Detroit bashing is a popular national sport. No matter where you go, mention Detroit and people seem to feel it is their job to tell you what an awful place it is. Most have never been to Detroit but they still want to share with you the city’s ills.
Within Detroit and its suburbs this bashing is taken to a high art. It doesn’t matter if it is politics, the weather, crime, the poor roads, or the economy “Detroiter’s” have an opinion and are willing to share it.
What you must remember as a visitor is not to express your negative opinion of the city. No matter how many negative things a local says to you about the place, no matter how obvious you feel the city’s short comings might be just resign yourself to the fact that a negative word from you is not welcome. The quickest way to make an enemy in this town is to be viewed as an outsider trashing the city. This goes for those of us that have lived in the city and moved away also. When you left town you lost the right to say bad things about Detroit.
VERNORS ginger ale is the oldest soft drink in the US and it was born in good ol' Detroit City. If you have never heard of it or tried it, you should give it a chance when you're here. It's like regular Ginger Ale only a bit stronger (just like Detroit women). It will tickle your nose! Michigan mom's heated it up for us when we didn't feel good. It makes the BEST Boston Coolers! YUM!!!!!!!
There are many restaurants in the area, including local chains, that go by the name "Coney Island" .
They are usually little greek restaurants. The name "Coney Island" has nothing to do with the Coney Island in New York. Somebody way back probably thought it was a good marketing tool at one time....ANYWAY...
Detroit Coney Island Hot Dogs are not meant to resemble a hot dog from Coney Island in any way (are you following?). ....Detroit Coney Island hot dogs are topped with a thick, meat chili sauce - no beans. Ideally served with mustard and onions. AND a good coney has a natural casing hot dog...None of this ball park frank business! It has a light kind of crunch or pop...Koegle brand is the best....
Try some chili fries, too and a big, cold glass of coke.
For more confusion, check out this wikipedia page, which also touches on Cincinnati chili. The only mistake on this page is that it says coneys in Detroit have a cinnamon flavor....This is WRONG...Everyone knows that it's Cincy chili that includes cinnamon! Right??
My favorites are the American, Lafayette and Kerby Coney Islands. I'm not very fond of National Coney Island.
It is a local custom to bring dtownkitty gifts. It does not have to be a special day, either. Just gifts anytime. You don't have to live here to honor this tradition! Cash gifts are always acceptable, too. : ) Failure to do so could anger the gods. }: \
In Detroit, as well as most of the Midwest, we say pop instead of soda. I almost cringe when I hear pop referred to as soda. And while I'm on the subject, Faygo (a Detroit company) Red Pop is one of the best things on earth.
On major divided highways and boulevards in Michigan, the driver is not allowed to make a left hand turn. Instead, drivers on roads that cross the highway are directed to turn right. Within a 1/4 mile, they can then move into a designated U-turn lane in the median. When traffic clears they complete the U-turn and go back through the intersection.
This traffic manouver was initially developed along Telegraph Road (U.S. Highway 24) and 8 Mile Road (Michigan State Highway 102) in Detroit in the 1960s, with over 700 similar intersections deployed throughout the state since then. It is quite a rare occurance in other states- thus it has the name Michigan Left.
So we like to say...Most Michiganders, as well as some other midwesterners have an accent that sounds somewhat nasally. Is that a word? Any way, here in MI it sounds like a hybrid of a mild boston accent with a good dose of Canadian, eh? If you walked around with a broad smile while you talked that would be close.
Yes, everyone I know has a sinus condition (sInis candishin), but that's really no excuse!!! : . )
As you travel around Michigan, particularly Detroit, you are bound to see restaurants named Coney or Coney Island. Or you may see Coney as an item on a menu.
A Coney Island as a food item is a hot dog covered with chili, mustard and onions. A Coney Island as a dining establishment is a restaurant that serves these chili dogs.
So in Michigan, you can go to a Coney to eat a Coney. In other parts of the country these things are usually called chili dogs. Sometimes, though, you might see (out-of-state) restaurants offering a Michigan-style hot dog.
So now you are wondering how this amazing tradition might have been born...
Presumably the chili-covered hot dogs born in Coney Island, New York migrated to Detroit a century ago. People opened restaurants named after this namesake and at some point the name Coney Island-style hot dog got shortened to Coney Island or just Coney.
Usually Coney restaurants serve a variety of items such as sandwiches, burgers and typical American entrees. Since the Greek community is very prominent in this business you will frequently find Greek items such as Gyros and Greek salads on the menu as well. I highly recommend trying out a coney restaurant. Service is usually fast and prices are economical and these places often have character lacking in the typical chain restaurant.
If you were to go to just one coney island in your life, I recommend the Lafayette Coney. This is venerable coney dating back to the earliest days. (Don't go there if you don't want to eat hot dogs, though. That's pretty much all this place offers. The American coney next door has a couple additional items.)
When the wings killed our arch rival Colorado 7-0 in the division finals and went on to win the Cup in 02 the city set a side a day for a victory paride ovcorse it was a week day but that did not stop over 2 million people from playing hookie and coming downtown to party all day and in to the night, after all this is hocky town. and what made the cup finals was that the Hurricanes the other team were owned by the detroit company Compuware. FYI never say a unkind word about the wings. Sorry about the spelling and grammar I will fix it later
Coney Islands represent the finest of Detroit cuisine. Stay away from any big name local joints and avoid "ethnic" food at all costs (With the exception of Detroit's fine soul food restaurants). You may be enticed by a local to check out the fantastic and authentic Mexican food in Mexican Town, but avoid, unless you think "Authentic" Mexican food calls for ground beef burritos and salsa made with ketchup. Remember this, a well known chain of Mexican restaurants in Detroit is named "Chi-Chis", which is in fact a Mexican slang word that means "Titties". Ditto for arabic food. The late "LaShish" was the best that the large arab population could produce and it would be considered third rate on either coast.
Stick to the Greek food in greektown, Soul Food and any local Coney Island and you will be just fine!
Detroit is such a large metropolis that it has many neigborhoods which are small cities in themsleves:
Mies Van der Rohe
October 30, the night before Halloween is Angel's Night. When I was growing up in this area, this night was called Devil's Night because much mischief -- mostly in the form of arson of (usually) empty houses and dumpsters -- was taking place. It was only after I reached adulthood that I realized that this kind of mayhem was a uniquely Detroit phenomenon. In the 1980's there was an average of 500 to 800 fires reported during the days around Halloween. Finally somebody in the city administration decided that this might be a problem and instituted city wide patrols and youth curfews to curb the problem. I'm not sure what the latest figures are but I believe the incidents still number over 100 so some community-minded citizens are keeping this venerable tradition alive.
Also a must is the Cranbrook Institute of Art and Science (www.cranbrook.edu). I haven't been there in a while, but the last time i went it was awesome! They have laser light shows to music, an observatory and great exhibits.
There is a lot of angery people in Detroit. With the differences between white and black being a point of too much conversation, it is easy to get the impression that the civil rights riots never really ended... they just took a break. - My recommendation... forget the baggage of the locals and go to a soul food cafe. It's the mix of black and white that gives Detroit it's best character.
Drive like a maniac here and you'll fit right in! I'm only slightly exaggerating too. I will tell you one thing do NOT stop at yellow lights or you're bound to get hit from behind. Keep on moving unless it turns red and yet you'll still see some Detroit drivers passing right through. Being an Ohio driver originally I still have trouble adjusting to my 'Detroit Driving' and I'm quite sure I'm going to end up with a ticket in Ohio soon enough because I didn't switch to my 'Cleveland Driving' quick enough!