Category Archives: Uncategorized

Welcome to the D

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I’ve felt comfortable and welcome in Detroit from the start, albeit I had never lived here before. I had only been to the better off fringes, the burbs as people call them. North of 8 Mile Road, which demarcates the city limit.

But the cityscapes of Detroit that I have explored over the past weeks were eerily familiar to me. I knew them. I liked them. For milliseconds I felt exhilarated by just walking through Detroit. In my mind I was at home. The streets and houses were of a rawness that radiates its own beauty.

The cityscapes reminded me of East Germany after the Berlin Wall fell, and with it the old economy, including thousands of jobs. Factories turned into skeletons, plight moved in. Cities became chess boards of occupied and abandoned blocks.

Over the past 25 years, since Germany’s reunion, some blocks, some industry and some jobs have come back. Lately, the recuperation has accelerated. At least in the bigger cities. Leipzig has turned into “Hypezig.” Every time I visit my old neighborhood another small store with organic food, abstract art or stylish knick-knacks has moved in. It’s a d-light. Which brings me back to the “D,” as some people here refer to their city lovingly.

In Detroit plenty of spaces are ready for new occupants, quirky projects, artists, pioneers, and entrepreneurs. An atmosphere of departure permeates the city, and is in fact just the most recent application of the city’s motto: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus – We hope for better things; it shall rise from the ashes.” But rather than waiting for change, as our tour guide said, Detroit is a big city that is small enough for you to make a big impact. Simply by being here, you can be part of the change.

This post is the beginning of a series of photos I took while discovering Detroit. The first batch depicts the old Michigan Central Train Station and the excavation sites of the Wayne State University Archaeology Department around it in Roosevelt Park.

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Seattle off the beaten track: Museum of Communications

To continue my series of industrial sites around Seattle, next is a visit to the Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications (@museumofcomm) in the Georgetown neighborhood. Credit for finding this treasure trove goes to J.

The museum is housed in a cube-like building. It contains an impressing collection of especially telecommunication artifacts. It has a hands-on exhibition of the history of the telephone since 1876 and, as its website states, virtually all of the equipment is operational. The clicking noises of the switches definitely add to its atmosphere.

Friendly expert volunteers are eager to explain what the curious items are about, how they worked and how phone technology has changed. Plus, it is for free. A great place to visit around Seattle off the beaten track. Just make sure you plan ahead. It is open every Tuesday 8.30 am to 2 pm and every first Sunday of the month 11.30 am to 4 pm.


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SoDo Seattle

After now having lived around Seattle for several months in a row (and inspired by a couple of friends to revive my blogging), I want to share some photos I shot in  industrial sites around the area. This series depicts one of my favorite areas in Seattle: SoDo.

SoDo stands for South of (King) Dome, the old stadium. It is one of the industrial parts of town and reminds me a bit of the former industrial parts of Leipzig.

I love the huge cranes along the port, which look like big elegant giraffes to me. I love the faded color aesthetics suggesting better days some buildings might have seen in the past. And I love the back drop of the city against its rusty Southern neighborhood where fancy bakeries (make sure to visit @MacrinaBakery) nod hello to newly opened marijuana shops across the street and where the green and white Starbucks mermaid watches on her throne over the buzzing city. But see for yourself below.

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