Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving is Here!

 
  
  
  
  
 
Hudson's Thanksgiving Parade, 1937 Credit Detroit News
 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Downtown Foodland

Speaking of the Lafayette Park Historic Neighborhood, a new grocery store opened last weekend just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Downtown Foodland, located at 1535 East Lafayette at Orleans, is owned by Keith Tansil, a 30-year veteran of the grocery business. Most recently, Mr. Tansil was the manager of the Metro Foodland, a Black-owned independent grocery store that has been located in the Grandmont-Rosedale area for many years.


The "Shops at Lafayette Park" Shopping Center has been in existence since the inception of the Lafayette Park Historic Neighborhood, but fell on hard times along with many areas of Detroit. The new, full-service, 140,000 square-foot Downtown Foodland will be a great anchor for the resurgence of the shopping center and shopping in Detroit.

The Kroger grocery chain left the City of Detroit many years ago, and our own Farmer Jack Grocery Stores, which held on throughout the darkest days of Detroit in the last few decades finally closed their doors a few years ago. But while Detroiters were bemoaning the dearth of major grocery chains within the City limits, a number of very good independents opened for business or quietly continued to offer great shopping options in Detroit.

I will be featuring different independent Detroit grocers over the next few months in the Tuesday "Shopping in Detroit" posts; you'll be happily amazed at the options! James Hooks, the owner of Metro Foodland, once told me that people like to shop for groceries no more than 1 1/2 miles from their home. With the number of independents like Downtown Foodland slowly filling the void in the City, that wish may soon come to pass for Detroiters.

The Downtown Foodland has 40 employees and is open from 8 am to 9 pm Mondays through Saturdays and 9 am to 6 pm on Sundays.

Photo Credits: HB Meeks, tellusdetroit.com

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Detroit's Unique Neighborhoods: Lafayette Park

Lafayette Towers Apartments East (1301 Orleans...Image via Wikipedia
If you're driving around downtown Detroit, you can't miss it: the 78-acre Lafayette Park Group of housing options. There are apartment co-ops called the Pavillon, low-level townhomes, and the seminal Lafayette Towers. Lafayette Park is on both the City of Detroit and National Historic Registers. Designed by world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the site was intended to diversify the residential area, although the historic Black Bottom neighborhood on which Lafayette Park is built was razed with the enlargement of the I-75 freeway. The Lafayette Park site is the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe buildings in one place in the world.





 



Lafayette Park Detroit includes shoppingImage via Wikipedia




The area is intended to be a "walkable neighborhood", with extensive greenspace and a network of pedestrian walkways to allow residents to shop at the mini-shopping plaza and attend the public school without crossing a major thoroughfare.  Each of the three types of housing in Lafayette Park was designed with Mies van der Rohe's signature use of steel, glass, and concrete. Lafayette Park is located just east of downtown near Chene Park, Belle Isle, and the I-375 connector to I-75. The shopping center, which had been in decline, has begun a renaissance, including a new full-service grocery store. The boundaries of Lafayette Park roughly include: Rivard, East Lafayette, Orleans, and Antietam.


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Friday, November 21, 2008

Free-Thinking Friday: White Collar Bailout vs Blue-Collar Loan...

 
Carl Levin (D-Michigan)
Photo Courtesy Detroit Free Press
OK, so the auto execs should've thought twice about going to Washington in separate $20K/trip corporate jets. Of course the auto companies need to change a lot of things about their business model. But is anyone thinking about not just the "rich guys at the top" but the millions upon millions of blue-collar workers and retirees who depend on the auto companies for their livelihood? What about the millions of auto-related jobs with small businesses around the country who depend on the auto companies? What about all of the other small businesses that will fail because they won't have any customers? Why punish all of them because of what the bigwigs did or didn't do?

Raise your hand if you have a family member who works now, or who is retired from one of the Big Three or a related company. Raise your other hand if that family member bought a house, raised a family, donated to charity, sent their kids to college, and just basically lived the American life by keeping the American economy going. Now, put down one or both hands if that family never ever made a mistake thoughout life. See all of those hands raised?

The auto companies are asking for a "bridge loan"; the re-tooling for the future starts next fall--the plans are already in place. The unions have cut their wages and benefits to the bone. Huge world-wide companies can't change overnight, but changes are coming.

But because of vengefulness, short-sidedness, and frankly, elitism on the part of Republicans in Congress--yes the same ones who spend $10 BILLION a MONTH in Iraq--the white-collar financial companies got their bailout, but the blue-collar auto companies can't get a loan without rankor and vitriol.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Doin' It in Detroit: Ice Skating at Campus Martius Town Square



Fooled ya!  Campus Martius in downtown Detroit looks like this in the summer...but it's late fall now, and the Ice Skating Rink will be open for the season starting this weekend!  You can always check out the Campus Martius area 24/7 with the Campus Martius Webcam:


The Hours for the Ice Rink at Campus Martius:
 
FRI. NOV 14, 11am - Midnight
SAT. NOV 15, 10am - Midnight
SUN. NOV 16, Noon - 8pm 
Lace up those skates and get some winter exercise!  Skate rental is available.
The 2008 Holiday Tree Lighting will be Friday, November 21st, with Carriage Rides, World Class Skating Exhibitions, and the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign Kick-off.
 
Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press



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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Detroit Semi-pro Sports Teams

We know about the Detroit Professional Sports Teams: the Tigers, the Pistons, the Red Wings, the Shock, and the (um) Lions, but did you know that we have semi-pro teams that play regularly here?  You can find out more about the independent and semi-pro teams here at OurSports Central:
 Check out the websites of these teams!
 
 
The Detroit Panthers Premier Basketball League 
 

 
The Detroit Ignition Xtreme Soccer League

Motor City Machine Junior Hockey

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: Made in Detroit Apparel



Kid Rock is an international superstar with roots in Detroit. He and his brother, Billy Ritchie, have teamed up with the Made in Detroit Apparel Company to produce and sell authentic "Made in Detroit"-branded apparel and accessories. Made in Detroit has been a Detroit staple since 1991, but since the Ritchie Brothers took over the brand, the product line has been expanded to include limited edition items for Wayne State University and authorized retailers in Detroit, the Detroit Metroplex, and Los Angeles.

The profits for the Wayne State-branded items are donated to a special foundation started by Kid Rock to fund scholarships for music students at Wayne State. Those items are available online at Wayne State, online at WDET, and at the Barnes and Noble College Store on the Wayne State Campus.



 

"Made in Detroit" items are available in Detroit at the Showtime Detroit Clothing Store on Woodward and Palmer near I-94 and the WSU campus, as well as many stores in the Detroit Suburbs. Hoodies, t-shirts, hats, and accessories are available for men, women, and youth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Detroit Unique Neighborhoods: Palmer Woods

Palmer Woods is another beautiful westside Detroit neighborhood listed on the National Historic Records. Composed of approximately 289 homes built mostly in the early 20th century, Palmer Woods is 188 acres bounded by Woodward Avenue, Seven Mile Road, Strathcona Drive, and the Sherwood Forest Neighborhood.

Palmer Woods is named after a 19-century United Senator, Thomas W. Palmer, who owned land on both sides of Woodward Avenue from Six Mile Road to Eight Mile Road. He donated part of his land to develop Palmer Park, and also some of his land was eventually used for the Michigan State Fairgrounds in the early 20th century. After Thomas Palmer died in 1913, a prominent real estate developed named Charles Burton purchased the remaining Palmer acres and began the development of an exclusive enclave for some of Detroit's richest and most famous residents. Each lot is unique in size and scope, and there are few sidewalks in the elegantly designed district. In 1938, the Palmer Woods neighborhood received a merit award from the Michigan Horticultural Society as the finest platted subdivision in Michigan.

 
Bishop Gallagher Residence
Although many of the homes in Palmer Woods were constructed between 1917 and 1929, some were built after World War II, with the most recently built home in 1956. The most prevelant architectural style of the spacious Palmer Woods homes is Tudor Revival, and the largest home in Detroit, the Bishop Gallagher House, is 40,000 square feet. The former home of William Fisher, of the Fisher Body Company and the Fisher Building, is 35,000 square feet. Other architectural styles in Palmer Woods include: Neo-Georgian, Mediterranean, Modern and Craftsman.

Many prominent citizens had homes in Palmer Woods at the turn of the 20th century, including Charles Burton himself, two of the seven Fisher brothers, and John H. Kunsky, the founder of the United Artists Theatres. The Bishop Gallagher Residence was built for the Fisher Brothers and later given to Bishop Michael Gallagher and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. Later both Edward Cardinal Mooney and John Cardinal Dearden lived in the home while they were the Archbishops of Detroit.

Today, Palmer Woods Historic District is still one of the most beautiful and exclusive neighborhoods in Detroit, home to artists, executives, politicians, and physicians. There is a very active homeowners' association, and there are many neighborhood activities and home tours throughout the year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Auto Companies Go Begging

This week, the Big Three Detroit Auto Companies will continue begging the U.S. Government for a bail-out...why?  Here's a great article by Pulitzer Prize Winning New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman: can you say "Ouch"???? Or is "Pretty, please?" a better phrase?


 
  
  
  
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shopping in Detroit: via Chicago--ComfortCake!

"Poundcake so good it tastes like a hug!"  Thanksgiving is almost here, and how about something else different on the table this year? Shameless plug: My sister Amy Hilliard, is a native Detroiter and a Cass Tech, Howard University, and Harvard Business School Graduate. Now living in Chicago, she makes and sells (retail and wholesale) the absolutely best poundcakes in the world! A few years ago, at our annual Thanksgiving family reunion, she made one pound cake for us adapted from our ancestors' recipes. Two days later, after we had consumed our seventh cake, Amy decided she had to go into business, and a few months later, ComfortCake was born!


