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New York Mag Blows Up Detroit's Spot, Promotes Less-Than-Legal Offerings

This post authored by Nicole Rupersburg of Eat It Detroit.


[Photo from Honor & Folly.]

Good press is good press, right? Except not so much when the press in question highlights happenings that are on the DL for a reason. New York Magazine recently ran an online-only travel feature on Detroit. In addition to being in need of some serious fact-checking, the story is riddled with details that could spell serious trouble for some of the businesses involved.

Section One: Where to Stay
Glad to see Honor & Folly highlighted, and since Detroit is projected to have the strongest gains in hotel occupancy in the country in 2012, the highlighting of Detroit's more unique hotel properties here is respectable. But this is where homegirl needs her first fact-check: the veal sweetbreads are NOT part of Roast's "deeply discounted" happy hour menu. Oh but how we wish they were.

Section Two: Where to Eat
Russell Street Deli and Supino Pizzeria, double if predictable yay (all Eastern Market needs is a hotel and its own airport and it could be an entirely self-contained tourist trap). But here's where we say "nay:" Le Petit Zinc is NOT (bold, underline, italicize) a BYOB. In fact, there is no such thing as "BYOB" restaurants in the whole entire state of Michigan because the Michigan Liquor Control Commission absolutely forbids it. And you know what happens when a state-appointed authority says you can't do something and you go ahead and do it anyway? Le Petit Zinc has actually been heavily fined before for allowing people to BTheirOB, and any additional violations could result in permanent closure. So, you know, that's kind of one of those things where even if it IS happening, we don't really want to put it out there in print for a national audience.

Section Three: What to Do
Interesting assortment but maybe needs to be mixed up a bit for anyone who isn't in the city specifically for the urban eco-tourism. Also, can we get another fact check plz? Wheelhouse Detroit's custom tours are not offered every single day of the week and the urban ag tour referenced is offered precisely once a month, which is probably something that should have been noted in the article. Mayhaps it would have made more sense to simply list their regular rates of $15 for two hours and $35 for the whole day. Just a wee editorial suggestion.

Section Four: Insider's Tip
Yep, and there's a reason for that. The only reason these ClandesDine dinners exist is because they're kept on the DL. Probably it's not very likely that the DPD would start raiding abandoned buildings just to shut down a fancy-schmancy dinner party, but there have been plenty of cases in recent memory of cool underground Detroit things suffering from too much exposure and subsequently getting shut down. (The Pink FlaminGO! food truck and Theatre Bizarre come to mind.) And no, "asking around" will not secure you a spot. Unless it will? Do you have tickets to the next one? Can you get us some?

Section Five: Oddball Day
Astro Coffee, Avalon, Hamtramck Disneyland, the Heidelberg Project, Cass Cafe, Cafe D'Mongo's, Lafayette Coney Island: there is an Official Detroit Experience® check list out there somewhere and all these things are on it.

Section Six: Links
Whaaaa...Curbed? Curbed made the list? Awwww, shucks! WE TAKE IT ALL BACK!!!

To its credit, the story doesn't get full-on paint-by-numbers-y until the 5th section. And one can imagine a New York writer "discovering" unchartered territory such as the ClandesDine dinners getting so excited about unearthing "new" information about Detroit's super-cool underground scene she might have even peed herself a little, like a Yorkshire terrier shaking with anticipation. Overall this was actually a nice 'lil travel story for Detroit that doesn't quite so closely follow the same-old, same-old format. But, SRSLY: fact checking. It's not just for alcoholic junkie characters in novels set in Manhattan in the mid-'80s anymore.

· Discover Urban Renewal in Detroit [New York Magazine]