Detroit Utopia

Posted by jdg | 4:25 PM | ,

This building was a favorite of visiting photojournalists for years to illustrate stories about Detroit. It's right across the street from the iconic train station (a mecca to visiting photographers), and I suspect they felt the words "auto parts" and obvious abandonment said something about the state of the city's economy or industry or something.

At some point during the recent spate of art happenings/installations and cleanups of Roosevelt Park (including the Imagination Station and the Hygienic Dress League's "no vacancy" sign on the Roosevelt Hotel) somebody made this subtle and awesome change to the abandoned storefront. It's been this way for months, but I finally got a shot of it that I like.

Does anyone know who did this? I'd love to give him/her credit.

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The German Shepherd House, Grand Blvd.

Posted by jdg | 2:05 PM

So there's this house on Grand Blvd. that my kids love because they must have ten German Shepherds and they're usually all out on the porch or in the yard. They're sort of like the Bumpus Hounds in A Christmas Story. The other day I drove past and only saw these two sorry fellows out in the cold, but I got a nice shot of that one looking at me from the porch. Next summer I'll try to get one where they're all out there with their arms over the side watching the traffic.

I guess that's one way of discouraging would-be burglars.

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Sweet Juniper Bushes, Lafayette Park

Posted by jdg | 11:51 AM

Our neighborhood is full of these juniper bushes, technically Juniperus Virginiana (or Eastern Red-cedar). There are juniper berries growing on them most of the year, and when we walk past I often grab one and bite down on it to get that little taste of gin. Unfortunately this is also the dog's favorite place to relieve himself, so I make sure to pick a berry growing well above the reach of dog piss.

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I can't believe I've been visiting Pittsburgh for fifteen years and I'd never once been inside any of the Carnegie Museums. We finally went on this last trip and the kids got to see the collection of dinosaurs, which is one of the best around. Nothing like the massive skeleton of a Jurassic monster to make you feel like a kid again.

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We were heading from Oakland to my father-in-law's place in the South Side hills when we saw this weird church tower on a corner floating alone against a modern office tower. I looked up what it was, and it turns out the tower once belonged to the Bellefield Presbyterian Church (built in 1889), which merged with a nearby church in 1967 and most of the original structure was torn down in 1985. The developer of the office tower sawed off and sealed up the original bell tower, though it contains no bell today. There is no real reason for it to be there, but there's something kind of lovely about that, isn't there?

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