In Defense of Ypsi… An idea for a new AnnArbor.com related project

[I have no idea if something like this is even possible, but I thought that I’d throw the idea out there, just in case someone wanted to take it on. We can debate the content of the message, but I like the idea of having some kind of automated response on behalf of our community, acknowledging the fact that the Ypsilanti stories that are told on AnnArbor.com are disproportionately negative, and suggesting alternative sources for information about what happens this side of Carpenter Road… I should add that this isn’t necessarily a knock against AnnArbor.com. I realize that they are resource constrained, and that they serve a subscriber base that’s primarily in Ann Arbor, that doesn’t care as much about swimming pool fundraisers, and those little instances of beauty that we see in our community every day, as they do about homes full of dog feces and chicken coops set ablaze… It’s probably also worth noting that sometimes AnnArbor.com does a great job covering our community. Unfortunately, it seems as though the salacious pieces about dirty houses and petty crime often take precedence, as they did today.]

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68 Comments

  1. Scaredy Cat
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    In defense of A2.com, Ypsi is kind of terrifying.

  2. Dan
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    no offense Mark (and others) but I work in AA, have lived in AA, Ypsi proper, and in both the “bad” (north of 94) and “good” (south of 94) parts of the township. I really dont think AA.com has the wrong impression of ypsi at all. I think most here are actually delusional about Ypsi. Sure the handful of festivals are nice, and the 4 or so local eateries and breweries are cool. But on a whole, you guys are kidding yourselves if you dont think it’s a the ghetto step sibling.

    more than half of downtown is vacant and has been for years. Sidetrack (the place most hipsters from here hate) is pretty much the only thriving business in depot town. Crime is rampant. Blight is more than rampant. It sucks to hear, and it sucks for all of us in the community (i know people here hate us townshipers but we are part of the community), but honestly the place is a shit hole.

    Lets be real Ypsi is not “cooler than ann arbor” unless you are a hipster with a big brother complex.

    But while. we’re at it: what does “authentic” mean in your sense here? And why do you think you’re more authentic than Ann arbor?

  3. Dan
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    any i dont understand why everyone thinks AA.com is so biased towards ypsi.

    http://www.crimemapping.com/map.aspx?loc=48105 (click remove radius)

  4. Posted March 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this is going to be more fun that I’d imagined.

    Thanks, Dan.

    First, I should mention that the last line, about us being cooler and more authentic was meant as a joke. I do, however, think there’s a hint of truth to it, at least when it comes to authenticity. I love Ann Arbor, and I don’t think I would have moved back to Ypsi, if not for the fact that Ann Arbor is close by. But, if you’ve been around for over a decade, you can’t really say that Ann Arbor hasn’t lost some of its character. Drakes is gone. Middle Earth is shrinking. Shaman Drum is closed. Sure, there are some notable exceptions, but, on the whole, the last decade has been all about the expansion of 7-Eleven and Starbucks downtown, and the influx of chain stores. And, did I just hear the other day that Tim Hortons was replacing the Lab? So, yes, I think some authenticity is being lost. Maybe that’s a sign of success, but it comes at a cost.

    As for crime, you’re right, there is some. There’s crime everywhere, though. I’ll have to go and find the numbers, but, if I’m not mistaken, I think crime has been down as of late. At least, I seem to recall that my friend Murph shared some statistics not too long ago that were surprising. (Like you, I expected to see that crime was way up, and it wasn’t.) I wasn’t suggesting that AnnArbor.com hide our crime. I was just saying that they should make an effort to convey to their readership that Ypsi isn’t just houses full of dog shit and burning chicken coops.

    Does Ypsi have challenges? Sure. It’s a former manufacturing town in Michigan. It’s kind of a given that there are issues. But it’s not a festering shit hole by any stretch. The arts community is strong, we’re seeing more young entrepreneurs investing their time and talent, and, for whatever reason, people keep moving here. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest that you read my series of Ypsi Immigration interviews.

  5. C.R.E.
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Geez. i thought the “bad” part was South of 94. Dammit.

  6. Dan
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Mark,

    I’ve read pretty much every one of your posts (save the music stuff that didnt interest me) since a friend turned me on to the blog in 2008. I’ve definitely read the in- and out-going interviews.

    My point was more about the general animosity most here have toward AA and AA.com. it’s no secret that most of your readers are of the more liberal, dare i say hipster, crowd (I want to be clear, because I’ve been grouped with EOS here in the past, while I agree with EOS on a lot of financial issues, I am very socially liberally). And I’ve made this point in the tax discussions too: most of “you people” have this pie in the sky image of ypsi that really isnt in reality. Everyone loves Beezys, and CB. And apparently now, the Wurst Bar. But in reality, thats not Ypsi. That a small segment of the well to do crowd.

    It’s like going to Detroit and saying “Old Shillelagh is awesome.” and “Slows has the best BBQ north of Tennessee” and ignoring that the rest of the places are either vancat or about to be.

  7. smellytongues
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    This code can be written…and you got me thinking about doing it just because it would be funny. The easiest way to handle it would probably be for it to scan articles in the middle of the night…posting could get tricky because many sites block bots…but if you’re serious, let me know…

  8. Dan
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    also, about the potential program, you are all aware of Advance Publications/AA.com’s super moderation policy.

    it would be a fruitless endeavor. they barely even let you comment legitimately. You’d have to code in a new username generator along with it, as they would ban you as well.

