Part 2 of a Series
Some of the most delicious treats I tasted in Detroit, Michigan were served up to me wherever I turned in Motor City. And, like all candies, they came in a variety of flavors and colors. However, there were no calories in these candies. I call those treats my eye candy.
Hart Plaza, a 14-acre riverfront destination designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1978, is a virtual sculpture park. This popular venue, that hosts up to 40,000 people for summer festivals, concerts and special events, was named for the late U.S. Senator Philip Hart.
HART PLAZA...THE HEART OF DETROIT’S RIVERFRONT
Please allow me to offer you a bite out of my favorite eye candies that abide at Hart Plaza and elsewhere in the Comeback City. Enjoy!
THE FIST, dedicated on October 16, 1986 at Detroit's Hart Plaza, is a tribute to heavyweight champion Joe Louis, a Detroit native. It is said to represent the power of the punch, both inside and outside the ring, of the man also known as “The Brown Bomber”. The cost to produce this “Monument to Joe Louis” in 1986 was $350,000. In 2013, art dealer and art historian Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz stated that the value of the sculpture was between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000.
|THE FIST: A TRIBUTE TO HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION JOE LOUIS|
TRANSCENDING, a Michigan Labor Legacy Landmark dedicated on August 30, 2003 at Hart Plaza, consists of two 59-foot high stainless steel arcs that weigh 30 tons, stretch 63-feet skyward, and do not join together at the top. The arcs, thought to symbolize the unfinished mission of the American Labor Movement, showcase scenes from Detroit's labor history. Fourteen split Vermont granite boulders encircling the arcs, symbolize the sacrifices and achievements of American workers.
|TRANSCENDING’S OPEN ARCS SYMBOLIZE THE LABOR MOVEMENT’S UNFINISHED MISSION|
THE HORACE E. DODGE AND SON MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN is located at the center of Hart Plaza. Designed by Isamu Noguchi, this stainless steel fountain consists of a large steel ring raised about thirty feet above the ground and supported by two legs. It towers over a sunken circular, black granite pool. The fountain contains 300 jets and 300 lights that play upon the flowing waters. Together they create a plethora of configurations.
PYLON, also designed by Isamu Noguchi, is a stainless steel spire positioned near the entrance to Hart Plaza. Although some people view this 120-foot sculpture as an obelisk, and others see it as a silver spike, Pylon is architecturally described as a double helix that appears to make a quarter turn between the bottom and the top. When it was constructed in 1974, Mayor Coleman Young proclaimed it was: "A centerpiece for the renaissance going on all around us.”
|ISAMU NOGUCHI’S STAINLESS STEEL PYLON|
THE SPIRIT OF DETROIT, located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, is a city monument that includes the seals of the city and the county. This large bronze statue holds a gilded family group in its right hand. A gilded sphere, emanating rays said to symbolize God, is clutched in its left hand. At times, the statue becomes a fashionista. When the Three Tenors visited the city, the statue wore a tuxedo. When local professional sport teams reach the playoffs, the statue often wears the team’s jersey.
|THE SPIRIT OF DETROIT INCLUDES SEALS OF THE CITY AND THE COUNTY|
MILLENNIUM BELL, located in the Grand Circus Park, was commissioned by the City of Detroit to ring in the new millennium of 2000. A 10-ton, stainless steel bell hangs from a crossbar between two 26-foot tall arches. Unveiled on December 31, 1999, the bell is rung once a year at midnight between December 31 and January 1. Detroiters hold hopes of hearing the bell rIng someday when the Detroit Lions are victorious in the Super Bowl.
|STAINLESS STEEL MILLENNIUM BELL IN GRAND CIRCUS PARK|
THE THINKER, a 2000-pound bronze sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin sits atop a 12,000-pound granite base in front of the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) in Detroit’s Cultural Center. The original was cast in 1904 and was installed in Paris. It is believed that, around that time, approximately 20 copies were made of Rodin’s original composition. Whether you have an hour or a day, you must not miss the DIA.
THE THINKER AT THE ENTRY TO THE DETROIT ART INSTITUTE
MICHIGAN SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, one of Detroit’s oldest pieces of public art, is located at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit. Built in 1887, the Civil War monument was designed to honor the 90,000 Michigan troops who fought for the Union and the 14,823 who did not return home from battle. In 2005, the monument’s time capsule was opened and updated to include all Michiganders killed from the Civil War up to April 2005 in Iraq and Afghanistan.
|MICHIGAN SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT|
TIGER SCULPTURES abound at Comerica Park, the Detroit Tigers Stadium that opened in the year 2000. In front of the main entrance, a fifteen-foot tiger statue greets fans as they arrive at the ballpark. Eight other huge tigers stand guard at the entry, inside the park, and on top of the left field scoreboard. The eyes of the two prowling tigers atop the scoreboard light up when the team scores a home run or wins the game. Thirty-three tiger heads, with lighted baseballs in their mouths, are stationed along the red brick walls outside the ballpark.
|TIGER SCULPTURES ABOUND AT COMERICA PARK|
As a Detroit Tiger would growl...you’ll have a grrrrrrr-eat time in Detroit.
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer/Editor and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio