Michigan Central station is a new beginning in more ways than one

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The light thunder of clapping and the gentle roar of cheers rang out inside the Michigan Central Train station during our tour of the joint this weekend.

We were inside the Poster room and stepped outside into the main concourse to see what all the fuss about. For a moment I thought Bill Ford Jr. strolled in to get another look at his handy work. I looked for a man in a grey suit and big smile strolling amongst the crowd.

Instead I witnessed a man still on one knee after asking his girlfriend to marry him. She said yes and the applause went from a gentle patter into a thundering clap.

The nearly billion dollar project inspires, motivates and provides a new gateway for greatness for the city of Detroit. Michigan Central ushered in a new era for Detroit and a new beginning for the couple who agreed to a lifelong commitment in front of dozens of onlookers.

Here is how special the Michigan Central project presented by the Ford Motor Company is. I got my wife Abs to attend on an evening when she worked. She never goes out on a work day. But for the second time in our 25 years of marriage she agreed to go out with me on a work day.

Beyoncé and the train station now share a common thread. They got Abs to delay her welcomed night of sleep for a little fun with her husband.

I mostly soaked in the tales of volunteers who told stories that were not on display cards scattered throughout the building. For instance a young woman told us that the towers of the station were mostly unoccupied. A volunteer told us that a restaurant is coming along with shopping. And the community can share in green space that is to be designed and built outside the station.

Once I told the volunteers I used to run through the station to greet my Aunt Margo following her trips from New York, they had questions.

Were the tiles as shiny as the ones we walked on this weekend?

The answer is no.

Were the arches and woodwork as grandiose as what we witnessed this weekend? No.

Back then they were a bit worn. The fixtures were great but the old station smelled a bit and was dingy. I loved greeting my aunt at the station because it reminded me of New York’s Grand Central station, a place my family allowed me to roam during trips to New York.

My fondest memory of Michigan Central was eating White Castle hamburgers in Roosevelt Park with Uncle James and my childhood friends. There was a White Castle right smack, dab in front of the train station.

We used to down the hamburgers and play tag in front of the station. It was our Saturday afternoon delight until the White Castle was moved down Michigan Avenue closer to the downtown hub and old Tiger Stadium.

They wanted to know if I thought the train station would be a major boon to the community.

If the first floor and surrounding areas remain open for retail, restaurants and perhaps an old school dive bar, then it can work. I suggest that they open a Ford’s Garage, a nice restaurant that has locations around the nation, including in Dearborn and Novi.

The answer is no if this building becomes an exclusive Ford Motor Company location and the rest of us never step foot inside again.

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For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet

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Original Photo Credit © JASON KEEN/MICHIGAN CENTRAL – https://www.jasonkeen.com/