    #buzzkill

  9. Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    @Dan

    The fact that there’s an influx of business into downtown including The Wurst, The Wolverine, Red Rock, and going back a little Beezy’s, B24, and Crossroads isn’t a result of a small segment of anything. It’s a result of the fact that Ypsilanti is in fact a healthy city that, like most of Michigan, is recovering from some pretty extreme financial difficulty.

    It’s disappointing that you would jump to such dire conclusions. There are a lot of great things going on in our city. I suppose it’s possible that Ypsilanti just isn’t your kind of place but that certainly doesn’t warrant insulting our community.

    I too have lived in both good neighborhoods and bad in Ypsi as well as many locations in Ann Arbor. It wasn’t until I moved back into Ypsi recently that I actually felt like I lived in a community. I’ve developed a great group of friends here in the city, gotten involved in local organizations, gotten to know my local politicians, and in general found a safe, clean welcoming community.

    As Mark mentioned, yes Ypsilanti has problems. But to call Ypsilanti a ghetto is just ignorant.

  10. C.R.E.
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Mark, the civic pride you feel that makes you protect AA is the same civic pride we feel defending our city. Maybe we are more alike than different. Although I hope not, you sound like an asshole.

  11. C.R.E.
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I meant Dan. sorry Mark. ha.

  12. Posted March 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    As for the code, it can be written. Dan is right that it would take careful consideration not to get shut down by their comment blockers. Some mechanism to vary the message, but not the point would be a start. It wouldn’t be hard to fool their bot blockers. Set up an account manually first, use it once or twice as a human, then let your script rip with it.

  13. Dan
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    @Adam,

    Is Red Rock even open yet? It’s been at least 2 years now. And like i said, you name 3 or 4 new enterprises, but ignore that half the city is vacant. there’s 3 or 4 PRIME bar spots sitting in bankruptcy/vacancy on Washington. Why cant ANYONE attract business there?

    as for not being “my type of city” I whole heartedly disagree. I love you hippies. lol. I just think it’s in a transition period where nothing will work. a lot of young people want weird and cool things, but none of those businesses can survive. and the city wont allow chain stores so the traditional markets cant survive. it’s a tough situation. if you want to maintain the hipster atmosphere, you all have to pay crazy out the ass taxes, but there’s not many of you that can afford it

  14. Dan
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    and @CRE, I dont live in AA anymore. I rented there and loved it when i was younger, but couldnt afford to buy there. I wouldnt have bought there anyhow if i could afford it, i like the suburban feel more.

  15. Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    @Dan

    Red Rock is open.

    Yes there are still vacancies. You’re right we can’t afford to support all of the vacancies in town from being filled at once. That’s not how recovery works. If it happens too fast it doesn’t stick. In fact that’s the very definition of a period of transition. I don’t understand why you don’t think ‘anyone’ can attract businesses even as you concede that businesses are opening. I’m not sure at what pace you expect businesses to open but three or four locally owned businesses opening and succeeding per year is a great pace.

    If this really is “your type of city” then why do you feel the need to degrade it? And why do you assume I’m a hippy or a hipster? I’m don’t at all fit either of those descriptions. Some things that do describe me are middle class, well educated, thirty-something, involved in my community… I could go on. My point is the points you’re making about Ypsilanti, the people who live here, and the health of our city are uninformed and baseless.

    Not to mention your misunderstanding of municipal economics. the presence of large chain stores does not in any way shape or form equate to more money for cities than small, local operations. In fact those large chains do more harm than good as they funnel money out of the communities in which they locate. To top it off they accomplish this by selling low quality products, ignoring ethical considerations, and actively campaigning for their own financial well being while ignoring the needs of the citizenry they supposedly serve.

  16. Dan
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    @Greg,

    yes I “concede that businesses are opening” are opening in Ypsi. it took Red Rock >2 years (I hope they thrive cause I love BBQ i was really really waiting on them but i moved from north ypsi towship 11 months ago and they had a “coming soon sign” well before then and just a month ago i drove by and it still wasnt open) anyway. My point remains about places not being/staying open. if you want to disagree with me, drive down THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN ypsi and half of the store fronts are empty.

    and I’m not degrading your city. just asking why everyone here seesm to think the other city’s rag “picks on them.” I really sont find anything AA.com publishes to be out of the norm. i dont know why so many people here do. thats all.

    and i’m well aware of the impact Walmart et al. have on the local economy. the problem in your analogy, is that Walmart et al. would be putting someone out of business. there is no someone to put out of business here. What, are they going to under cut the 5 thrift stores on Michigan Ave?

    Simple fact is, there is very little commerce in ypsi, ANY commerce will help. you may hate an Aldi, or an Arbys. but until you can build a reasonable tax base, that is our market.

  17. P. Roker
    Posted March 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Danmark,

    “Cool,” in American culture, is essentially defined as “deliberately living across the edge of acceptable.” So yes, by Fonzie standards, Ypsi is cooler than Ann Arbor. (Just a fact.) Likewise, Detroit is cooler than Ypsi. If it’s deliberate. (It’s only cool if you live there by choice, not default.) So Sudan is cool if you choose to live there but not if you’re trapped there.

    As someone a bit addicted to cool, I applaud AnnArbor.com for being the primary source for keeping Ypsi cool. (Aging Mark sure isn’t.) We need to be on the edge to be cool. Crime, real or imagined, is on the edge.

    “Authentic” is more tricky. You can be an authentic corporate asshole. You can be an authentic peace corps volunteer. I think what Mark might mean by “authentic” is being real/honest with people you really know.

