Destination Detroit: More than hockey
April 5, 2010
by Paul Stella
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As far back as he can remember, Matt Chung has enjoyed a strong connection with Detroit. Growing up in the suburban community of West Bloomfield, he frequently spent weekends in the city at a family-run restaurant.
“It was always really great going down there and having my dad show me the city,” he recalls. The pair frequently found time to explore many of Detroit’s cultural outlets.
For Jon Rodibaugh, originally from the neighboring suburb of Rochester Hills, time spent in the city with his family growing up might sound to others more like a visit to Oz—with Lions and Tigers and, well, Red Wings. Oh my!
“I’m a big Detroit sports fan,” he explains, “so we used to do a lot of that.”
Both Rodibaugh, director of chapter programming for RIT’s Office of Alumni Relations, and Chung, an MFA student in the university’s imaging arts program, share pride in their Michigan roots. They hope the Frozen Four provides visiting RIT hockey fans an opportunity to explore much of what the area has to offer.
Rodibaugh points to Detroit’s vibrant music scene as one example. The birthplace of Motown Records has become a hot spot for the underground “indie rock” movement.
“You can go to pretty much any restaurant or bar in Detroit on any given night and you’re going to see a good band. The competition there is pretty fierce.”
Sightseers, he says, might wish to explore Greenfield Village, a collection of nearly 100 historic buildings relocated to the site from all across America. The Henry Ford Museum is also found there.
Chung says his favorite destination is the Detroit Institute of Arts. He encourages visitors to check out the giant mural by Diego Rivera entitled “Detroit Industry,” a tribute to the city’s automotive heritage.
“You’re just surrounded by these fresco paintings that are on all four walls,” states Chung. “For me, it’s probably a ‘must see’ if you’re gong to Detroit. It’s unique and it’s only at that location.”
But for all its attraction, the city’s great assets may be its human resources, particularly in the wake of a difficult economy.
“I thing Detroit gets a little bit of a bad reputation because of what you see in the press,” explains Rodibaugh. “You really couldn’t ask for a more hospitable town."
Adds Chung, “When you look into it, there’s wonderful people and communities in the city.”
Activities off the ice
Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Indians
Friday, April 9 – Sunday, April 11
1:05 p.m. (all 3 days)
Friday Night Live! The Northwood Improvisers
Detroit Institute of Arts
Friday, April 9
Two performances: 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Mornings at the Market Tour
Eastern Market, 2934 Russell Street
Saturday, April 10
7 – 9:30 a.m.
For more information: