It was a typical start to my day, a to-do list ready for my structured plans. Ready to be assaulted in my take charge and pragmatic way.
1. Feed the cats
2. Make coffee
Make coffee…hmm…No coffee. I had just arrived home from Boston a day prior. Christmas holiday with my sister and family. Boston is a lovely city. Skip coffee onto number
3. Go to Flint and get some photos for tonight’s post.
Geared up and ready to explore, off I went. I didn’t have any trouble finding a parking spot right on Saginaw Street by Third. I gathered some loose change and proceeded to the meter. I had 56 minutes to complete my task. No problem, it was chilly and my caffeine deprivation still lingered.
Mission: To gather as many images as possible of this beautiful city.
I noticed right away it was eerily vacant. After spending a week in Boston, it was a stark difference. I wandered around the corner and saw the Capitol Theatre ,a very hopping place in my heyday of Flint. I started shooting. I was amazed by the enormity and detailed beauty of this building.
Then I began immersing myself into the beautiful details of many of the buildings surrounding me. I walked and walked seeing surprising tidbits of artistic detail and history at every turn. I found myself meandering down Buckham Alley. Taking photos of this interesting side street, I saw the Torch, a great little place to grab a beer and have their famous Torch burger. Yum.
Food…Coffee…yes that was still a deficit in my morning. I had about 12 minutes left on my meter to locate coffee. I am in a city. I am downtown. There has to be coffee. I was just visiting a city with a cafe on every block. No problem! I turned the corner. Nothing. I would give it one more block or perhaps have to deal with a meter maid without having my morning fix. That sounded terrifying.
Then I saw it, like a beacon of hope on my horizon. The Ground Floor Market. Approached…open. Entered and yes coffee. The was a young man behind the counter, later to be known as Cameron. There was also a security guard hanging out. All I had was my debit card. They had a five dollar limit. I tried to barter with Cameron offering him my Darth Vader zipper pull but then he showed me his Lego Storm Trooper key chain. No dice. At that time he did tell me that all of the sandwiches in the cooler were free today and that a man had purchased all of them earlier to be given away. Pretty awesome.
I settled on a large cup of Great Lakes coffee and an energy bar from Fenton’s Crust bakery. As I prepared my coffee we talked Star Wars. Realizing the clock was ticking I told him of my photos and that I was starting a blog about Flint. His first question– was is it going to be positive or negative? Positive, of course. I laid out my game plan to him about how I want to focus on Flint’s art, music, food and culture –all the things this great city has to offer.
We were then joined by Cameron’s co worker, a lovely woman named Estela.We chatted about the city and the changes going on in the last decade. We also talked more about the Ground Floor Market. (feature on them later this month.) Worried about my possible meter maid interaction I mentioned I had better hustle. They told me parking was free today. Free sandwiches and free parking! Loving Flint.
Then the security guard who had slipped out stepped back in accompanied by a woman that he directed towards the free sandwiches. She was kind of shocked that they were free and kept asking “are you sure?” uneasily as if there was a catch.
Just free. Just a kind New Year’s Eve gift. She hesitantly selected a sandwich and was very appreciative. She gave us all the most heartfelt New Year’s blessing and before she exited, Estela gave her a cookie as well. With a turn and a beaming smile the woman exited back into the cold vacant street. After she left Estela commented that the scarf the woman was wearing was from a project a group in the city did tying scarves around town for those in need.
I then realized as much as this blog is about an exploration into Flint’s art, music, food and culture, it is also about heart — the kind of heart that makes a forgotten city like Flint still beat warmly and openly on cold vacant winter days.
I hope everyone is as excited about the New Year as I am and I hope you all come back soon to read more on my adventures in this awesome place I am proud to call my city.