From Amy's ComfortCake Website:
ComfortCake® poundcakes are premium, made-from-scratch pound cakes… just like your Grandmother used to bake. We combine all natural ingredients with our unique flavor layering effect to produce the rich, irresistible flavor in all our varieties. One bite is all it takes to rejuvenate your soul, scintillate your senses and make your palate purr! You'll know why we beat the leading grocery store pound cake hands down in blind taste tests.


ComfortCake comes in several delicious flavors: Awesome Almond, Luscious Lemon, Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip Fantasy and Sugarless Sweetness® Luscious Lemon Slices. You can get classic cakes, liqueur cakes, minibundt cakes, gift baskets, and slices! If you place your order NOW, you'll have the best poundcake in the world for your Thanksgiving Dinner! We sure will! 


The ComfortCake® Company, LLC.
1243 S. Wabash Avenue, Suite #201

Chicago , IL 60605
312/922-7403/Phone
312/922-6965/Fax
866/264-2253 (CAKE)/Toll Free


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Friday, November 7, 2008

Old School Friday: Antoine Cadillac

I will be starting a new Friday theme: "Old-School Fridays". Every week in this slot, I will profile Detroiters who have made a difference in and for Detroit throughout history.


A good start would be with the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. Cadillac was a career military man, serving first in France and then in "New France" near present-day Maine. He was moved to Michilimackinac, near Montreal Canada, working to make that area a commercial center. Attempting to set up several regional fortresses to defend against the British takeover of the area, Cadillac finally received approval from the King of France and the Governor-General of Canada to establish a fort along the lower straits. Le Detroit (meaning "the straits") was chosen because of the fertile land, more hospitable climate (compared to upper Canada), and river location. Cadillac and his party landed on July 23, 1701, and set up the foundation for Detroit on July 24, 1701. This date is considered the founding date for the City of Detroit. The official name of the fort and settlement named by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac is Fort Pontchatrain du Detroit.


Because the City of Detroit was been under the flags of three nations, France, England, and the United States, many people mistakenly believe "de-troit" is French for "of three". "Le detroit" actually means "of the straits"; signifying the many waterways of Detroit. The influence of France is still apparent in Detroit with the names of many streets, especially downtown and on the eastside. Only *real* Detroiters can correctly pronounce street names such as Cadieux, Gratiot, Livernois, and Rivard!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

President-Elect Barack Obama Sounds So Good!

President-Elect Barack Obama



Wow! Doesn't that sound good? Do you still have goosebumps like me? As you read this, President-elect Obama will be receiving his first White House National Intelligence Briefing! Wow! I feel more secure already...someone who is actually intelligent receiving the intelligence briefing!

As we allow the feelings to take hold and start coming back down to reality it will help to remember how Barack Obama won this election. First of all, the results are solid: at least 367 Electoral College votes (EV), 97 more Evs than needed; and 52% of the popular vote, a full 6 percentage points above John McCain and a one point more than a majority! No court challenges; no hanging chads; no questions of legitimacy!

But as proud as we are about the successful outcome on its face, it is good to remember that Barack Obama won this election based with superior strategy, unwavering vision, and unparalleled integrity.

* He could have been "the angry Black man"; he wasn't.
* He could have used a scorched-earth strategy against both Hillary Clinton and John McCain; he didn't.
* He could have lied against his opponents, spread smears and distortions about them, or called them everything but a child of God; he didn't.

Barack Obama held true to his management style of No Drama with Obama. Looking back on his almost 2-year campaign, there were no meltdowns, there was no staff infighting, no scandals, almost no gaffes or mis-speaks; and any and all obstacles or setbacks he encountered were handled with class, grace, and style.  With the entire Obama family, what you see is what you get. As several TV pundits said on Wednesday, there will be no "Monicas" or "Heck of a job, Brownies" waiting to upset the apple cart. He knew what he needed to do to achieve his objective, and he marched on with laser-like focus.

President-elect Barack Obama learned of the death of his beloved Toot early Monday morning, and less than an hour later, strode onto a rally stage and continued to lay out his vision for America; but you could see his eyes were puffy and had black circles under them. Later that day, at his 4th or 5th rally of the day, a few tears rolled down his cheeks, but he maintained his composure and focus. It is now Thursday morning, and he still hasn't had time to grieve the loss of his last parent.

Tuesday morning, he went to Indiana one more time, because he felt he could turn a red state blue--and he did!

As proud and excited as we are about the election of Barack Hussein Obama for President of the United States of America, we are just as proud and inspired because of how he won the election.

President-elect Barack Obama. Yes, it still sounds so very good.
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