Friday, March 31, 2006

More than just a bike ride

Image courtesy Willie Faison

It may not feel like spring in Detroit just yet - snow flurried from gray skies just a week ago - but it's going to take a lot more than wacky weather to prevent the members of Beat the Train in Detroit (BTT) from enjoying the thing they've waited patiently for all winter: the beginning of their 2006 season.

Beat the who?

Started by Andy Staub - a mountain biker with a strong passion for Detroit - in 2005, BTT is a group of a individuals that meet up on Saturday mornings from April through October for medium-paced bikes rides throughout the city.

Designed as a combination training ride and historical tour, members gather weekly at 6 am at Fort Wayne in Detroit and embark a half-hour later on 20 to 30 mile trips in and around various parts of the city.

Oh, the places you'll go

Why in the world would anyone get up so early for a bike ride? For the enthusiastic Detroiters of BTT, reasons are plentiful.

For Dave Freeman, who began riding with the group last May, BTT rides are about fun and showing others the positives of Detroit.

Member-Dawn says she rides with BTT for a number of reasons, including one that's simple and honest:

"Biking makes me feel young and good," she says.

Along with that, Dawn enjoys seeing the city from the seat of her bike - or, in Staub's words, from a different vantage point.

"We...smell the tortillas cooking on Vernor, exchange morning greetings with the neighbors in the Cass corridor, ride up to the top of the parking structure of Motor City Casino, enjoy the 'art work' of Heidelberg street, wave to the midnight staff of the DMC," Dawn says.

Image courtesy Gloria Rocha

Mary Ryan, who learned about BTT while riding through Clark Park last year, has her own set of reasons; namely,
the family-friendly environment and the encouragement she and other riders receive.

Ryan says doing something in the city that is unrelated to alcohol or bars is a welcome change from the norm, too.

"This city has so much more to offer than cocktails," she says.

"(The rides) are good exercise, great people and a fun way to see a beautiful city."

Image courtesy Willie Faison

Duane Hanson, who fell in love with BTT after viewing a few early-morning sunrises - a normal occurrence for weekly riders - agrees wholeheartedly with Ryan on the kid-friendly aspect.

Hanson, who has brought both his 6-year-old son and young daughter on the rides, says the "children-allowed" factor is positive for him because he gets to spend time with his family. He says it's great for the kids, as well.

"I believe this form of riding with the young ones gives them a view of safely riding in the street and obeying the rules of the road...I always point out why and what I am looking at (to my son) so he can develop the skills to ride solo in a couple of years with us." says Hanson.

Image courtesy Andy Staub

For founder Andy Staub, a big part of his own love for the group is that he gets to help other people.

"I try to encourage our riders to push their limits and set higher goals for themselves," he says.

Staub takes pride in the fact that many of the riders have overcome big roadblocks through the group.

And Staub, known to some members by the nickname "drill sergeant", is happy to offer his help. He says that sometimes all they need is "
just the smallest push".

Equally important to Staub are that people get to know the real Detroit, the one members of BTT see on their weekly bike trips.

"This is something you can't (sic) get from your couch or...your front porch. You must get out and feel the streets. Experience the history and the majesty of our great city." Staub says.

Hard work = accomplishment

Along with working off some calories and learning more about the D, the members of BTT note that the weekly rides have lead to other positives in their lives, such as better time management, the ability to set realistic anachievablele goals, and the confidence to try new things.

One of the greatest examples of this belongs to Dawn, who joined the group thinking she couldn't keep up with "the big dogs", but proved herself wrong after she accomplished a major milestone last summer.

"Because of Beat the Train, I made a bike trip of 297 miles," Dawn says.

"Last year I would never have even attempted."

To learn more about Beat the Train in Detroit, please visit the the BTT website or stop by and check 'em out on Myspace.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

480-unit condo/retail project proposed for East Riverfront

Just months after the demolition of three cement silos began on Detroit's riverfront, city officials have begun announcing a slew of new developments that will take their place.

In mid-March, the Kilpatrick administration announced it had chosen a $193-million proposal from local developer and Detroit native Dwight Belyue for 18 acres surrounding a portion of Atwater Street, which is located about a mile east of the Renaissance Center in Detroit's Rivertown district.

According to John Gallagher's article on the subject in the Detroit Free Press, the proposed project, called @water Lofts, contains 480 new condominium units. The average size will be 1400 square feet and prices will range in the upper-$300,000 level.

The proposal also calls for over 40,000 square feet of retail space, along with parking for the condos.

Beginning preparations for the @water Lofts project are set to begin this summer, and the first units are forecasted for completion at the end of 2007.

Interested parties should contact the Detroit branch of Global Group GMAC Real Estate at 313.832.9000 for more information.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Next stop for Scion xPress Fest: Detroit

Magic Stick is site for national music video screening tour

If Timothy Marklevitz's filmography skills are anywhere near the impressive singing/songwriting abilities of newly-emerged indie band Those Transatlantics, the Brownstown native has more than a shot at winning the Scion xPress Fest (SxF) Music Video Screening Tour which stops at Detroit's Magic Stick this Tuesday night.