    I’ve been in Ypsi about twelve years. I can’t leave my house without running into people I know and like. At any bar, grocery stop, playground… I routinely have food with mobs of neighbors. People I know and like are smothering me with friendship. It’s not cool, but it’s the reality of living in Ypsi and having kids in public schools. It’s a small town. You get to know everyone but the renters.

    I realize that living in a place simply for the joy of friendship isn’t as cool as AnnArbor.com would make it seem. Ypsi’s really not that gritty. But it is, for me, authentic.

    I’m sorry, Dan, that you didn’t make any friends here. That’s shitty. I wish you well in your eventual home.

    I have one. I don’t really care if it’s “cool” or “authentic.” In my day-to-day experience, it’s kind and warm. It’s long term. The goodness of Ypsilanti is often, frankly, quite overwhelming.

    I have amazing neighbors, better than reported schools, am quite sleep-easy safe, live in a wonderfully unique ancient home, have lots of natural space, and the same beer and better food at half the price…

    Ypsi don’t fit everyone. But, it fits a lot of people who didn’t fit anywhere else. For us, Ypsi fits like a love.

  18. stupid hick
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    You would want a bot to do this? Are there no humans who care enough to comment in defense of Ypsilanti? I would rather have a bot monitor annarbor.com, track the comments they delete, and report them on a pirate news site.

  19. Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    @Dan

    (I’ll respond to the name Greg too :) )

    As I pointed out above, you’re right that we’re not filling all of our vacancies at once. And yes the fact that those vacancies exist is an indication that Ypsilanti has gone through some very trying times. But none of that warrants saying “I think most here are actually delusional about Ypsi” or “on a whole, you guys are kidding yourselves if you dont think it’s a the ghetto step sibling” Those are degrading both to my city, and me and my fellow citizens.

    I spend a great deal of time in all three of the commercial centers in Ypsi. I see businesses opening and thriving. And most of all I am excited to see what goes into the remaining vacancies.

    Back to the question of chains as a viable solution to economic woes. Although displacement of local business is a serious concern with those sort of companies that wasn’t the concern I was expressing above. I was only addressing the fact that those corporations exert very negative influences on their surroundings. Trying to use them as a some sort of economic kindling is a huge mistake. Once they’re in, they stay. If an Aldi were to go in the city before Ypsilanti is back to its prime there would be no way to get rid of it. Worse instead of actually investing the dollars in the community like locally owned businesses would, and Aldi would work to make sure that their neighborhood counterparts could never gain a foot hold. So, while it does make me sound a bit like a hippy, I’ll say no to the easy solution and take the long, steady, sustainable growth that has already begun here.

  20. Edward
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    I mostly agree, Adam, but we did have a Quiznos in Depot Town. It’s now the Harvest Kitchen. Also, there was a Dunkin Donuts on Washtenaw that’s now Pita Pita. It is possible to turn the tide. It’s not easy, though.

    As for the idea of posting an “Ypsi disclaimer” after every A2.com post that mentions the city, I like the idea very much. We wouldn’t necessarily have to employ a spam bot, though. People could just cut and paste the text, modifying it as necessary. If we did it that way, I don’t believe that it would technically fall victim to their “aggressive” moderation policy.

  21. Thom Elliott
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Its classist bullshit from the city with the most asshole egoists percapita of any MI city I know of. There are 3 seperate Ayn Rand/objectivist groups alone (who is the biggest asshole of the common era). Ypsilanti gets it rough from those mindless libertarian drones and uppity cracker racists because A2 was a liberal town 100yrs ago, now it is nothing but yuppie scum and their entitled larvae looking down from their phony loft on our REAL AUTHENTICITY they can never buy. Its the 2nd oldest city in the state, it has beautiful buildings, its the most walkable, there is a litany of excellent bars/resturaunts (how many do you whiney bastards need?), excellent reefer, it attracts real weirdos etc.

  22. Thom Elliott
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    This defense coming from a person who was robbed at gunpoint here. I love this city, if derelect buildings and a little grit scare you, move to Livonia. There’s no downtown, no public transport, the most whites per capita, everything safe and placid, , hundreds of Wendy’s and Buffalo Wild Wings to satisfy your gluttony, you classist scum who need everything gentrifyed and sterile can LOVE IT or LEAVE IT. Seriously, if you don’t like Ypsilanti so much; GET THE FUCK OUT.

  23. Fran
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Mark, I wish you had a “like” button for comments. Coffee out the nose this morning on Scaredy Cat’s sweet Lion King remake.

  24. Erika
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    First of all, Adam & Mark, I wholeheartedly agree with what you have been saying. Ypsi is a great city to live in. It’s much more affordable for regular folks, but has the kind of character that attracts people who want more than simply tract housing.

    I do wish that AA.com would report on Ann Arbor’s crime in proportion to its rate of crime, but I also appreciate the crime reporting that we do get in Ypsi. There have been several times that AA.com’s reporting of crimes has helped solve the crime by letting the public know that something happened when they wouldn’t have known otherwise.

    For example: when I witnessed an armed robbery outside of my house, I didn’t immediately realize that it was a crime. They used a sawed off shotgun, which I didn’t even recognize as a gun from where I was standing. I thought that it was some frat guys pranking each other or something. I wasn’t expecting something like that to happen, so I just figured it had to be nothing. It wasn’t until I read the report the next day in AA.com about the robbery that I realized what I had seen. I called in to police to let them know that I had seen it, and you know what? Information that I gave them is what identified and caught the robbers, who are now in prison. Who knows how many other robberies they would have committed before they were caught (they did a total of 6 before they were arrested, all escalating in violence in the encounters with the victims).

