Does Detroit Belong to Suburbanites, too?

A Dearborn resident shared her thoughts in the Detroit News on what it means to be a "real" Detroiter.

Dearborn has a confused relationship with Detroit. Sharing much of the city's border, there are both reasons to celebrate and be wary of Dearborn's closeness to the city.

But does Detroit belong to suburbanites as much as it does Detroiters?

Dearborn resident Julie Altesleban argued that it does in a recent opinion piece for the Detroit News. Altesleban, a Garden City native who has lived in Dearborn for years, has also often worked in Detroit, and has no problem professing her love for the city.

"What ticks me off ... is when the townie hipsters act like commuters like myself aren't Detroit enough for them or the city," she writes in the News, adding that those who judge subrbanites for loving Detroit are just as bad as suburbanites who judge the city itself.

Dearborn residents often point their fingers east to Detroit when discussing the city's crime rates.

Property crimes, one Patch user commented on a recent crime report, "are mostly in the north eastern neighborhoods within a few blocks or less of Detroit. If that is where the crime is occurring most, that’s where more patrols and police presence is needed."

Conversely, Dearborn hotels celebrate their convenient closeness to all the city's attractions—Comerica Park, Ford Field, the casinos, the arts.

In fact, three Dearborn hotels recently won top honors from the U.S. News & World Report for being some of the best hotels in the state. The high ratings, in part, were due to their closeness to downtown attractions.

"Guests frequently praise the hotel's prime setting, characterizing it as both safe and convenient to downtown Detroit," the magazine wrote in its description of The Henry Hotel, which was named the best hotel in Michigan for 2013.

Is Dearborn lucky to be so close to Detroit—and should suburban residents celebrate the city?

As Altesleban puts it, "Detroit is a gorgeous, amazing city. It's big enough for all of us to share."

marooned in Dbn February 11, 2013 at 08:26 PM
1. Who are the "townie hipsters" that you mention? 2.Who specifically are the people who are accusing you of not being "Detroit enough", and why ? 3. Why are you upset to the point that you mention this to an electronic newspaper, in the spirit of having suffered an emotional slight ? Have you ever lived in Detroit ? I have. Twenty six years as a matter of fact. I was THERE during the '67 riot. I was THERE during the disastrous Coleman Young era. I went to Detroit Public Schools for 4 years, escaping to a Dbn private school in '68, after the MLK assassination. I even moved out of that city to Dbn in '82, witnessing everything in between. And yes...I judge that city because I have a right to...I was there. I stand beside myself in amazement when ppl who were always a "suburbanite" , are all of a sudden "Detroiters", and experts of the city. I will tell you the real reason why Detroit did not let Belle Isle. go to the State for 99 years. It is because the current "administrators" of that city, namely it's city council, refused to countenance it. It would be considered a "loss of face" to the current population, although it's Mayor was fully supportive to the transfer. I do not give a whit about Detroit. I do give a whit about Dbn. As for the "hipsters", I believe I know who they are. I believe that for all their "smugness" they had better still be extremely careful because THEY are NOT counted as a "true Detroiter" either.
laplateau February 12, 2013 at 01:25 PM
MID... you have some good points, many of which I agree with, but so do many of us, including Ms. Altesleban or Jessica Careras, who never actually lived and suffered as Detroit residents. Yes, unfortunately the word "suffered" is certainly justifiable. We, as Dearbornites and fellow Michigan residents, not only have to share a border, but in the long run, end up having to share the state's resources with a continually failing city. Detroit continues to shoot itself in the foot in electing unqualified officials to represent the citizenry that end up only representing themselves. I don't believe that one needs to have ever actually lived in Detroit to have valid pro or con views as a city bordering Dearborn, and its effects upon us..
Johnnycakes48128 February 12, 2013 at 04:10 PM
marooned in Dbn, I think you're missing the point here. 1.) "Townie hipsters" are mostly white, educated suburban transplants to Detroit that look at other suburbanites who support or profess their love for the city as not authentic enough, or fake. 2.) It is the "townie hipsters;" the nouveau Detroiters. They do it because it is part of their smug, "I was here before it was even cool (although not for too long - that would have been scary) so therefore you're not cool enough and your opinion doesn't matter" DNA. Look up hipster at urbandictionary.com. It might help add some context. 3.) I can't speak to the authors intent, but I have seen this phenomenon myself. It's obnoxious and, more importantly, counterproductive. We suburbanites always bemoan Detroit's insular culture and yet when suburbanites finally decide to repopulate the city, so many of them adopt the same backwards, dismissive disposition that at one point they criticized.
marooned in Dbn February 12, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Johnny...Not missing the point. To write that rant, I had to be extremely careful to be politically correct. But, since you mentioned a certain color,so be it, that's the group I meant. Another word is "gentrified".
Karen Mauti February 13, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Regarding the question if Detroit belongs to the suburbs, too, I say yes. Detroit is not a walled city that brings its drawbridges up at night. What happens in Detroit can ripple throughout the region, the state, the country, etc. Look at the auto bailout for instance. And since Detroit is a significant part of Wayne County, it has a symbiotic relationship with the other municipalities in Wayne County, and also the other counties as well. We don't say that Auburn Hills has a great basketball team called the Pistons, we call the team the Detroit Pistons, even though their home is in Auburn Hills. The Lions headquarters is in Allen Park. The zoo is not called the Royal Oak zoo, but the Detroit Zoo, even though it is in Royal Oak. You can't cut one city out of the mix and ignore it. When I tell people I'm from Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, all they here is "Detroit", so I have to be an ambassador and play up the good aspects. Everyone already knows the bad aspects. So, I do believe we are all in this together.


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