Given Marklevitz's track record -- he won firsts in both the Public Service Announcement and News Feature/Magazine Program categories at the 2005 Michigan Association of Broadcaster's College Excellence Awards, and walked away with a grand prize for video news from the National Broadcasting Society last March -- it appears the 23-year-old has what it takes.

At least the SxF judges seem to think so; they gave Markelvitz's video the green light, making him one of ten regional finalists for the Scion xPress Fest. Now it's up to voters in Detroit and nine other cities to decide who takes home the Grand Prize of $20,000.

Come out and support
Marklevitz and the nine other contestants at the Detroit premiere of the videos this Tuesday night at the Magic Stick. The event runs from 8 pm - midnight and the screening starts at 9.

Those Transatlantics will be your hosts and Dorkwave will provide the music.

The event is free and open to the public, but you must RSVP here first.

Oh, and don't forget your ID -- complimentary bar for those 21 and up.

For more information or to listen to audio files of the ten super-talented indie bands, visit
Scion xPress Fest on the web.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Historic Detroit Pottery Stands the Test of Time

Pewabic Pottery Celebrates 103rd Birthday Today

Pewabic Tiles in the Times Square People Mover Station

In today's age of mergers and acquisitions, downsizing and ever-changing consumer tastes, it's difficult to imagine a company being around longer than 10 years, let alone fifty or seventy-five.

That a company could survive past 100 years is a rarity; one that only a handful of businesses statewide have achieved.

One of Pewabic's fabulous tiles

Pewabic Pottery, an organization conceived and brought to life in a small stable on John R., celebrates its 103rd anniversary today.

Congratulations, Pewabic, on this milestone achievement. May your continued commitment to the field of art bring you another 103 years of success.

Pewabic is celebrating its milestone achievement today from 11 am - 3 pm with guided tours of the facility, along with demonstrations of tile-pressing and wheel-throwing. Cake and refreshments will also be served. Pewabic is located a mile and a half east of Belle Isle at 10125 East Jefferson in Detroit.

To learn more about the history of Pewabic Pottery, please click here.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wounds of Sarah hits the DPM

Detroit fashion duo to unveil Fall menswear collection aboard the Detroit People Mover

They've turned Detroit's fashion scene upside-down with their unique, ultra-hip boutique known as the Pure Detroit Design Lab, so it shouldn't be surprising that the Motor City's "it" girls of fashion have come up with another primo idea: they're taking the runway concept to a whole new level.


Sarah Lurtz and Sarah Lapinski, the creative minds behind the trendy menswear line known as
Wounds of Sarah will introduce their Fall 2006 collection aboard the Detroit People Mover this Saturday.

The ultra-cool fashion trip begins at 3:30 pm on March 11 at the DPM's Financial District Station, located at Larned and Shelby.

Be among the first to see the new collection: all that's required is the fifty-cent ride fair. Team Sarah and producer Phillip Cooley will take care of the rest.

Guests are invited to attend a post-show reception at Pure Detroit Design lab immediately following the event. Slow’s, Baile Corcaigh, Olso, Mosaic, Coach Insignia, Twingo's and Greektown's Pegasus will supply the food, while Motor City Brewing Works and Veritas will supply the beer, wine and champagne.

For more information, please visit
Wounds of Sarah on the Web.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

City Living Detroit Presents the City Living Expo

Interested in finding out more about residential properties in Detroit? Look no further than the 2006 City Living Expo this weekend at Ford Field.

Grinnell Lofts

The City Living Expo presented by City Living Detroit, an organization which aims to promote housing in the Motor City, has teamed up with the Michigan Home and Garden Show this year to offer its biggest and best showcasing of Detroit homes yet.

Individuals interested in Detroit housing that attend the event, which runs from March 10 - 12 at Ford Field, will have the opportunity to speak with a number of individuals -- developers, sales professionals and representatives -- from various residential properties located in the city.

Real estate agents and lenders will also be on hand to answer questions about finding and purchasing Detroit properties.

As an added bonus, City Living Detroit is offering bus tours of residential developments in Downtown and Midtown on Saturday and Sunday from nonn - 4 pm. The tours depart from Ford Field every 15 minutes and are free for event attendees.

Riverfront Condominiums

Properties on the City Living Expo's Housing Tour include:

Grinnell Lofts
The Carlton
The Lamar
The Ellington
Riverfront Condominiums
The Park Shelton
Mid-Med Lofts
Art Center Town Homes
55 West Canfield

Park Shelton

The Michigan Home and Garden Show at Ford Field runs from Friday, March 10 through Sunday, March 12. Hours for the event are as follows:

Friday, March 10: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Saturday, March 11: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday, March 12: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Admission to the 2006 City Living Expo at Ford Field is $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children ages 6 – 14. Children under 6 are free.

Over 2000 parking spots are available within a block of Ford Field at $3 each.

Please visit or City Living Detroit's 2006 Expo page for more information.

Art Center Town Homes

City Living Detroit seeks to promote Detroit as a vibrant urban community. It does this by providing Detroit-related housing information and resources to individuals and by organizing tours and home fairs that showcase city properties. For more information about City Living Detroit or to view residential properties in Detroit, please visit

55 West Canfield model unit

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