    This actually happened a second time, when a neighbor’s house was broken into and my husband had actually seen the burglar leaving the house. Again, he didn’t realize that a crime had just been committed until he read it in the paper and called police with a description.

    We don’t have a good way of knowing what is going on around us, what our police are doing to protect us, what patterns are playing out at any given time. I appreciate that information. I get so frustrated with some people here in Ypsi who seem to like to put their heads in the sand and pretend that if they just ignore crime, it will go away, or it never existed in the first place. We can only get serious about addressing it, supporting our police, and protecting our communities when we actually acknowledge what is happening. I don’t care if it’s a normal amount of crime. Four people have been shot in the last two weeks or so… if that’s normal than we need a new normal.

    If people don’t understand what the police are doing to protect us, they will think it is okay to allow the department to be cut. The only way that people know what is happening in town (if they aren’t searching the crime maps and attending CoPAC meetings) is to read the “paper” at AnnArbor.com.

  25. Kristin
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Oh my gosh, why do we care what Annarbor.com is saying? Especially, as Thom has so eloquently pointed out, Ann Arbor people are classist scum who wish they were as “authentic” as Ypsilantians? Seems like we should be content in our smuggery.

  26. Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    We’ve got football, Zingerman’s, and Whitey. Pedophile pediatricians n shit. Annarbor.com is the Yellow Pages. Come write “My Other Prius Is a Nickel Bag” on my wooden leg! I miss you.

  27. Megan
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    She called me a hipster doofus! Do I look like a hipster doofus Jerry?!

    And please. You can’t even compare Ann Arbor with Ypsi. Ypsi is way cooler. Better community, better music, better art, and a much larger urban farming influence. So Dan and any other other “Hey Ypsi people, you’re living in a fantasy world, Ypsi really sucks”, go suck a free range egg from someone’s back yard and try not to get stung by a backyard bee on your way out of town.

    No one here needs you.

  28. SparkleMotion
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I miss Ypsi. It’s got such a great spirit of community pride that I have yet to find an equal to.

  29. Mr. Y
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Not to be an asshole. I love my friends in the Township. But I think it’s worth pointing out that both of these stories, that ran on AnnArbor.com yesterday, were about events that took place in the Township and not in the City. I’m sure we have chicken coop arson and houses full of dog shit here as well, but I thought that I should mention that. With that said, I completely agree. As someone who has, on many occasions, contacted AnnArbor.com, and asked them to cover good things taking place in our City, it annoys me greatly to see how quickly they deploy one of their junior reporters every time someone scarey is seen with a brick. Fear sells papers, though, and always has.

  30. j
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Everything awesome that happens in Ann Arbor is an accidental side effect of having more money than they know what to do with. Everything awesome in Ypsi is the intentional result of a hell of a lot of work by awesome people.

    I moved for the cheaper rent. Staying a little while for the neighbors who say hello, the students who aren’t entitled little shits, and the wholesome community concerts under the strip club marquee.

    The racist undertones of The Lion King make Scaredy Cat’s image not just funny, but hilarious. One A2 yuppie warning another about the “crime” at the Ypsi bus station.

    Provided the city finances get worked out, I don’t think Ypsi will have too much trouble growing. The real trouble will be growing without gentrifying. Deja Vu is the first line of defense, but A2.com helps as well.

    Try not to worry too much about the classist, racist, and pants-wetting cowardice on display at A2.com. Those bastards can tip well at Sidetracks then get the fuck out.

  31. Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Dan, while I can agree that there are honest criticisms to be made of Ypsi, I don’t find yours to meet that standard. You’re not advancing the conversation at all by offering up lazy, out-of-date and/or inaccurate attacks.

    For example, more than half of downtown is vacant and has been for years.

    The first half of that is, mathematically, wildly untrue, and has been getting less and less true for years, especially on Michigan Ave. Why does this meme persist? Well, what vacancies remain are high-visibility and persistent (the Abe’s block, the Smith furniture building), or dramatic and take time to refill (the collapse of Dave Curtis’ North Washington empire)–and many of these long-standing vacancies have as much to do with the particular owners of the properties as anything about the market.

    There are also plenty of properties that are occupied and in use, but don’t register as much on a pass through town, due to the nature of the business, or the building architecture, or the design of the facade–not everybody has the shopwindow-fu of Mix or Rocket–or having the main entrance off of rear parking lots, rather than the street (Puffer Reds, Dos Hermanos) The tax places that are functionally vacant 2/3 the year also don’t offer much.

    Too, while you’re right that the group of businesses frequently namechecked on this site are the ones in town most appealing to Ypsi’s demographic of “primarily white professionals who like to think we’re edgy”, which I think is what you mean by “hipster”, and you’re right that this is not the only demographic in town, I think you’re falling into the same trap in your characterization: there are dozens of businesses in downtown that don’t cater primarily to this demographic, that don’t get called out on this site, and which you seem to also gloss over in your assessment of downtown.

    Offering trite and inaccurate prescriptions about what Ypsi should do is therefore not what this conversation needs. (e.g. the city wont allow chain stores so the traditional markets cant survive — which is apparently why Subway is opening on West Cross, a couple blocks down from Jimmy Johns, and why the city’s seen two Walgreens, a Rite Aid, an Auto Zone, a McDonalds, and a couple of smaller chains constructed since 2000, in addition to the McD’s, Taco Bell, DQ, and others that we already had?)

