Head East out of downtown Detroit on the expansive highway known as Gratiot and you will see some of the most iconic sights of Detroit: 138 Square Miles, a new book from photographer Julia Reyes Taubman. There is Heidelberg Street, where world-renowned artist Tyree Guyton has turned a broken neighborhood into an ideal art project that beckons tourists year-round. Further down the road rests the Faygo factory. The Detroit company has been putting its own unique stamp on the soda world for over 100 years. While Taubman’s book features images of these memorable cityscapes, her photography will also open up readers to lesser known scenery, businesses and, perhaps most important of all, Detroit residents.
Hidden deep in the recesses of the Detroit and Gross Pointe border, The Cadieux Café is a bar that dates back to the prohibition era and has deep ties within the local Belgian community. Upon entry into the watering hole, patrons will be inundated with old country pride as the bar has imported the homeland’s love of mussels and finely crafted beers. Yet, perhaps what the Cadieux is known for most is its distinct claim of having one of the few featherbowling facilities within city limits. The sport is a cross between bocce ball and horseshoes that has entertained Belgians and Detroiters alike for hundreds of years.
Despite often being overshadowed by its Westside counterpart, the Grande Ballroom, music historians and fans will fondly remember the Vanity Ballroom as a place that offered amazing jazz, swing and, later in the 70s, rock and roll. While some will remember the venue for performances by Benny Goodman and the MC5, no patron of the ballroom can forget the intricate Aztec-inspired architecture of Charles Agree. Captured forever in Taubman’s picture above, it’s easy to see the ballroom still sparkles despite years of decay that has left some parts of the building decrepit.
The Detroit Velodrome is the perfect sign of the city’s past, present and future. Built in 1969, the banked race track once was a place of international competition for bicyclist, but was largely left to deteriorate by the 1990s. In the 2000s, local bikers of all kinds banded together to recreate the glory days of the track and have been working on its refurbishment. Still in its early stages of redevelopment in Taubman’s photo featured in Detroit: 138 Square Miles, the case can be made that with Detroiters at the helm of any project, like that of the Velodrome, the city has many good things in store for it.