He defended one of Detroit’s greatest eyesores and said it was “historic and did not look too bad.” Guess what he was talking about.
It was the old gutted out Michigan Central train station that has become the poster child for urban blight in Detroit. It sits there as an ugly monster between Cork Town and Mexican Town, a reminder of how great Detroit used to be and a reminder of how far down it has gone.
“You are too negative,” the man said. “You have to look into the beauty of things.”
I was shocked. My son and I enjoyed lunch at the Mercury Bar Thursday. As B sat in one of the booths the hulk of the train station lay over his left shoulder. He hates the train station and whenever he see it B peppers me with the same questions.
“When are they going to fix it up?”
“When are they going to tear it down?”
“What happened to the train station?”
I wish I had answers. But I don’t.
It used to be a great building. My family used to take trips to Chicago and New York from the train station when flying wasn’t as big and trains ruled the day. I got to peak inside of it before it closed and loved the hustle men and women going to their trains. My greatest memories were not inside the train station but outside of it.
There was a White Castle in front of the station and we used to get our 12 centers (that is what we called the burgers there until the price went up to 14 cents) and play in the park for a while before going home. It was so much fun and we got to see postal workers and other kids come out and lounge and relax. We loved playing tag and tossing the baseball around.
The park went into disarray for many years but you can tell somebody is doing some upkeep. It is actually not bad and there are signs of life in the area. Besides the Mercury Bar I’ve been to Slows for Bar be que and Sugar House for great drinks. I root for the area because it played an important part of my childhood.
It pains me to see that train station and would love to see the city return and it be filled with retail and housing. But now it is an eyesore. Even a kid can see that.