Jack Lessenberry's "Days of future passed" (Sept. 3) truly moved me. I was downtown for Obama's speech Monday and remember feeling part of something very powerful. The streets were spilling over with Detroiters filled with passion, excitement and hope. The scene chilled me to the bones and sped up my heartbeat. To see a city torn apart by political corruption and economic woes pull together with will to rise above inspired me, to say the least. Your article brought me back to the morning that I saw Detroit rise from the dead and to the moment when, for the first time in a long time, the direction of our country made me proud. —Anna Schneider, Detroit
Jack: Thank McCain!
I was going to write a letter calling Jack Lessenberry vile names. Then, I thought, what a great country! A patriot like John McCain sat in the Hanoi Hilton for five years so guys like Jack could write slimy columns about him.
I'm sure this letter won't get printed because people might think I'm questioning Jack's patriotism. God forbid. —Terry Hicks, Redford
Out of the park
I enjoyed Larry Gabriel's "Lost in Paradise" (Aug. 27). I love going downtown and I've always enjoyed walking around Harmonie Park, but I've never thought of it as a destination. Mostly I end up there walking around before an event at the Detroit Opera House, Gem Theatre or Music Hall. It's the little triangular park with the waterfall fountain that is the focus of the area, a hidden oasis. It's just off Gratiot, but how many people actually venture there, except those looking for cheap parking?
I can't see the city doing an effective rehabilitation of the Harmonie Park area. It's been said that artists are the key to revitalizing a depressed area. But that usually happens on a small scale, with some artists and musicians gathering together because the rent is cheap, then people start going to see the art, someone starts a music festival that gets suburbanites down there, then a restaurant opens nearby, then non-artists start moving in the area because it's a bright little center of hope. Hamtramck is a good example of it working, and I have high hopes for the Russell Industrial Center.
When the city of Detroit and corporate interests get involved, it's usually doomed to failure because there is no vision. The city's vision so far has been a smash-and-level approach; instead of helping homeowners who wish to renovate the existing, the city instead condemns vast tracts of land and levels a whole area in hopes a developer may build some condos. It's why there are blocks and blocks of open land downtown. Heidelberg should be a booming neighborhood by now, but the city had no other vision beyond bulldozers.
—Allen Salyer, Troy
It's about time
Liked the review of Brian Wilson's new effort ("Brian's back," Sept. 3). From all the articles that I have been reading about this fine release, it seems that the American press gets it (the album, the sound and its roots) and the British press has simply taken a cricket ball to the head and can't remember what and where American music came from pre-1989. My two cents. —Lawrence Kelemen, Toronto, Ontario
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Send letters (250 words or less, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; faxes to 313-961-6598; e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.