    Instead, we should be identifying the actual issues so that we can address them. A better diagnosis might be “most of the vacant spaces in Ypsi are so decrepit / functionally obsolete that it’s nearly impossible for a business to open there.” The Kresge Block, the Mack & Mack (SPARK East) building, the Mellencamp (Rocket) building, Red Rocks, Mix, and others have all been literally rebuilt top to bottom to get to their current incarnations because they were in such terrible shape as to be unusable before. Most of the remaining long-standing vacancies downtown (like Smith Furniture and the Abe’s block) fall into this same category, and there’s only so many complete structure rebuilds that we can expect in a given year. The City (and DDA) have made great use of development incentives over the past 8 years to to help all of the above-named projects happen, recognizing the poor physical condition of buildings as a real problem, and just a few more such projects would take care of the sizable and high-visibility vacancies.

    ’bout all I have time for at this point….

  32. Rustbelt Revival
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Let the Haters Hate & the Ignorant Ignore. At least it’ll keep their negative attitudes out of our fair-city so we can keep succeeding in peace. Ypsi Love!

  33. Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    An oblique appendix to Murph’s comment:

    if anyone out there has a lead on a decrepit (or simply vacant) space that Occupy Ypsilanti could repair and clean up (bring back to health) in exchange for the ability to meet and form a community center in it, please email occuprop@gmail.com.

  34. anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Granted, there was a little joke at the end about Ypsi being cooler and more authentic, but I think we’re missing the main point here, which is that the AnnArbor.com coverage of Ypsilanti tends to focus more on what isn’t working in our community, than it does on what is working. If a group of neighbors get a plot of land and start a community garden, it’s not as likely to get coverage, as, say, a house full of dog shit. It’s sad, but that’s the nature of the business. This doesn’t mean that Ann Arbor sucks. This means that AnnArbor.com sucks.

  35. Alex H.
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Personally I like that the Ann Arborites are scared of Ypsi. That is what allows Ypsi to keep it’s character. It’s growing, it’s a slow growth but it’s sustainable and in a few years it’s going to be something great. If the Ann Arborites rush in a lot of crap is going to spring up that will fail and go away when their attention shifts elsewhere. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to sit next to a business strategy meeting at Beezy’s? Stay away Ann Arborites, here be dragons.

  36. Star Child
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I have lived in Grosse Pointe, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Frazer, Detroit, and Scio Township and I now live in Ypsi and of all the places I have lived (in Michigan at least) Ypsi has been my favorite. A great place warts and all!

  37. Erika
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    “Everything awesome in Ypsi is the intentional result of a hell of a lot of work by awesome people.”

    Spot on, J. This city is more authentic and a great place to live because people here work hard to make that happen.

  38. Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. I live in Ann Arbor, hang out in Ypsilanti. Some of my best friends live in Ypsilanti, hang out in Ann Arbor. Both cities are too large and varied to be painted with any broad brush. Since when did any of us start giving a shit what the squares think anyways?

    If it wasn’t for US23, this’d all be the same city.
    I’m ok, you’re ok.

  39. anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t mind AnnArbor.com covering local crime when it’s significant. The Ann Arbor News did a great job ferreting out the truth with regard to the Laura Dickinson murder on EMU’s campus, for instance. We need an active and aggressive press to do things like that. What we don’t need are stories about every stupid police call.

    Here’s a suggestion for the editors at AnnArbor.com. If you really want to report something meaningful, look into the still unsolved murder of Jack Brown in 1984. That’s the kind of story that journalists should be working on.

    http://markmaynard.com/2012/03/the-unsolved-mystery-of-jack-browns-1984-murder-in-ypsilanti/

  40. Dan
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I new my comment would spark the “Get the fuck out” responses and the same defenses of what you love about your neighborhood that we’ve rehashed hundreds of times here.

    Thats fine that you all feel that way, but thats not what this thread was about. Mark suggested alerting AA.com readers to come check out ypsi and that “it’s a lot like you only cooler” etc.

    That is just patently false. When an outsider goes into downtown AA, they see tons of shops and clothing places, and ethnic cuisine, and legitimate gourmet restaurants. When an outsider goes into downtown Ypsi, they see overgrown fields, vacant buildings, and very few places to eat or drink. Where would someone looking for a “very nice” restaurant go? Haabs? I mean, seriously, it’s completely delusional to say ypsi is “a lot like AA”

    And for every Corner Brewery in ypsi, there are several places like Jolly Pumpkin. For every Beezy’s in ypsi, there are several places like Frita Batidos.

    All I was saying is that the complaints about AA.com’s coverage of Ypsi are misguided. Their portrayal of Ypsi is a lot more in line with reality than that in the minds of most of you.

  41. j
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    @Dan
    Partly agree, but there are definitely no legitimate gourmet restaurants in Ann Arbor. Not really any in Southeast Michigan as far as I can tell.

    We might be delusional about Ypsi, but Ann Arborites are no less delusional. Ann Arbor derives its high self esteem from being the “nicest” city in Michigan. In reality it’s just a bland provincial backwater. It’s the yuppie ghetto of this shithole we call Michigan.

  42. kjc
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    yes there are several places like Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor. so many i can’t tell them apart.

    Dan, be honest. you got a self-esteem issue. you’re bitter about something. it’s annoying.

  43. Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    @Dan

    Your comments didn’t spark “get the fuck” out responses. They sparked “open your eyes” comments. Your refusal to listen/understand what we’re all about sparked the “get the fuck out” comments. I for one would rather you stay and take the time to see why Ypsilanti is amazing instead of just giving up because it’s not all shiny.

    Mark’s post was about pointing out that aa.com focuses too much on the negative in Ypsi when there’s also much good. This comment thread is very much about our love of our city. No, not just our neighborhood, our whole city.

