Detroit can mean many things. Technically, it is the largest city in Michigan, that fabled, troubled — and lately, heavily documented — metropolis of more than 700,000. For news writers, it can mean Detroit’s big auto companies. Call it “Motown” and it conjures memories of the city’s musical heyday. But for many in southeastern Michigan, it’s our region, spilling out from the ancient river settlement (founded way back in 1701) to the bluffs of Mount Clemens to the parklands of northern Oakland County to the shop-lined streets of Ann Arbor to the blue-collar towns downriver. The area sprawls over more than 1,200 square miles, encompasses four counties and more than 3 million people. It’s anything but monolithic, and offers so much to do and see that even locals sometimes forget what’s in their own back yard. For this year’s Annual Manual, our handy “user’s guide” to the Motor City, we decided to go in a different direction than we typically do. Instead of 10,000 pages of listings, we wanted to make something that we hope is actually kind of fun. We’ve got paper dolls wearing the coolest threads you can find locally, our (non-FDA approved) Detroit Food Pyramid, a primer on touring Detroit’s ruins, advice for clueless male shoppers, a Detroit mixtape, the lowdown on under-the-radar theaters, info on locally-crafted brews and much, much more. Yes, for plenty of people, “Detroit” is just a punch line. But whether you’re a new resident, a visitor or just a local yokel looking for the bigger picture, the more you learn about our region, the more it demands your grudging admiration. With that in mind, we offer you this peek under the hood.
Flip through a virtual edition of the 2014 Annual Manual, or peruse the articles below.