Detroit’s decades-long image as a post-industrial wasteland is giving rise to a comeback narrative that is attracting thousands of new residents a year to the city.
Long-abandoned buildings have been transformed into trendy lofts, restaurants and retailers. Empty downtown skyscrapers are getting new life. And a Red Wings arena under construction is expected to spur massive development.
Enter Aaron Foley, a lifelong Detroiter and journalist who has chronicled the influx of new residents and the tone-deaf attitudes that often come with them. Now the first-time author is preparing for the launch of his cultural guidebook, “How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass.”
“My idea was to create a book that would serve as a handy-dandy guide to living in the city for new Detroiters—or give longtime Detroiters a refresher course,” Foley wrote in Blac Detroit. “Too often do Detroiters—especially newer residents—romanticize Detroit’s past and disregard the decades in between the industrial age and today.”
Foley, who is known for his witty insights of the Motor City, offers “advice on everything from buying and rehabbing a house to not sounding like a completely uninformed racist when you talk to a black person.”
The 31-year-old will be speaking at a pre-book release event at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Marble Bar at 1501 Holden in Detroit. A $10 admission fee includes food and your first drink. The event is sponsored by the Detroit Press Club, SPJ in Detroit and the Online News Association and is open to the public.
The book is being published by Rust Belt Chic and Belt Magazine, based in Cleveland.
“Aaron Foley’s book is great reading for those who love Detroit. But it’s really essential reading for anyone who cares about America’s cities and the racial and demographic differences that divide us,” said NPR host Celeste Headlee. “Foley delivers truths with humor and honesty. “
A book launch party is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 17.
The book is expected to be available on Dec. 1.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.