spreading pro-ypsi propaganda via metromode

MetroMode, the online newsletter on culture and economic development in SE Michigan, has been devoting a lot of time recently to Ypsilanti. In December, they came out and shot some really nice video of the Shadow Art Fair, and today they ran a pretty extensive feature article on Ypsi. I’m not sure where they got the idea that we have 50,000 residents, and I cringe every time they use the word “Hipsilanti,” but I think you’ll find that they did a pretty good job otherwise. (The City of Ypsilanti has approximately 21,000 residents.) Here’s a clip:

…But as Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a–changin’… .” Area transplants and U-M refugees alike are starting to tune into Ypsilanti’s down-to-earth, authentic vibe as more and more musicians, artists, bloggers and other creative types start proudly calling the city home. Blessed with a core of caring, active people who work hard to make it a good place to live and work, this community of nearly 50,000 people is becoming, as one local calls it “the Brooklyn to Ann Arbor’s Manhattan.”

…But with all those challenges come great opportunity. Over and over again, people making an impact in Ypsilanti say the same thing: a person with a good idea and the energy and creativity to pull it off can come in and have the room to make a real impact.
”More people are making a conscious choice to live here,” Maynard said. “They want to live in a town have where they have some agency to actually do something and make a difference. It’s not hard to break into the city and be a part of something and start something.”

And with that, my friends, my recent media juggernaut comes to an end. No more interviews are scheduled, and I have no intention of saying anything again that the “New York Times” will find even remotely quote-worthy. So, enjoy these links.

One last thought on Ypsilanti before I hand over the “Number One Booster” reins to someone else. If Ypsi is ever really going to turn around, in my opinion, I think we need to focus our energy in a few key places. I think we need to focus on arts and culture, the fact that we’ve got young creative energy, and that we have a strong network of independent locally-owned businesses. And, perhaps most importantly, I think we need to stop being afraid to draw the comparison with Ann Arbor… We’ve had an inferiority complex for far too long, and I think it’s time to let it go. As I watch this video of the Shadow Art Fair, and read this article about Ypsi, I’m convinced that we’ve got something here that they’ve lost. The momentum toward something positive is here. Ann Arbor is a great little town. It’s extremely successful. But, that success came at the price of authenticity and people are beginning to notice it… It’s true, we aren’t Ann Arbor, but sometimes that’s a good thing.

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19 Comments

  1. Ol' E Cross
    Posted January 24, 2008 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Overall, I suppose it was an okay piece. But how could MetroMode omit the fact that Ypsi is home to the world’s greatest supply of unicorn heads?

  2. mark
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Good point. I guess that fact just doesn’t illustrate our hipsilantiness enough.

  3. Crains
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Judging from the photo, you live in a space capsule stored in a warehouse. Am I correct about that?

  4. Andy C
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    “I think we need to focus on arts and culture, the fact that we’ve got young creative energy, and that we have a strong network of independent locally-owned businesses.”

    Isn’t this what the Cool Cities award was suppose to go towards? Any idea what happened with that other than banners?

  5. UBU
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I hesitate to correct someone who was quoted in the New York Times, especially since I live in the land of the terminally inauthentic, but I think you meant to write hand over the reins rather than hand over the reigns, although reigning over the Hipsilantians is what the Czar of the Ypsipantie was born to do.

    Your Grammar Checking Bro,
    UBU

  6. mark
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I actually meant it as in Claude Rains, the actor who portrayed the Invisible Man in the classic ’30s film. (The post, as you will recall, was about me disappearing from the corporate media for a while.) I spelled it the other way, however, so that the more sophisticated reader could enjoy the post on several levels. I’m sorry if it confused you. Perhaps I should change it though. It’s sad, but there might be others out there like you, Ubu.

  7. Bongo
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Ann Arbor can kiss my cold metal ass.

  8. Ol' E Cross
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Okay. Can somebody please tell me. Where the hell is Ann Arbor anyways? I’ve driven from Ypsi to Detroit a thousand times and still can’t find it. All I can figure is it’s stuck inside the big tire outside of Melvindale?

  9. egpenet
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    We HAVE to cut you off at the Corner Brewery, ol’boy! Nuff’s, enough!

    OK … Ann Arbor is South of Brighton … along US 23. If you get to Milan, you’ve gone too far.

    Sheeeeeeesh!

  10. referer spam
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Ann Arbor is the place where you can’t afford to buy a house.

