'Urban Wasteland?' David Brooks of NYT Hasn't Seen Corktown Recently

September 24, 2014, 9:47 AM by  Alan Stamm

The upside is that David Brooks mentions Detroit during a New York Times op-ed page dialog with fellow columnist Gail Collins.

The downside is that he refers to one of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods near downtown as an example of "urban wastelands."

The Manhattan outsider's unawareness surfaces during a back-and-forth about emerging businesses and commercial bright spots in New York and elsewhere. Brooks writes:

The cities are wonderful. I was just in Philadelphia, and it was the same. The dead parts of town now have vibrant restaurants. In D.C., middle-class neighborhoods like Brookland are sprouting bars, coffee shops and other gathering spots. Even Detroit has restaurants like Slows Bar-B-Q, which are destination restaurants in the middle of urban wastelands.

Yes, the man clearly needs to visit before popping off.

If Brooks came, he'd see new Corktown restaurants, bars, two distilleries, a wine tasting shop, galleries and a bagel bakery within a half-dozen blocks of  Slows, as well as longtime businesses such as P.J.'s Lager House, Casey's Pub, Corktown Tavern and Nemo's.

Here's how the Downtown Detroit Partnership describes the district:

Charming and offering lots to do in little space, Corktown is also one of the hottest areas in Detroit for new businesses. A wide variety of businesses are opening or relocating on Corktown’s bustling stretch of Michigan Avenue. 

Among relative newcomers in the not-a-wasteland strip are Ottava Via, Two James Distillery, Motor City Wine, Our/Detroit vodka distillery, Mercury Burger & Bar, Brooklyn Street Local, Mudgie's Deli, St. Cece's restaurant and the Detroit Institute of Bagels.

But to The Times and a dismaying number of others looking in from afar, it's all about Slows. 

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