DETROIT: THE WHEELS OF MO­TOR CITY TURN AGAIN

FOOD AND FASH­ION LEAD FOR­MER RUSTBELT RUIN TO A MO­TOWN RE­VIVAL.

GQ (Australia) - - TASTE&TRAVEL - DETROIT

Morn­ing has bro­ken, and so has this city. It’s early on a crisp Satur­day in spring­time Detroit and the signs of crum­bling grandeur are vis­i­ble through a se­ries of half-hearted snow flur­ries. Cy­cling along the old rail­way line, which bi­sects the heart of this once-great city, is like ped­alling through a post-apoc­a­lyp­tic film. Dis­in­te­grat­ing ware­houses and of­fice blocks fringe GQ’S route, all silent rub­ble, jagged win­dows and roof­less de­spair. On first ap­pear­ance, this is the legacy of a city built for two mil­lion peo­ple; a city sub­se­quently de­serted by two-thirds of its cit­i­zens. But all is not as it seems in this hugely un­der­pop­u­lated rustbelt city. Fur­ther along the bike path, ap­proach­ing the old­est district – Cork­town – are clear signs of life. Out­side one ren­o­vated home, Detroit’s flag is fly­ing proudly. It bears the city’s 211-year-old motto: ‘Sper­a­mus me­liora; resur­get ciner­ibus’. ‘We hope for bet­ter things; it will arise from the ashes.’ Here at least, that phoenix ef­fect ap­pears to have ig­nited. Cork­town is the van­guard of Detroit’s cur­rent re­vival – a slow but def­i­nite re­birth, now build­ing se­ri­ous mo­men­tum. Af­ter the city de­clared bank­ruptcy in 2013 (as a re­sult of debts of about $26bn) Detroit seemed to many, ob­servers and res­i­dents alike, to be a com­pletely lost cause. But a com­bi­na­tion of in­cred­i­bly cheap prop­erty, vast tracts of avail­able land and gen­er­ous tax breaks have seen the wheels of Mo­tor City fi­nally start to turn again. The au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try (which once made this the rich­est city in the US) has largely gone, re­placed by a new driv­ing force of en­trepreneurs, artists and chefs. They’re flock­ing in from places like New York City, Chicago and San Francisco in their thou­sands, hope­ful of start­ing busi­nesses for a frac­tion of the suf­fo­cat­ing rents back home. In Cork­town – re­cently named by Time Out as one of the 10 hippest com­mu­ni­ties in the world – that process is ap­par­ent. An old pawn­bro­kers on one cor­ner has been

ABOVE: DETROIT’S SKY­LINE – A STARK RE­MINDER OF THE OLD, FAT DAYS. LEFT: GOLD CASH GOLD HAS TRANS­FORMED FROM FLAKY PAWN SHOP TO CULI­NARY PORN.

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