Change is inevitable, even if it isn’t always appreciated. But change in Midtown, celebrated by many as a good thing, can be an even better thing when neighbors work together to bring that change about. And when neighbors realize that it’s going to take all of them to make the neighborhood reach its potential. The veterans as well as the new arrivals.
This is the last installment of a very eye-opening discussion about both Midtown and the old Cass Corridor with longtime residents Jim Carney and Bridget Tuohey.
“On the other hand, I’m actually glad that there are people who have better expectations about safety and security,” said Bridget. “I think that we really cannot err too much on that side. So it’s a different wave, and it’s a different approach than it was for us. A lot of us owned buildings, we weren’t just renters. We had a real stake in the neighborhood. Had to if we stayed more than 40 years. I hate the idea of people thinking that they’re rescuing my neighborhood, because…”
“Well that’s the point I was trying to make earlier,” said Jim. “There was a conversation taking place at the bar..”
“Why are you writing on my kleenex?”
“Because I didn’t want to forget it again,” Jim said as they both laughed.
Then he continued, describing an interaction he witnessed at Jumbo’s, a nearby bar which happens to be Jim’s favorite neighborhood watering hole. The conversation happened between an older, longtime resident of Midtown/Cass Corridor and someone whom he described as a newly arrived young hipster.
“The conversation went something like, ‘You know, I just don’t like the way the neighborhood’s changing.’ Then one of the hipsters, or however you wanna define that, says,’Well why not? There was nothing happening before we showed up’.”
“That’s insulting,” interjects Bridget. Jim nods, then continues with the response of the new ‘hipster’ he overheard at Jumbo’s…
” So the guy says, ‘Yeah, well, we are bringing Detroit back.’ Really? You? I’ve been here for 50 !!??#@! years, and I didn’t think it went anywhere, but thank you for bringing it back.”
“And yet, on the other hand,” interjects Bridget, “I have to say, because I’m in my 60s now, that I am very happy that I’m in an area that is becoming safer and more walkable, and more people with more choices to eat and to shop and to do stuff. I mean, it’s great. Not only from a safety perspective but from an investment perspective. The fact that I own this place is going to be worth a lot more than if these things hadn’t happened. So we have kind of a joke in the neighborhood, that we live in the Cass Corridor until we’re trying to sell some property. Then we live in Midtown. We keep it real.”
The point being, in conclusion, that perhaps there is a better way to describe what is happening in Midtown than by describing it as a rescue mission. Because while few would argue that there were certainly things that needed to be improved about the Cass Corridor, there were people living here at the time when it was supposed to be unlivable who have never left and who have no intention of leaving. People like Jim Carney and Bridget Tuohey.