Posts tagged vernor
Standing In The Shadows of Love

Zoë Villegas shares reflections on finding a place in the ceremony, economy, and celebration of Valentine’s Day growing up in Detroit. Erik Paul Howard illustrates her musings with photographs from the places and rituals her reflections are rooted in.

Words by Zoë Villegas
Photos by Erik Paul Howard

A Valentine’s Day window display lights up the street at Delia’s Fashion on W Vernor Hwy and Springwells in Southwest Detroit.

Remember how it was... here in the Motor City where backseats were made. With women hauling buckets of plastic wrapped single roses, doing cash exchanges in a series of hand motions in under 15 seconds—across from the Grand Marquis with the blinking light guarding Armando's.

On the intersection at I-75 and Springwells where the smog sunset brought to you by Marathon refinery will offer an air of romance later, two men compete selling pink carnations and red roses on the eastern and western corners. Specials on Hypnotiq, Rosé and small teddy bears that say "I luv you" next to condoms and aphrodisiacs by cash registers at the liquor store, remind us what month it is.


Casino lights flash red and pink. The insurance building with a glowing heart illuminates Fisher Freeway. All month in lobbies of welfare offices we have women selling perfume from brief cases, negotiating prices and discussing plans for reservations, showing manicures and pitching last minute sales on makeup sessions. All red outfits we plan to wear later are fodder for conversation when we get our bureaucratic mess dealt with for the day. One more document to turn in. Denied a bridge card once again. Apply again tomorrow. 

The ho store has been window-dressed with red tinsel and cutouts of bows and arrows displaying a sale on lingerie and all the variations of fabric that mimic lace, sequin, chiffon, satin and silk in the entire spectrum of erotic alternative fibers.

This economy was trained young—we were once freshman girls delivered singing Valentines and boxes of chocolates... for $1 anyone can say all the things they could never say. Radio dedications evoke memories of Ford-Wyoming drive-in make out sessions allowing songs long out of rotation to be made an exception for the sake of a collective memory.

Detroit carves a space for a moment to live—in between the stress and mundane of every day life, while we fantasize about leisure. If even in those two seconds at a light can be used for maximum potential filled in with the sentiment of romance buying a flower that is how it's done.

We take a holiday seriously. The message is about claiming our time, our right to love amidst the harsh reality of endless work to make ends meet.

Detroit says I love you the same way we do everything else, with hustling. Happy Valentine's Day to all the hustlers standing in the shadows of love.

For those about to ho, we salute you.

SNAPSHOT: Via Crucis at St Gabriel's Church

Photos by Gabriela Santiago-Romero

Via Crucis is a long standing tradition of the Catholic Church.  Each year on Easter weekend St. Gabriel's parish in Southwest Detroit hosts an elaborate presentation of the stations of the cross acted out by members of the church.  Hundreds of parishioners and local residents gather to view Via Crucis as it travels outside the church and through the community around Vernor and Springwells for the 2 hour event.

SNAPSHOT: Cinco de Mayo Parade 2012

This year's Cinco de Mayo Parade was filled with youth, families, instruments, horses, fashion, and rides!  This year the parade again traveled its traditional route from Patton Park to Clark Park.  Lasting for just over an hour it pleased visitors with a diverse arrangement of floats and performances.  Marching bands filled the streets with familiar sounds.  Horses pranced by.  Candy flew from cars and floats.  And young people from the community sported everything from signs with messages to the latest fashions from local shops.

What was YOUR experience?  Leave a comment below to let us know. What did you see, hear, taste, touch, and/or smell out in the neighborhood this weekend for the Cinco de Mayo festivities?


Neighborhood Is Buzzing As Cinco de Mayo Approaches

Written by Carmen Mendoza-King for Inside Southwest Detroit

Cars line up on West Vernor. Horns beep and bass shakes the neighborhood through the early night. People wave flags out of car windows. These are just a few signs that the Cinco de Mayo parade in Southwest Detroit is on its way. This highly anticipated parade is the largest annual event celebrated in the community of southwest Detroit. Cinco de Mayo festivities have evolved from a one day parade to a series of celebrations stretching throughout the first week of May.

Since its beginning, generations ago, the Southwest Detroit Cinco de Mayo parade has been growing in size and popularity along with the growth of the local Latino population. Compared to only a decade ago, the parade is a huge version of its former self.  Southwest Detroit residents and non-residents alike pack sidewalks along West Vernor to watch the parade during the first weekend in May.  They enjoy watching Mexican bandas playing on parade floats, young break-dancers, lowrider bikes and cars, and school marching bands.  Following the parade Clark Park has traditionally hosted a variety of festivities such as Mexican folkloric dance performances, music, art, and a sampling of local cuisine sold at booths.

This year the parade is incorporating several changes that will primarily affect the parade route and "official" activities after the parade.  This year the parade will not begin at Patton Park as it has in the past... instead the parade will be two miles long, and will proceed down Vernor from Waterman to 24th Street in Southwest Detroit.  Although there will not be activities at the end of the parade route as in the past, there is PLENTY to do before and after the parade throughout the neighborhood.  Stay tuned to Inside Southwest Detroit for up-to-date information on events!

Check out the Inside Southwest Detroit Community Calendar for happenings:

Download the official 2010 Cinco de Mayo Parade Application: