Searching Detroit for wild times, but skittish about straying too far from the beaten path? Then look no farther than the former Henry’s Party Store, conveniently located at the corner of Philadelphia and John R, one block east of Woodward, in the city’s historic Milwaukee Junction neighborhood. Though the building has been out of commission since an October fire, Henry’s is still a place to roll with the good times. “People sit in front of the store and drink,” says Darryl Newsom, 45, who is himself draining a bottle of malt liquor when the Abandoned Structure Squad moves in.
Mae Ellen Henry, Oak Park resident and owner of the property, says that she is “supposed to meet with someone soon” regarding sale and renovation of the building; but she has yet to receive the perfect offer.
“Eventually, I will have it demolished,” Henry says. “It’s not like it’s a danger.”
Indeed, the warning against loitering painted on the building’s alley side gives a phone number for nearby Hutchins Middle School.
Meanwhile, Newsom hopes that the fortunes of his neighborhood, whose only licit economic activity is another liquor store at the next street corner, will rise with a possible reconstruction of Henry’s.
“Imagine what this place could be,” Newsom says, with a lack of self-consciousness sure to charm those searching for local flavor.
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