With Hope and Promise for the Future, Detroit Comes Roaring Back

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Originally published by Austin Monthly

It was midnight at the Magic Stick and The Garden Bowl [in The Majestic] , a bowling alley–dive bar hybrid in Midtown Detroit, and a touring all-girl punk band had just taken the stage. The sound of clanging pins meshed perfectly with their wild, gritty sound, and in between fervent head bangings, I could discern a neon-red “You Can’t Stop Detroit” decal affixed to the lead singer’s guitar strap.

I had seen the same motto emblazoned across T-shirts, storefront windows and bumper stickers throughout the streets of Detroit, which, following its 2013 bankruptcy, began billing itself as “America’s Great Comeback City.” The skeletal remains of its bygone industrial heyday, like the Packard Plant, the largest abandoned building in the world, are still visible throughout the Motor City, but a new generation of intrepid artists and entrepreneurs only see new opportunities, taking advantage of cheap rent and newly vacant historic locales to breathe life back into a town that’s known for pulling itself up by its bootstraps.

Ramona Flume explored the Motown Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD, Detroit Mercantile Co., Shinola, The Heidelberg Project, & the GM Ren Cen.

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