Newsweek says Grand Rapids is a dying city.

Coulda fooled me.

Do dying cities come together to make something like this?

It's a celebration of Grand Rapids. I couldn't think of a better song to represent what Grand Rapids is to me. It's the American Dream. It's a good 'ole, down home, mid-western city. It's forward thinking, family friendly, rich in history, and beautiful. It's not too big for its own good. It's like Goldilock's bed. Not to big, not too small, just right. 

And people say it's dying.

Er...Have they seen Detroit lately? If Grand Rapids and Detroit were injured on a battlefield, and a medic came to help Grand Rapids, GR would say, "What do you think you're doing! Look at Detroit! Detroit is dying! I'm fine, go help him!"

Michigan has a bad reputation for having a bad economy.

Well, I am a firm believer that the economy is what you make of it. It's like those stars you see after a camera flash. If it's to your left, and you look to the left, the further left it goes. But if you look right, the further right it goes. If Michigan's citizens look up, up Michigan will go.

And we are looking up. Especially in Grand Rapids.

Do dying cities have ARTPRIZE!?

Installation of Nessie
Art Prize is pretty much the coolest thing there ever was.  It is an art contest that anyone in the world can enter. You can. I can. Anyone. Artists from around the world use Grand Rapids itself as a canvas and during two weeks in September, people come and vote on the art. The winner wins $250,000.

As you can see in the photo, some of the installations are massive. There was Nessie, who lived in the Grand River for a few weeks, and now resides in a pond at the John Ball Zoo. Also, on top of the bridge is a table and chairs. This photo is from the inaugural Art Prize, 2009. But photos don't do Art Prize justice. You simply have to be there. Much of the art is interactive. You can play with it, climb on it, write on it, turn it, move it. It's art you experience. Of course, there is traditional art too, paintings, drawing, photography. And it's all over the WHOLE CITY.

"Castle Park"
I left Grand Rapids after high school, and only lived there on and off since. Now I live in Maryland, and I miss it terribly. I miss the layout of the streets. I miss the trees. I miss the downtown skyline. I miss the Grand River. I miss the West Michigan Whitecaps, our minor league baseball team. I miss Meijer and D&W and Taco Boy and Ogla's. I miss the White Pine Trail, Ah-Nab-Awen Park, (which we always called "Obiwan Kenobi Park") Eastown, Gaslight Village, Huff Park, and Castle Park (which has a real name, Hager Park, I think.)  I miss the city pools, Briggs, and Richmond. I miss The Flower Maze, which is what I called the cemetery near my home when I was little.

I miss being so attached to places that I have my own names for them.

I miss not being nervous when I'm walking in the evening by myself, or when I'm home alone.  

I know I'm biased because Grand Rapids is my home.

But my city is not dying. 

1 comment:

  1. AMEN!

    GR is my adopted city, but I grew up in Lansing (which, um, is a dying city IMO).

    I miss the Christmas Tree Bridges, lit up at night over the river, with just a bit of ice creeping out into the rapids :)