  11. mark
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Andy C, I never liked the whole “cool cities”? thing. Maybe the thought behind it was good, that we should focus on retaining and attracting the young “creative class,”? but the execution was stupid. No offense to those responsible, but a banner saying “Hipsilanti is Cool” is about as cool as a kid whose mom buys him an “I’m Cool”? jacket. The banners should, in my opinion, be destroyed.

  12. mark
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Crians, I don’t live in the capsule. I just sleep in it.

    My adopted parents found me in it 30-some years ago.

  13. mark
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    And, for what it’s worth, I like Ann Arbor. The Michigan Theater, UM, the Hands-On Museum, the Botanical Gardens, lots of stuff. It’s great to have them in our back yard. I just think that we offer something equally as good. Lot’s of people in Ann Arbor don’t seem to share that opinion, however. The onus is on us to show them.

  14. Posted January 26, 2008 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Lot’s of people in Ann Arbor don’t seem to share that opinion, however.

    I heard somebody the other day say, “If you can afford to live in Ann Arbor, there’s no reason to live in Ypsi.” That received the response it deserved, especially when they went on to cite lack of bus service, curbside recycling, or a food co-op as reasons why Ypsi was inferior.

    Having grown up out-county, though, I can say that Ann Arborites have a relatively positive attitude towards Ypsi. At least in Ann Arbor, most people just don’t see any reason to come to Ypsi, rather than having outright hostility towards it.

    I think that, in our Ypsi advocacy, we need to make sure that pro-Ypsi isn’t anti-Ann Arbor. If we’re saying that downtown Ann Arbor has 6 Starbucks and no indie coffee shops, we’re going to get written off by all the patrons of (e.g.) Cafe Ambrosia. As long as downtown Ann Arbor has three indie comic & gaming shops and three indie record stores (and let’s not even get into sushi, lest I reveal my inner yuppie) and Ypsi has none, I can’t write off downtown A2 as a disneyfied corporate wonderland.

    Ann Arbor’s got a lot of good people doing a lot of good things. I don’t think building a wall between us would be any better if it were built from our side than it would be built from theirs. Let’s not go negative in our pro-Ypsi campaign.

  15. mark
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I cannot tell you how many Ann Arborites tried to talk me out of it when I told them that I was looking to buy a home in Ypsilanti.

    I agree that we shouldn’t be anti-Ann Arbor, but I think you’re fooling yourself if you don’t think, generally speaking, there is an anti-Ypsi bias there. That’s not to say that there aren’t some damn fine people there, however.

    I agree with you that we need to stay positive though.

  16. Posted January 26, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    _generally speaking, there is an anti-Ypsi bias there_

    Sure, but I don’t think it’s as active a bias as many Ypsilantians seem to believe. In my experience, people in surrounding Townships (or as far away as Chelsea) seek out opportunities to Ypsi-bash, while Ann Arborites are more likely to show it as bewilderment that you’re thinking of living anywhere but Ann Arbor. I find Ann Arborites to have better things to do than devote energy to spontaneous recreational Ypsi-bashing.

  17. mark
    Posted January 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Shall I point you to some of the online conversations that took place in the wake of UM’s announcement that their ’08 class, instead of graduating at the UM stadium, would be getting their diplomas in an Ypsi venue?

  18. karen m
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Murph,
    There is a really good sushi bar here in Ypsilanti. It is called Kaya Sushi and is in the strip mall on Ellsworth next to Big Lots, I’m there once a week, try it sometime.

    As far as Ann Arbor goes, I like Mark graduated from U of M in 1990 and my whole 5 years there I was give the misconception that if I ventured to Ypsilanti I would be shot. I really think that the underlying current from Ann Arbor’s perspective is that if Ypsilanti becomes what Ann Arbor used to be – full of artists, mom and pop shops, friendly people, historic houses, etc. then Ann Arbor would become less desirable. Those are my thoughts.

  19. degutails
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    my first introduction to this was when i was looking for a house in ypsi and needed directions to ann arbor to meet some people. i asked the woman in ann arbor we were going to meet, who had grown up in ann arbor, and she couldn’t give me directions from downtown ypsi to the east side of ann arbor. stunning.

    there is an indie comic book shop in ypsi – fun 4 all, in the fountain square (?) shopping center on washtenaw (the one that has huck’s out front). it’s lovely.

    meredith

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