This week I went down to Detroit on three different days. I’m pretty sure that’s a new record for me. But I love the city, so I don’t mind at all(:
On Wednesday, my AP Literature teacher arranged for our class to go see the Marriage of Figaro at the Detroit Opera House. My parents have been taking me to ballets, and a few plays, ever since I was little, and since we’ve never seen an opera before, I invited them along with my class.
We decided to make a whole evening of it, and since it started at 7:30, we left our house at 4:30 to eat dinner down there. Every single time we go down to the Opera House, we always try to eat at a restaurant across Broadway called Small Plates, but every single time, it’s always filled. So we always end up eating next door at Detroit Beer Company, which is still really good (and I’ve never actually eaten at Small Plates yet). My mom and I both got fish and chips, and my dad got bread pudding for dessert, and they were both super good. And I thought I’d hate the bread pudding because of the raisins (yuck!), but it was awesome.
While we were eating, my mom noticed that we could see the costume room of the Opera House from our table. The dress forms were right next to the windows! And as we were waiting outside for the rest of my class later, we watched musicians from the orchestra walk past us and enter the building. It was really cool to see those behind the scenes aspects of the performance.
The opera was incredible and super funny. I loved the music the orchestra played, and it was amazing how loud the singers could sing, considering they weren’t wearing microphones. I was really excited to see the opera because I’ve wanted to see one for a while now, but I’m not really sure what I expected from it. I think it exceeded whatever expectations those were though; I’m really glad we went and I’d definitely see another.
When my dad and I were out shopping Thursday evening, we heard on the radio that the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Detroit was the next day. I immediately said that we should go because we had missed it the previous year. He said yes right away, and the next evening, after babysitting, we were in the car, taking the 25 minute drive down to Campus Martius.
I guess this week was pretty much full of surprises that Detroit has given me because I really don’t know what I expected the ceremony to be like. It was basically the NYC Ball Drop on a smaller scale. People must have come from all over the counties surrounding Wayne. My dad said there were probably 100,000 just in the area surrounding the giant Christmas Tree. There were times when we were pressed up against multiple people so closely that we couldn’t move! I’ve never experienced something like that before, and even though it was insane, I’m glad I got to. I love seeing all the different kinds of people in the city, even though my city is fairly diverse, and seeing them all in good spirits even though they’re standing on each other is really nice. No one should be upset at a holiday function. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?
I also didn’t expect there to be so many lights on the tree. It was so pretty! When the crowd counted down for the switch to be flicked, and all the lights went on, everyone started cheering. But then they went off! Someone yelled that “someone didn’t pay their DTE bill” haha. But don’t worry, they were turned back on almost right away. I had originally thought that the tree wasn’t very big, but it looks so much larger with all its lights on.
Getting out of the crowd of people was almost crazier than entering it. One lady grabbed my arm and started pulling me and my dad along to get everyone moving. I’m so glad it was only us two that went. Having to keep track of my mom and my brother as well would’ve been too much. I still don’t understand why or how people brought their children with them. I also think that my dad and I handle those types of situations the best out of the four of us. When we first got in the crowd I was making sure that we stayed together, but when we were trying to leave, I told him to meet at the building in front of us if we got separated. And five minutes later, we did. We didn’t meet up again for another ten minutes– and both of us had probably only moved about fifteen feet! On my way out, I even passed a guy in a wheelchair! That, along with the strollers and wagons parents brought, still blows my mind. We kept laughing at how large the mob was– it took up the entire width of Woodward circling around the park! After that, we decided that if we come again next year, we’ll come up Woodward, by the river, or Cadillac Square. But do not come down Monroe Avenue.
Dad took me through The Belt on our way back to the car after drinking cider and taking photos in front of the tree. It’s a really cool alleyway with some restaurants and graffiti artwork. We didn’t take any pictures there, but I’m thinking about taking some of my senior photos there later this week. I absolutely love seeing new spots of Detroit. It makes me realize how little I’ve really seen of the city. A lot of that is due to my parents wanting to keep us out of the ghetto, but Detroit has grown so much since I was little that those ghetto places we avoided ten years ago, are cleaned up and bustling now. I love that so much. It makes me incredibly proud of the city and after all it’s been through, it is trying its hardest to become the city it used to be when my grandparents were young. While I wish that I could’ve experienced it at its peak like my grandma and grandpa, I’m glad I get to experience its growth now.
My mom’s birthday was on Sunday, and because she graduated from Wayne State, my dad, brother, and I decided to get her a sweatshirt from the campus Barnes & Nobles. We originally planned on going to B&N before the tree lighting, but because I was asked to babysit last minute, we had to go on Saturday. I’m glad that we ended up going the next day though; we got to spend more time driving down Woodward in the rain.
My dad drove us downtown to go to the new Moosejaw and Under Armor on Woodward after shopping at B&N. I don’t remember the last time I was in this section of the city because it looks so different. My mom told me a few days ago that Woodward used to be a big shopping district, like Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and it’s really starting to look like that again. There’s only one empty lot, leftover from the Hudson’s department store building that was knocked down years ago, and apparently another building is going up there, so I’m excited to see how the avenue will look with every lot occupied.
We also drove past the new Little Caesar’s Arena on our way in and out of downtown. At first I wasn’t very excited about the new construction when I heard about it. It’s so close to downtown, the Fox, the Opera House, Comerica Park, and Ford Field; traffic is bound to be even crazier. But the building looks so cool and there’re shops surrounding the actual arena, with another shopping district going up in the lot next to it. It’s also nice that now, with the Pistons moved back to Detroit, all of Detroit’s sports teams will be located in the same city again.
Oh! When my dad turned onto Woodward from our street, he asked if he should take I-75, or drive straight down Woodward, and I told him to drive straight down Woodward because I don’t think we’ve ever done that before. I can see why because we had to drive through Highland Park, which isn’t in the best shape anymore, though I think it’s improved a bit since I was little. But as we were entering the Boston-Edison District (a historic neighborhood of Detroit filled with giant homes), a police car stopped in front of us and made us turn off of Woodward and onto Chicago Boulevard. It was really cool looking at all the old mansions in the neighborhood, but I wonder why we weren’t allowed to continue down the street.
I love exploring unfamiliar areas of a city I’ve spent my entire life visiting.