    We’re not saying we’re “like you only cooler” to Ann Arborites. We’re only saying that we’re an awesome community with a lot of cool things to see and do. Again if you can’t see that or refuse to that’s your shortcoming not ours.

    You’re right that Ann Arbor has tons of shops and ethnic restaurants and so on. For a city with more than five times the population the amount of destinations in town seems reasonably proportional. There are several restaurants in Ann Arbor that I make a point to frequent.

    But that’s where *you* are missing the point of this thread. The point we’re all making is that your insults towards Ypsilanti are unfounded and only serve to show your ignorance.

    aa.com’s portrayal of Ypsi *is* biased and no matter how much you present falsehoods and your skewed perspective to deny that, it doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of reporting on their site is negative towards Ypsi and that doesn’t serve anyone’s interest nod does it paint an accurate picture of our city.

  44. erika
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    holy crap. if you don’t like michigan, leave. plenty of us do and we don’t want to cart your rotting corpse around. get up off your rear and do something about it rather than bitching on a blog. get a new job out of state, go somewhere you’d rather be. this is a call to action. life is short. do something to make yourself happy for the long term!

  45. S_Lane
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Ah, yes. Ann Arbor supports so many more cool stores and businesses and has less crime! It’s amazing what you can do when you price all the poor people out of your city.

    The fact is that anyone who isn’t solidly middle-class is going to have trouble making ends meet in Ann Arbor, or Dexter, or Saline, for that matter. That argument is basically “I’ve shoveled all the shit I don’t want to deal with over into your yard. Now look, my yard looks and smells awesome! In other news, AnnArbor.com reports that Ypsilanti has a serious shit problem.” (Unreported: Ypsi residents working hard to convert shit into fertilizer for our community gardens!)

  46. Ben
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I have read a few of these comments but am just going to make a tiny little stickler comment on Mark’s original post. BTW I love Ypsi and have no plans on leaving and guess what? I still like what Ann Arbor has to offer too in terms of stuff to do, visiting, but I’d way rather LIVE here. I should say, I grew up in Ann Arbor.

    When you say, Mark, “what happens this side of Carpenter Road,” that’s a line people think of as “Ann Arbor” and “Ypsilanti.” The main border between the City of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township is US 23, not Carpenter Rd, closer in to Ann Arbor by a little bit. Some addresses are confusing because of the wierd way the USPS does stuff, but “Ypsilanti” you could probably argue starts at Golfside, which is the border between Pittsfield Township and Ypsilanti Township (as well as Ann Arbor Township and Superior Township, most of which is part of the Ypsilanti library district).

    I know a lot of people think of the area between US 23 and Golfside as “Ypsilanti” though, especially people living Ann Arbor, because it’s less nice looking. :/

  47. Tommy
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    and A2 does not have a big brick dick sitting smack dab in the middle of town. Ypsi’s Water Tower over Burton Tower any day of the week. Having lived in A2, Ypsi City, Yspi township (north and south), I find that all are fine places to live – i live in Saline right now. Ypsi is more working class, Ann Arbor more preppy, and both have good and bad neighborhoods. Ypsi has to – collectively – try a hell of lot harder to be what it is and to not become just another rust belt piece of shit. That gives it a soul that A2 will never match. Ann Arbor discusses whether or not an expensive piece of Art should grace City Hall, Ypsi discusses survival beyond the next few years. Ypsi cares about things like busing, walkable neighborhoods, viable businesses, etc.; A2 assumes that things are and will always be this way.

    Very different places with very different things to like.

  48. so sad
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    ugh! boring…next subject.

  49. Rex
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Finding very little information online about Red Rock BBQ being open, I just called them and their voicemail says they’re only open on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner. I usually only find myself in ypsi for lunch, so I’ll keep checking back.

    I can’t read mark’s handwriting but this comment thread is riveting.

    Don’t forget that the media only reports on fires and crime because happy positive news is boring and doesn’t generate clicks. “if it bleeds, it leads”

  50. Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    That’s far more reasonable than my usual response to almost anything I read on AA.com which is “this website needs to be burned down post haste.” Not only do they never have anything nice to say about Ypsi, but they hardly have anything nice to say about Ann Arbor that isn’t on their short list of townie approved activities & locations. I’ve tried to use various methods to alert them to some new, interesting happenings around both Ypsi & A2 and you’d think that I was trying to call in a bomb threat the way I was treated.

  51. Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I kind of skipped over most of this.

    I think that maligning Ypsi is kind of unnecessary. There are lots of problems, for sure, but it’s pretty worthless to hurls insults at a struggling community. Addressing solutions to the many, many problems that Ypsi has is much more productive.

    That being said, I side with Dan that the snotty attitude from some posters on this site toward Ann Arbor is also unnecessary. Ypsi and its community of really interesting and vibrant people can’t exist without Ann Arbor.

    Truthfully, Ypsi without Ann Arbor is Jackson, MI, Battle Creek or Mt. Pleasant, MI, all troubled communities without the benefit of a job producing, multi-billion dollar University next door.

  52. court stenographer
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Transcription Service:

    You know how AnnArbor.com always seems
    to be fouling on the negative when it
    comes to their coverage of Ypsi? Well, it
    occurred to me today that there may be a
    programmer in the audience who could write a piece
    of code so that, every time an Ypsi story went up
    on the site, a comment could automatically get
    posted that said something like… “More likely than
    not, the story above focuses on an isolated criminal
    event in Ypsilanti, and is not reflective of all the
    good which is happening in this resilient,
    beautiful little town. If you want
    to know what Ypsilanti is really
    like, come visit. We’re actually
    a lot like you, except maybe
    more authentic & a little cooler.”

