MCCI’s Favorite Detroit Memories

Today is Detroit’s 317th birthday and to celebrate, we wanted to share some of our favorite Detroit memories with you.

  • Mariisa Franz. “I was working with the Belle Isle Conservancy and was able to go down beneath the Scott Fountain with my team members. I learned so much about Belle Isle and how it takes two people to run the fountain, which is why it doesn’t run all the time, and how there used to be a speakeasy under the aquarium from prohibition times! During this time we were tasked with gaining memories and facts about Belle Isle, and how special the island is to the city. My Oma, who had moved to Detroit from Germany when she was fifteen, said that the city used to hold events at the fountain where they would play music, dance and shine lights on the water. She also met my grandfather where John R. meets Woodward, at a dance club.”
  • Garrett Ekstrom. “I was once doing some culinary mercenary work at Small Plates across from the Opera House. We were all out back taking a break when we suddenly watched as full sized toilet fly out of the window from the 10th story of the building behind us and exploded on the ground. We looked up to see a man stick his head out the window and yell ‘I’m the president of the United States of America!’ But he was not the president.”
  • Lisa Hubbs. “When the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997.” She also happy to have attended the parade downtown after their victory.
  • Maggie Jackson. “I love seeing the constant, and potential, changes happening around the city. It is like Detroit took a deep breath in and is waiting to exhale something wonderful.”
  • Mark Lane. “When I was young, my parents would bring our family downtown every summer to board the Bob-Lo boat and head down the Detroit River to the Amherstburg amusement park.”
  • Lauren Lesniak. “My family is Polish and we went to the Polish American Night at Comerica Park a few years ago. I loved being able to celebrate our family background while watching the Tigers play. It was a night full of fun and many laughs.”
  • Paul Lukasiewicz. “My favorite moment for me was riding shot-gun on my bike as an escort for the physically-challenged wheeler athletes in my first Detroit International Marathon. The start was dark, blowing rain and piercing cold winds as we began the ascent of the Ambassador Bridge. As the runners caught up to us, a platoon of severally-wounded vets ran up and fell out of formation to encourage my struggling wheeler. These guys gave so much and yet had so much more to give. It was a proud moment for me as I witnessed these American heroes in action!”
  • Paul Manzella. “My favorite Detroit memory is from February 2006. The Saturday before Super Bowl XL I went downtown to see how all the visitors were enjoying my hometown. Super Bowl XVI was at the Pontiac Silverdome and the entire Detroit area was criticized for not doing a good job of hosting that event. I was hoping Detroit was doing a better job this time around. To my surprise downtown Detroit was HOPPING. Despite temperatures in the 20s and a significant snowfall, that evening the entire downtown area was full of people having fun, standing in line to get into restaurants, and enjoying the entertainment being offered. My daughter was at school in Chicago and I had to send her photos to show that Detroit could be a “real city,” like Chicago, under the right circumstances. I was proud to see out-of-towners enjoying themselves in a city that had been down for far too long. The energy and spirit that filled downtown that weekend is now present most times in the city. That gives me hope that our city will continue to develop and thrive.”
  • Pat Radice. “Mine is watching the RiverWalk develop. I worked in the Ren Cen when the Detroit River bank met big rocks, then an ancient chain link fence, then the street. There was no promenade; not way to walk near the river that enabled you to experience its expansive beauty. Then, bit by bit, the imposing chain link fence disappeared and the new walkway was constructed, creating an inviting and delightful space along the water with parks and fountains and public seating for all to enjoy. Going to the RiverWalk on a sunny Sunday is like going to a festival!”
  • Jennette Smith Kotila. “During the hubbub of Super Bowl XL in 2006,  I was working as a reporter at Crain’s Detroit Business. I was lucky enough to receive a media pass to attend the game itself. It was awesome! Then, as I was walking back to the office from Ford Field to write a post-game column, I was struck by the scores of limousines corralled near the Crain Communications Inc. HQ on Gratiot. Limo after limo after luxury SUV. Not an everyday sight in Detroit. It is a mental image that stays with me. Detroit was on the international stage that week.”
  • Kambren Stanley. “Eric (my fiancé) and I came down to see the tree in Campus Martius last year at Christmas time and there was so much happening. The buzz of the people and holiday was so perfect.”
  • Phil Swantek. At eight years old, he went to his first Tigers Game. He has a strong, vivid memory about walking down the aisle and seeing the grass illuminated by the lights for the night game. He also remembers being flabbergasted that at the time, hot dogs were only served with mustard and he kept wondering where the ketchup was.
  • Anthony “Whitt” Whittaker. “When I was younger, I would miss a day of school to attend the Auto Show with my grandfather, dad and uncle.” Whitt also enjoys going to the annual family picnics on Belle Isle.
  • Greg Zonca. “Going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade with my kids.”
  • Terry Oprea. “Covering the Republican National Convention in Detroit. The best part was hearing a unsubstantiated rumor that George Bush was nominated to be Reagan’s Vice President while standing at a urinal in the Post Bar down the street from Cobo Hall.”

Detroit is more than a city, it is our home. With so many great memories of a great city, we all have a reason to love Detroit. Are you a proud Detroiter like we are? What is your favorite Detroit memory? Share it with us on social media and see what others have to say!

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