Sometimes it's more than just memories, though. Is the real reason some residents are defiant about calling Cass Corridor "Midtown" a strike against gentrification, a preservation of the culture of the neighborhood, or both? And why do we pick and choose depending on the news? We call it Midtown when a bougie macaroni and cheese place opens, but it’s Cass Corridor when someone is stabbed and carjacked.
Still, the lines of where Cass Corridor ends and where Midtown begins are blurry for many, one of the many reasons (that, and the wholesale rebranding thing) there’s still a divide. We’ll revisit this conversation in a few years when we’re deciding between Midtown, Cass Corridor, and "the Arena District."
The Midtown/Cass Corridor debate may never end, but I'll tell you what: a swift, verbal smackdown to whomever is trying to rename parts of Mexicantown and Southwest Detroit. Springwells Village? The Garment District? I guarantee we’ll keep calling it whatever the neighbors want to call it, no matter how much developer-friendly nomenclature is forced upon the area.
We Detroiters are indeed stubborn about our traditions. Like the rest of Michiganders, we put unnecessary 's-es on store names (see you guys at the 8 Mile Meijers?). Six Mile is six Mile, even if the sign says McNichols. We'll always call things by the original name. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to pick out some fuzzy boots for Movement -- er, make that DEMF.
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Aaron Foley is the author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass, editor of BLAC Detroit magazine, and probably knows more about Detroit than you.