downtown Detroit, right on Woodward Ave., where we lived for five and a half months. I will never forget the day when we arrived…we pulled into the alley to unload our stuff and a homeless man approached our vehicle, asking if we had some cheese. To a small-town Kansas girl, a homeless man approaching your vehicle is a bit daunting and I have to admit, it produced a little skepticism. However, it didn’t take long for love to replace that skepticism.
I spent numerous hours every day at CSCIR, whether it was my day or not for physical therapy, but for the rest of our time, Mom and I explored downtown Detroit. Our apartment was centrally located and just a few blocks (or a quick ride on the People Mover) from anywhere one might want to go – Comerica Park, Ford Field, the River Front, Greektown, Campus Martius, Joe Lewis Arena, and the Eastern Market.
|Tigers Game at Comerica Park|
I spent many hours per day at the Campus Martius basking in the sunlight and reading my book…took in numerous Tiger games at Comerica Park…spent too much money at the Greektown Casino…and hit some great concerts/shows at Ford Field and Joe Lewis Arena. (Unfortunately it was neither football or hockey season while I was there, but if it was, I can guarantee you that I would have partook in those activities.) I can’t even begin to tell you about all the restaurants, but I will say if you are ever in Detroit, you must get some authentic Cuban food at Vicente’s, a steak at Michael Symon’s Roast, a coney at Lafayette’s, and some barbeque from Slow’s!
|Eastern Market with Jason and Heather|
In just five short months, I grew to love this “miserable” city; it has allowed me to get stronger, meet new friends, become more independent, take in some excellent entertainment, and most of all, it has allowed me to grow. I’m not saying that Detroit is all unicorns and roses, but with good always comes with bad…and believe it or not, Detroit has plenty of good, you just have to scratch beneath the surface a little!