Seeing a greening Detroit
May 4, 2009 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Detroit MeFites - help me watch Detroit rebuild/regreen, and also see the best of the "urban prairie"

I'll probably be spending a week in Detroit in late June / early July and, after reading through the Detroit-tagged posts, still have some questions:

1. I'm interested in urban farming / gardening projects like Earthworks - what lesser-known projects should I look into visiting?

Are there particularly beautiful or impressive community gardens or farmers' markets that I shouldn't miss? Restaurants serving locally-grown food that I need to hit?

2. I'd like to see some of the much-hyped "urban prairie" - what spots / neighborhoods are especially worth checking out? Anything beyond the usual precautions that an out-of-towner blundering around in a rental car needs to be aware of?

3. Although it's not much to look at, 2126 Pierce Street caught my eye - are there other experiments with green / salvaged materials buildings or land re-use that I should check out?

Bookstore, Greek and vegetarian restaurant, coffee place, thrift/junk shop, gallery, and June/July event recommendations will also be gratefully accepted!
posted by ryanshepard to Travel & Transportation around Detroit, MI (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Here's the link for 2126 Pierce:
posted by ryanshepard at 12:54 PM on May 4, 2009

Here's a list of things off the top of my head.

The Fourth Street Fair usually happens on a Saturday in mid-July and is worth checking out if you're around.
I can't remember which events are happening in Hart Plaza around that time. Not the Hoedown or the Technofest. - if you ride by the corner of Jefferson and Woodward there's an electronic calendar across from the Joe Louis fist that will tell you.

I highly suggest spending time in Southwest Detroit. It's one of the best neighborhoods in the city, a lot of examples of renovated 1920's apartment buildings. Go to Lupita on Bagley and 21st or 22nd? great cheap tacos.

Don't know much about urban farming in the city. Check

On the weekend Eastern Market (corner of Russell and Gratiot) is worth a visit. Check out the barbeque stand on Russell in front of Bert's. Other restaurants you will want to visit in the D include Slow's BBQ on Michigan and 14th across from the train station. (although you may be vegetarian? not much great vegetarian food in the D, you'll want to try Ferndale, most likely.)

Bookstores, check out John King books located near 6th and the Lodge freeway (M-10). I don't think they are open weekends? in any case call ahead.

Urban prairie areas include parts of the far east side, many neighborhoods located between Mack and Jefferson have this kind of feel. There's a huge plain where public housing used to be at Joy Rd. and Southfield Fwy on the westside. Driving up the length of Rosa Parks (12th) or down 14th Street, some of the worst areas in terms of abandoned houses/buildings, but not as expansive as eastside areas. Shouldn't be a problem driving around these areas. Just be aware, and drive around during the daytime.
posted by ofthestrait at 2:11 PM on May 4, 2009

Pegasus is my favorite greek restaurant in Greektown. +1 on Slows'. They do have a veggie sandwich.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:15 PM on May 4, 2009

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