Detroit vs. Cleveland

The Tale of Two Cities On the Rebound

I got the chance to hear Christopher B. Leinberger at the 2008 Historic Downtown Cleveland Luncheon Forum at Windows on the River. I have a lot of thoughts on what he had to say during his presentation and I’m going to get his book.

He talked about two cities I know a lot about having lived in both of them, Cleveland & Detroit. I recall leaving Cleveland back in 2000 and relocating to Motown. I didn’t know much about it other than the obvious. I was surprised seeing what the downtown had to offer. Truly, not much. You could get lunch but after everyone went home to the ‘burbs, the city rolled up the sidewalks. You could walk there but you’d do so with people who likely didn’t have a home.

There was a river, Greektown neighborhood, Comerica Park, Hockeytown, Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Hall and even casinos. Why did everyone want to go home to the ‘burbs and not support the city? Detroit had so much opportunity to get people downtown and rebuild what was a great area of commerce, business and living. I’d cite all of the development and positive energy I saw leaving Cleveland. Who could forget what happened to the area when the city celebrated its 200th anniversary? The Flats came alive, the Warehouse District was growing, seeds were being planned in the East Fourth Street neighborhood, anchored by then Gund Arena and Jacobs Field and a could be restaurant/bar called Flannery’s. I wanted this for my new home in Detroit.

Believe me, all of the metro Detroiters heard my Cleveland stories about how they were missing the boat (no pun intended) and not developing their downtown and waterfront. I realize how much I hate traffic and driving. Everything in Metro Detroit is at least a half hour away from everything else. Every time a friend wanted me to visit, they always lived a half hour away. Why couldn’t things be more centralized?

Now, I’m living back in Cleveland and hearing about Detroit’s renaissance (albeit much later than city planners expected). I’m hoping Cleveland can now follow in Detroit’s footsteps back to urban revitalization.

p.s., I plan to have more on Mr. Leinberger’s presentation tomorrow.

Transformers Movie: More Than Meets The Eye

Okay, (I hate starting posts this way but…) when I got an advanced copy of the “Transformers” DVD, I can’t say I rushed home to watch it. So on my normal Sunday night viewing, I popped it in to the DVD player. I was impressed. Will it win any Oscar awards, probably not but if you’re looking for explosions, action and humor that’ll have you laughing aloud, go out and pick it up. Director Michael Bay is a genius with this kind of film.

The movie includes some well known stars like Jon Voight, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel (who is the same age as me but looks a heck of a lot better — more reason to workout more) and the kid who steals the show, Shia LaBeouf. During the extras DVD, you see what a good improvisator he is. You’ll also recognize Kevin Dunn and Anthony Anderson.

That aside, I think I’m in love with Megan Fox, she is absolutely gorgeous. The female casting director confirms this fact. She does a great job playing the girl you think is a spoiled hottie but then you learn she has an interesting backstory to her. The other female co-star, Rachael Taylor isn’t bad on the eyes either.

There was a surprise for me in writing this post. Parts of the film were shot in downtown Detroit. I got my first tip-off to this when I saw the “Fort Street” sign during part of the battle scene. Of course, that sign had to look familiar to me, I used to work down the street at WDIV. Michael Bay also used Detroit for his 2005 movie, “The Island”. During “Transformers”, he used the Michigan Central Depot for one scene.
You can find a funny Easter Egg on the “Extras” DVD that pokes a little fun at Michael Bay.

I don’t watch too many movies but this one piqued my curiosity. Pick it up at the store if it does yours, I don’t think you’ll be sorry.