Walking Around the El Moore: Goodwells Natural Food Market

Walking distance from the El Moore is a neighborhood organic food store that was founded before organic food stores were a “thing.” That describes the Goodwells Natural Food Store, which has been a staple (pun intended) in the Midtown neighborhood since the year 2000 when “Midtown” was still known as the “Cass Corridor.” Founded by James Wood, who now co-owns the store with his son Jason, Goodwells is one of those “already-here” Black-owned Detroit stores that has survived the good times/bad times/good times again (?) roller coaster without much fanfare and even less acknowledged during Detroit’s Renaissance Part Deux. Goodwell’s is located right next door to the nationally-known Avalon Bread and is part of the bustling corner of Willis and Cass Avenue. Although just a few years ago, … [Read more...]

Walk on, El Moore!

Last year around this time, as construction was wrapping up on the El Moore, Kimberly Williamson and I wrote a four-post series on walkability in this blog. We considered how walkable life at the El Moore would be, looked at the broad benefits of walkable neighborhoods, explored walkability in Detroit more generally, and wrapped up with a reflection on how residents are the heart of sustainable, walkable neighborhoods. A lot has happened in the year since. The El Moore's first wave of residents moved in in July, and just a few months later, we saw the opening of the Lodge, which continues to welcome more and more guests from around the region and world. Today, both residents and guests alike are enjoying the benefits of life in our walkable district, running errands, … [Read more...]

Ralph Rinaldi remembers a Cass Corridor in full dimensions Part 2

  If you closed your eyes and listened to Ralph Rinaldi reminisce about the Cass Corridor that surrounds the El Moore, the way it used to be before Midtown was barely an idea, you would see it at first, then you would hear it and smell it. Then suddenly you’re there, looking around at a very different place in time. It is a counter-cultural neighborhood, but also exceptionally tolerant. A diverse neighborhood of artists, students and professors as well as junkies, pimps and prostitutes. But there was room for them all, and somehow they made it work… Because that's what neighborhoods do. This is Part 2 of a fascinating discussion with longtime Cass Corridor resident/activist Ralph Rinaldi. (Read Part 1 here.) The following is a slightly edited transcription. Mr. Rinaldi … [Read more...]

Great Things are Happening on Third Street!

It’s almost Spring here around the El Moore Midtown neighborhood, and as the robins return and the flowers start to appear, we start to shed our heavy winter wear and see what else is blossoming in and around the Cass Corridor. One of the many great things about Detroit is that a lot of the historic buildings have been preserved over the years, and so when new owners have new ideas for old buildings, most are structurally sound enough to refurbish. That’s what we did with the El Moore building, built in 1898, and that’s what’s happening all around us. This week, we are going to profile not one, but two, exciting new entertainment venues within walking distance from the El Moore: Cinema Detroit and the Shag Bar, both on Third Street. If you are a lover of indie films, you will also love … [Read more...]

Ralph Rinaldi remembers a Cass Corridor in full dimensions – Part 1

If you closed your eyes and listened to Ralph Rinaldi reminisce about the Cass Corridor that surrounds the El Moore, the way it used to be before Midtown was barely an idea, you would see it at first, then you would hear it and smell it. Then suddenly you’re there, looking around at a very different place in time. It is a countercultural neighborhood, but also exceptionally tolerant. A diverse neighborhood of artists, students and professors as well as junkies, pimps and prostitutes. But there was room for them all, and somehow they made it work… Because that's what neighborhoods do. An Education for the People “I used to go there in the mid '60s and everything was rip snorting around then. The anti war movement was the most popular thing going around, if you wanna call it … [Read more...]

Walking Around the El Moore: Detroit Clothing Circle

The Midtown District of Detroit, located near Wayne State University, is known for its beautiful historic homes and multi-unit buildings, some of them dating back to the 19th century. Looking forward, Midtown and its businesses and residents are working hard to make Midtown and the surrounding Cass Corridor neighborhood into a walkable community. The El Moore, which is located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and West Alexandrine, is one of those 19th century historic buildings that has been beautifully restored as a model of urban sustainable living. The residents of the El Moore are enjoying more and more opportunities to walk and bike to local entertainment and cultural venues and to a variety of retail outlets. One of those very unique retail establishments is the Detroit Clothing Circle, … [Read more...]

Thanksgiving Day Parade – Priceless

My grandson (Tamere, 5 years old) and I attended the Thanksgiving Day Parade along Woodward this year.  It was just the two of us.  Grandma and Grandson. He was very excited, asking all kinds of questions, including, "Will Santa be there?"  I told him that, "He certainly will be there, he is the last one in the parade."  This was a concern for him as he wanted to know, "Why does Santa have to be last?" I explained that Santa wants to make sure that all the people that want to see him will be there before he makes his appearance. For a November day in Detroit,  there was good weather for the parade, overcast but 50 degrees. So we left the El Moore at 8:45 AM and sauntered down Alexandrine to Cass, then over to Woodward and were right on time for the beginning of the parade. Not only … [Read more...]

My First 150 Days and Beyond at the El Moore

This was supposed to be about my first 90 days at the El Moore, but I was too busy enjoying all the summer activities, since I've moved to the El Moore, that I forgot to write this 90 days ago. Thus far, living here has been an experience that leaves me feeling absolutely delighted that I made the right decision in making this my home. Because it is home. Don't miss that big house at all. I made a trip back to the old neighborhood recently and it felt alien to me. I couldn't wait to get "back home." I'm making new memories here that I couldn't have imagined. My living space just about takes care of itself and gives me the opportunity to enjoy my environment and surroundings. It's so easy to care for the space that maintaining it is a breeze, and leaves time for just enjoying … [Read more...]