Detroit's Hot New Economy: Misery Tourism
Step right up and see all the depressing, abandoned buildings!
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Dec 26, 2013 11:20 AM CST
In a photo from Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, an empty field in Brush Park, north of Detroit's downtown is shown with an abandoned home.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

(Newser) – Detroit's economy is famously not exactly booming, but the city does have one burgeoning industry: Tourism. Since the city declared bankruptcy, hotels tell the LA Times that they've seen more visitors coming intent on gawking at some of the city's roughly 78,000 abandoned buildings. Restaurants in Corktown, which is strategically located near an abandoned train station, confirm that, and one tour guide the paper talked to said he'd recently upgraded to a 12-seat van.

For $45, former aircraft mechanic Jesse Welter will lead visitors into derelict churches, once-luxurious high-rises, the deserted ballroom where the Who held their first US concert and more—often climbing fences or crawling on hands and knees along the way. It's technically illegal, but police say they don't mind. And visitors are impressed. "It's really a once-in-a-lifetime thing you're going to see," said one British tourist. "You can really feel the history of a city. In Europe when things become derelict, they'll demolish them." Detroit hasn't—in large part because it doesn't have the money.

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Jesse Welter
Jan 13, 2014 10:36 AM CST
My tours with Motor City Photography Workshops bring people to the city, the reaction is, “I want to be a part of rebuilding the city”, “I want to live in Detroit”, “I love this city”, it goes on and on with nothing but positive comments. Fernando Palazuelo would never had bought the Packard Automotive Plant if it didn’t get the exposure from myself and all the other people who share images and excitement about it. It would just be another abandon building and land.. I don’t see any negative aspects of what I do. In town for the NAIAS? I have tours running this week
Scooter Livingston
Dec 28, 2013 6:59 PM CST
Gee...the REPUBLICAN GOVERNED St Petersburg buiit Baywalk. How's that working out these days? You Cons slay me.
Dec 27, 2013 7:46 PM CST
DC is another long time Dem city. Feds had to take over after Dems ran it into the ground. Lots of unemployed people there, and they all have free rent, free utilities,free healthcare, free cellphones, food stamps, etc.etc.