  53. so sad
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    ah…well said peter…

  54. Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it is fair to describe ypsi as vacant and ann arbor as some sort of winner in a fight between to the two. they are different cities, with different things to offer. people like different things, and there are many subjective and objective reasons why someone would want to live in Ypsi, AA, or even Detroit. Ypsi is more affordable, I pay $325 and live right off of Michigan ave, I would have to pay almost twice that to live in a similar sized apartment in downtown AA. Not everyone has a great career, or wealthy parents, and I am willing to risk crime for the comfort of having a place this size at a good location. I am an EMU student, and EMU doesn’t have nearly as much money as the U of M. The wealth of Ann Arbor is a direct result of the wealth of of The U of M. To make the criticism of Ypsi you make, you may as well criticize the vast majority of the Midwest because of its post-industrial short comings, and call all of the people who choose to live in more affordable “shit holes” and stratify constructed racial barriers, hippys and hipsters. despite the crime, I like ypsi. I like the small town feel of it. I like the strong arts community. I like the entrepreneurial spirit of the small and business owners in the area. I like that the town is not dominated by the college and the associated entitlement and pretentiousness. you may want to understand the term ghetto before applying it so liberally as well. it refers to people grouped together by legal and social issues including race. Many middle class whites are intimidated by the idea of a black city, but I like the fact the I am not living in a homogenized community, and there are many African American small business owners. Ypsi is a great place to live if you don’t have a lot $, like diversity and art, and have an open mind.

  55. kjc
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    great post, ypsilander.

  56. Posted March 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Peter Larson, don’t be hating on Jackson! I work in the county now and I think it’s got a lot of cool places :) The downtown just needs something (cough, brewpub, cough) to tie it together. And they love their special ed kids (well, until the TeaBaggers got involved in the last millage), so I love them!

  57. Posted March 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Btw, I love both cities. I happen to live in Ann Arbor, for now. When Boyfriend Ken & I were looking for houses, we looked at both cities. We happened to find a house in Kerrytown for way way way less than we ever could have imagined and so we jumped on it, so we ended up here. But I will say this about people in A2 vs. people in Ypsi…I knew if I lived in Ypsi, I’d spend all of my time defending the choice to people who lived in Ann Arbor, and that really bothered me for some reason. Clearly, this says a lot about me (and none of it good), but also about an attitude that pervades our small bubble.
    Another thing…I get nothing but shit from A2 people about driving to work. Seriously, never from Ypsi, Saline, Milan, Dexter, Chelsea, etc…it’s always people from A2 who are completely astounded that someone would drive to a job!!1!11!! Never mind that if I wanted to work in town, I’d end up at some $15/hour charter school job…no! I should WALK TO WORK, how dare I drive?!
    That bugs the fuck out of me. Thanks for letting me vent. :)

  58. Posted March 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t hating on Jackson. I was merely pointing out that it is perhaps as troubled as Ypsi, but without some of the real positives…. like the potential for employment.

    As for whether wealth in Ann Arbor comes from the University, of course it does. Washtenaw County would be Lenawee County, it might even be it’s neighbor Jackson County, if it didn’t have the University of Michigan.

  59. Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m too old, my belly is too big, and my facial hair is too impervious to irony for me to be considered a hipster. I like what I like. I love Woodruff’s, but I also spend time at the Tap Room. I think that’s one of the things that makes Ypsi nice – the lines between scenes are pretty blurred. Noise bands, hippies and hipsters intermix. Sometimes they even mate. When it comes right down to it, we’re all just neighbors.

    Which isn’t to say there aren’t divisions, racial or otherwise. There are. But I don’t think it’s fair to say, as someone did above, that I just write about “hipster” Ypsi. I don’t associate with the label.

    So, does someone want to try to make the AnArbor.com Defense of Ypsi bot?

  60. so sad
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    you’re right mark, you don’t just write about “hipster” ypsi (you write about all sorts of really awesome stuff- in my opinion) , but you do consider it to be “more authentic and cooler” which wasn’t really necessary to point out (maybe just a poor choice of words?), if all you were trying to do was get some folks interested in your idea for the annarbor.com defense of ypsi bot, or?

  61. blueeyedpupil
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I have lived in many places in my life. Before i lived in Ypsi I had never experienced such joy at being a part of a community. I feel the caring and warm embraces from my fellow residents. Ann Arbor is all well and good, but give me Ypsi’s real and gritty feel anytime. I lov

  62. Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I certainly think that Ann Arbor has lost some of its authenticity. I believe I said as much in a comment above. As for one town being “cooler” than another, I’m not so sure. Both towns have a lot to offer. Ypsi wouldn’t be nearly as livable, in my opinion, if the Michigan Theater, for instance, weren’t a short bus ride away. And Zingermans couldn’t exist without their Ypsi workforce.

    The idea of “cool” is stupid, and I’ve said as much on the record, as it pertains to the “cool city” banners that could be seen along Michigan Avenue for a while. As I said at the time, there’s nothing less cool than a guy who wears a jacket that says ‘I’m cool’ across the back. So, I don’t think I’d ever try to officially make the case for Ypsi being cool. It just is what it is. And I was trying to make a joke.

    Also, to meet me is to understand how little I know of coolness.

