I find it all too fitting that my first look at something new in Detroit was a trip to the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. I must confess that it was not my first trip to the Renaissance Center or the restaurant, Coach Insignia, at the top of the center tower, but it was the first time since the summer that I had been there and a great place to start my new theme.
A friend of mine decided to start Fabuary, a look at new and challenging things to do one most, if not every, day in February, as a way of making the drab and disturbing month of February a little more exciting. For the first day, she decided to head to the top of the Renaissance Center to have a drink at the bar and kick off the month. I joined her and we each found a great drink to sip and enjoy while watching the winter storm blow in. I tried something new, a departure from my normal beer or whiskey drinks, and had a cocktail from the bar. I have no idea what was in it, but it was to my liking and I think that's all that matters.
The bar at the top is part of Coach Insignia, a restaurant that is a bit on the swanky side. If you are looking to grab a bite to eat, you'll want to make sure to wear a suit jacket and no jeans or you'll have trouble finding a table. Needless to say, in the two times I've taken the elevator up, I have yet to try any food. The elevator is on the third floor and goes straight up the center and tallest of the towers. And if you keep your eyes open, you can get a good view of Winsor and the river areas of Detroit.
Up at the top the bar is dimly lit and gives a 360 degree view of Detroit. It gives you a good chance to survey everything that Detroit is from up above. Base knowledge of the city gives you the opportunity to enjoy the 'spokes' that are the roads radiating from the center of the city. On summer nights you may be able to catch the game at Comerica Park, and on winter nights like last night, you can watch a winter storm roll in. It was chilling (literally) to watch the snow begin to swirl all around the towers and begin to wreak havoc on the people below.
Overall, it was a nice quiet night spent in good company, and an excellent beginning to Fabuary and the new look at Detroit. But, like anything in Detroit, there are two sides and rough edges. As my friend and I left the Renaissance Center, we stopped to look at a diagram map of the city that is in the lobby. The map is a cool 3-D image of the downtown area and gives you a good look at everything Detroit has to offer. While we were gazing at the streets, a woman approached us. She had a slight smell to her, poor teeth, and clearly was looking for some money. It quickly reminded me why people have such a fear of Detroit. At the center of the city, in the most pristine looking building around, a homeless person approached us for money. She had a good story and needed some money for a place to stay that night. I don't know if she told the truth and I rarely carry cash so I couldn't help her, but it reminded me that there is a lot of work to do in the city.
On a different wavelength, whether or not this woman was telling a true story or was simply begging I don't know. But what I do know is that she was clearly homeless and last night the weather was horrific. The wind was blowing so hard, the snow was falling so fast, and regardless of your views on homeless people and what they should or should not receive, I hope this woman had a place to stay. Every person should at least have that much.
So, yes, Detroit is rough. Yes there are a lot of things to work on in this city. And even though a quiet night was somewhat altered because of my last impression before returning home, Detroit has things that people are looking for in a city. If more people would give it a chance, the Coach Insignia could be the hot spot in elegant dining.
Until next time... thanks for reading.