Everyone asks this every year, but maybe it's time to have a serious conversation about it: Why hasn't the Woodward Dream Cruise been extended to the Motor City?
For gearheads and car nuts, the Dream Cruise is a spectacular display of fine engineering along Woodward Avenue, one of Michigan's oldest roads, a historic industrial route for the automotive industry and an example of American urban planning. For every city along Woodward except Detroit and Highland Park, it's a revenue windfall for all the tourists coming to watch.
Woodward Avenue starts in Detroit and ends in Pontiac, but the Dream Cruise travels through every Oakland County suburb on the route from Pontiac to Ferndale, which is on the Eight Mile border before Detroit. So for the non-Detroiters reading, this means a classic-car show does not go through the city most identified with American car-making.
OK, I can hear your "Ford's in Dearborn and Chrysler never was in Detroit" comments, and I can see that, but still — the largest city on the Woodward route doesn't benefit from the largest event to take place on that route?
I started thinking about this after a conversation started brewing in this post and pondered some pros and cons about bringing the Dream Cruise down some more miles.
1. Exposure to the DIA and other museums in Midtown, but especially the DIA. This would have been a good year for someone who's never been to the Detroit Institute of Arts, which is right on Woodward, to check it out. It may be the last time they could do so. Or not — if out-of-towners saw the wealth of art inside the DIA, they'd see how important it is for Detroit (read: Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr) to keep it off the table during bankruptcy proceedings.
2. A chance for tourists to see the changes downtown. Let's be honest: How many out-of-town cruisers never set foot in Detroit this year? With all of the new storefronts, the beach — the beach! — and the redevelopment in Midtown, no one could walk away from the Dream Cruise and say they didn't have a good time in Detroit. Let my fellow Detroit Jalop Ryan Felton give you a better explanation.
3. History in the Boston-Edison neighborhood. If I were on the planning board of the Historic Boston-Edison Neighborhood Association, I would have petitioned to move the big annual garage sale to Dream Cruise weekend and marketed like hell that Henry Ford and some of the industry's top suppliers and innovators lived there. And then you could tell people to buy up the Land Bank houses that have been sitting there forever.
1. Highland Park. Metro Detroit's little suburb-but-kinda-not-a-suburb that could is still finding its way after decades of economic turmoil, and it might depress the cruisers having to drive past the crumbling Model T plant. There currently are efforts to crowdsource funds to purchase and renovate the property.
2. The lack of bars on Woodward between New Center and Palmer Woods. It gets a little dry when you pass Midtown — save for the party stores — and since people like to sit around and gawk, McGregor Library or Dutch Girl Donuts probably aren't the ideal places.
3. Sponsorship and clean-up costs for the city of Detroit. Each city along the Dream Cruise route has to pay a fee to be a part of it, and who knows whether the city of Detroit can afford that right now. Even so, Cruise gawkers leave behind tons of garbage that no city wants to pay to clean up.
What say you? I'm realistic enough to believe that the WDC won't be coming to Detroit anytime soon, but should the option be on the table, at least? Take a tour along Woodward starting in Detroit with the handy Google Maps embed below:
[Photo via AP]