Last night we returned to Eastern Market After Dark, a perennial favorite rivaled perhaps only by Dally in the Alley as the best free outdoor event in Detroit. The event is presented by the Eastern Market Partnership, the organization that manages the district, and the Gilbert Family Foundation. DJs, food trucks, high fashion, low fashion.
It was a reminder of the before-times, when we used to always go to social events and occupy public spaces. It feels like we’ve returned to some sort of normal, but I’ve still consistently felt over the past year and some that we haven’t quite gotten to what really feels normal. It’s not a question of the public health angle, but rather a question of the social fabric fraying, as do our local municipal functions, as do the fabric of our federal government and our democracy itself. I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt a certain type of way, as they say, about El*n M*sk’s takeover of Twitter, a platform I used to spend a lot of time on learning and connecting with colleagues and co-conspirators.
But physical places do still exist, and EMAD is a great example of an event that brings people together to experience a physical space, but also to experience a stellar level of cultural vibrancy in a city that, I think, still needs to constantly be reminded of the value of walkable districts, whether cultural or commercial. The Eastern Market organization itself is spending a lot of time thinking about this for the future, which, at least according to their long-term planning, is going to involve some densification, and might even involve getting rid of some parking lots.