Here’s the plan, Detroit. You start a campaign in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, etc. offering 5 years free rent if people will move to the abandoned factories of Detroit.
Show them the tens of thousands of square feet they’ll have for their live/work space. Show them the flat, deserted streets, perfect for fixed-gear bike commuters. Show them the rusted, burnt out shells of cars, completely free for their guerrilla street art collective to make use of.
It will be an adjustment. The old timers won’t like them at first. They’ll complain about the loud music thundering from the old Getty Station-turned-mixed-use-art/music venue. They’ll question the ability of a 25,000 square foot artisnal mustard store to attract enough customers to stay in business. They’ll reminisce about the days the park used to be enjoyed by families instead of a LGBT kickball league.
But things will change.
What was once a depressing Salvation Army Store catering exclusively to shoppers teetering on the edge of homelessness will become the hottest retail opportunity in the neighborhood, selling estate jewelry and mock-fur coats to herds of attractive girls with sleeve tattoos and Warby Parker glasses. The old corner bar, kept in business by a dwindling cliental of leathery drunks, will find new life as 20-something freegans pour in the door every weekend in search of an “authentic Detroit spot.” Even the faded graffiti literring the husks of buildings torched for insurance money will find that it is no longer the scribblings of a futureless urban youth, but rather a valuable cache of urban artwork demanding attention thanks to the efforts of a newly-local Tumblr photoblogger.
Like the ancient Britons left behind when Rome withdrew from the island in 383 AD, the hipsters will seize the ruins of that departed power and lay the foundation for a glorious new city. Londinium is a failure, a ruin, the decaying corpse of a civilization no longer able to sustain itself. But London will rise in its place.
And eventually the locals who stay will find that their neighbor’s moldering 3-family house just sold to an ESTY-rich lesbian couple for $1.1 million. The trash-strewn abandoned lot at the end of the block has become a community garden growing produce to benefit the Kites For Kids program at which a “master kitesmith” teaches local kids the art of DIY box kite construction. Even the mustard store is thriving after the identical twins who own it abandoned the mustard game and turned the space into a high end, indoor farmer’s-and-flea market. The old locals will come to love their vibrant, quirky new neighbors.
You know what you have to do, Detroit. You are a great American city and if you proceed with this plan you will live to see another bright, hopeful morning!
It’d also be nice to thin the herd here in New York. There’s only so many cage-free duck egg purveyors a population can support, ya know?