Detroit is a city that has seen better days. There are miles, and I mean MILES, of abandoned houses and businesses. These falling down structures are inter-spaced with overgrown vacant lots. The roads are often in shockingly good shape, many of them appear brand new. Of course, the fact that about 25 percent of the city’s population has left for greener pastures means the roads don’t get as much wear and tear as they once did.
Driving in Detroit is a shocking contrast to driving in say, Chicago or New Jersey. Those cities are filled with insane people who drive like complete idiots. But what if everyone had a lane to themselves? It makes a huge difference. Driving in Detroit is like having the freeway to yourself. There are still people in Detroit, it isn’t really a post apocalyptic wasteland, but there just aren’t enough people here to fill all seven lanes that many of the freeways have. I never go out at rush hour, but whenever I do go out, the roads are smooth sailing.
I like graveyards. There is an amazing contrast between the historic cemeteries such as Elmwood, Mt Elliot, and Woodlawn and the surrounding areas. Urban decay is raging all around these fine old cemeteries, but they are well cared for. The grass was freshly mowed, there was no trash laying undisturbed at every curb, no graffiti covered every flat surface, no cars with flat tires sat at random spots. The world outside the gates, and in fact, right across the street, did have that post apocalyptic feel to it.
Unlike New Orleans or Atlanta, Detroit didn’t frighten me, it just depressed me. The many people I saw walking the streets of Detroit didn’t look like would-be muggers, they just looked like people walking because they didn’t have a car. When I stopped to take photos of the McGregor Public Library, I had two people ask me when I thought they were going to restore it. It looks more like it’s waiting for the wrecking ball than the restorer.
There are just way too many falling down buildings and way too much graffiti to stop and take photos of them all. There is more to Detroit than urban decay, but the urban decay is so omnipresent that you tend to forget everything else. Someone should buy the entire city and turn it into a Max Mad Theme Park.
These images were taken with my Olympus E-1. Many are HDR and processed in Photomatix and Lightroom.