  63. blueeyedpupil
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    ahem, i will begin again, sorry

    I have lived in many places in my life. Before i lived in Ypsi I had never experienced such joy at being a part of a community. I feel the caring and warm embraces from my fellow residents. Ann Arbor is all well and good, but give me Ypsi’s real and gritty feel anytime. I love the the interaction daily of well off residents with the poorer and needier. The interaction amoung the residents of all stations in life, makes this way above Ann Arbor. Here, the have nots in society find a welcoming and loving community. People who care about each other and do what they can to help everyone survive. Take a look at the Crossroads music festival on Friday nights. Now if that doesnt show the togetherness of the entire communty, I dont know what does. Attend the farmers market in the summer and she how lovely it is to be part of this wonderful city. I would not trade Ypsi for anywhere else.

  64. P. Roker
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I finally get it, and Dan is right. Dan is so cool and authentic that he’s redefining cool and authentic.

    According to Dan, what’s cool/authentic is: “tons of shops and clothing places, and ethnic cuisine, and legitimate gourmet restaurants.”

    According to Dan, what’s not cool/authentic is: “overgrown fields, vacant buildings, and very few places to eat or drink.”

    According to Dan, cool/authentic is: “a very nice restaurant.”

    Dan has me totally re-evaluating Pretty in Pink and Better off Dead and decades of media…

    The rich kids are the cool ones. Rich people, who can afford anything, are the truly cool. Cool=a nice restaurant. I get it now. You can’t be cool unless you can pay for it.

    Damn. I’m just now realizing how uber cool Mitt Romney is. I can’t picture Mitt really stomaching the pridefully cooked to order food at Cuppy’s Best.

    Mitt’s just <a href="http://www.muer.com/gandy-dancer/index.asp&quot; too cool.

    I guess that makes us Ypsi folks, well, dorks.

    So Dan, is it okay with you if Ypsi is more dorkie than A2? Is that more authentic?

  65. Dan
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    P. Roker,

    Your assault on strawmen is commendable. Your ability to comprehend the point of my posts is not, however.

    I don’t care what YOU or I or Mitt Romney thinks is “cool.” I dont care what cool means in Mark’s eyes or anyone else’s here. The point of my posts, as I mentioned several times, it ypsi is NOT “a lot like ann arbor.” The “only cooler” part was mark’s joking addition. Not mine.

    I pointed out the restaurant and shopping and bar scene in AA, to illustrate that the corresponding “markets” for such things in Ypsi are nothing similar to AA at all.

    And those “markets” are a large part of what AA is. A vibrant downtown with lots of places to shop and eat and get a drink. I didnt want to get into the nature aspects of the two cities, as I didnt think anyone could possibly think those two components of the cities were anything similar. Another large part of AA is the university. Is Ypsi’s university “a lot like ann arbor’s”? These parts of the discussion seemed pointless to bring up, so I focused on the (as you allude to) “frivolous” things that drive AA’s economy, and corresponding things in ypsi.

  66. P. Roker
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Dan,

    Now you’re redefining straw men. Your own words aren’t straw men. They are your own words.

    “honestly the place [Ypsilanti] is a shit hole.”

    You called my home a “shit hole.” If I walked into your home and called it a shit hole, how would you respond?

    Let’s break it down to a first grade level: Is the City of Ypsilanti a shit hole? Yes or No?

    Is that a straw man?

    Or are you simply unable to defend your own words?

    While you’re at it, I’m curious what your response is to the question:

    “Is Ypsi’s university ‘a lot like ann arbor’s’?”

    I don’t want to stuff any straw men. What did you mean by that?

  67. P. Roker
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really care if it’s “cool” or “authentic.” In my day-to-day experience, it’s kind and warm. It’s long term. The goodness of Ypsilanti is often, frankly, quite overwhelming.

    That’s what you called a shit hole.

    Mark can connect us, so you can say it to my face.

  68. Dan
    Posted March 30, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    P. Roker,

    Internet tough guy? lmao. Amazing.

    As for the strawmen, you may have “used my words” but you did not use my words in the context that I posted them.

    You posted these: “According to Dan, what’s cool/authentic is: “tons of shops and clothing places, and ethnic cuisine, and legitimate gourmet restaurants.”
    According to Dan, what’s not cool/authentic is: “overgrown fields, vacant buildings, and very few places to eat or drink.”
    According to Dan, cool/authentic is: “a very nice restaurant.”
    Dan has me totally re-evaluating Pretty in Pink and Better off Dead and decades of media…
    The rich kids are the cool ones. Rich people, who can afford anything, are the truly cool. Cool=a nice restaurant. I get it now. You can’t be cool unless you can pay for it.”

    I never said rich kids are cool and I never once defined what I thought was “cool.” This isnt 5th grade, i couldnt care less who is cool.

    if you could comprehend my posts, I used the differences in shopping and restaurant/ bar scene as evidence that Ypsi is nothing like Ann Arbor. Which was what Mark is was trying to say in his post. He suggested that people from AA come check out Ypsi, because it’s a lot like them. Well it’s NOT. Thats the equivalent of people in Warren telling people in Royal Oak to come check out their city, because it’s a lot like them. It’s simply not true.

    As for the universities. are you trying to say that EMU is like Michigan? A heavily skewed toward the commuter school is similar to one of the top 15 academic institutions in the WORLD? Seriously, IF you think the two institutions are similar, or “a lot alike” then that just proves my point about your delusions.

    As for your other question, COMPARED TO ANN ARBOR, yes Ypsi is a shithole. And for the record, that includes large portions of the township. (and BTW, it was ridiculous to use that quote as your defense that you weren’t using strawmen, because that quote was not in your strawman-genocidal rant)

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  1. By Caren on April 11, 2012 at 5:58 am

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