Posted by: Kath Usitalo | February 16, 2012

Surprise! America’s Comeback City Is Detroit

Detroiters love love love the Traveler magazine story about their city (photo of Detroit Love mural by Kath Usitalo)

The cover shouts CUBA! but the March/April issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine also promises a story about “America’s Surprise Comeback City.”

Flip to page 46 to learn that destination is Detroit.

“Rise and Shine Detroit,” the dozen-page exposé of “the Motor City’s new spirit,” has local boosters bubbling with excitement over the prominent, and relatively positive, exposure.

Traveler Editor in chief Keith Bellows, writer Andrew Nelson and photographer Melissa Farlow came to Detroit to officially premiere the story at a reception at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.

Bellows said that when the magazine’s editorial team debated “the next great American city” Detroit made sense.

“Travelers are looking for where to go to have an authentic experience.” Bellows said of the city, “It’s cool. There’s an artistic quality to what is happening. Yes, maybe Detroit has been stalled for a while. But boy, it doesn’t look like it’s stalled now.”

Photographer Farlow was able to put a different spin on even familiar subject matter like the world-famous abandoned train station: the ornamental grasses in the foreground of that shot fairly glow. Check out her view of Detroit people and places in the magazine’s online photo gallery.

Nelson, who penned the story, lived in Detroit as a lad but now calls New Orleans home. On his return visit he found an “undeniable energy emanating from Detroit.” In his article he pokes around Corktown and Eastern Market and quotes locals who say, “Detroiters don’t like fancy-pants food,” and, “We’re revving our engines. Detroit’s moving again.” He describes a bicycle ride around Belle Isle, the city’s island park. He samples the food and nightlife and peeks at architectural gems.

Addressing those assembled at the Book Cadillac reception Nelson summed up his impressions of the city. “It’s true, these still aren’t the best of times…but it’s not the worst of times. There’s something stirring here—and I think you feel it.”

Around the room heads bobbed in agreement.

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  1. Nice recap. Great article.

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