Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flint Bloggers at Work

Flint bloggers Gordon Young (left) and Gerry Godin (right) relax in the private club accessible only to those who blog about the Vehicle City. (Well, technically, the owner of the house, along with his friends and relatives, are also allowed access.)

Many readers have asked what it's really like to be a Flint blogger. They've no doubt heard some exaggerated tales about the booze, the pills, the cash. None of that is true, although after a few nights sleeping on the floor in Flint I was over-indulging in ibuprofen.

But that's not to say Flint bloggers don't have a good time when they get together. Gerry Godin, who publishes the astounding All Things Buick blog stopped by in his Park Avenue while I was in Flint, and we had the kind of day you'd expect of two guys who spend large amounts of time writing about Flint. I'm reluctant to even post this because the lives we both lead are so extravagant, but I feel we owe it to our readers to give them a glimpse into our world of privilege.

We began the day taking in the great outdoors at Oak Park, which happens to be right next to the now-demolished Buick City plant where Gerry worked for many years.

Gerry attempts to fathom the logic behind GM tearing down a neighborhood to create more parking for their factory, and then building a park for the neighborhood they had just leveled. For good measure, G.M. then closed the factory but left the park.

Tennis at Oak Park is particularly challenging.

Just what the Michigan economy needs right about now.

Next, we toured some Flint factory sites and discovered that even though all the jobs are gone, the security guards remain. We we're told to get lost by one guard who clearly didn't know who we were.

Fine food is one luxury we enjoy as Flint bloggers. Although we could have sat in a private area at Angelo's, we chose seats near the counter.

Gerry demonstrates excellent coney-eating technique acquired by years of practice.

My technique...not so good. When the onions fell in my lap, I started to panic. Luckily, Gerry's old union president, who was eating at the counter, didn't notice me.

I tried to impress Gerry by wearing a t-shirt with a childlike drawing of a car engine on it. It's the sort of thing considered cool in San Francisco, but Gerry put me to shame with an amazing shirt commemorating the last car made at Buick City on June 29, 1999.

Next we paid a visit to our friend Bill who owns the Hardwood Smith house.

Gerry gets under the hood of Bill's 1956 Buick Century.

Who says old Buick hood ornaments weren't pedestrian friendly?

Thirty years of Buick craftsmanship and paint jobs that look a lot like primer. The '56 Century next to an '86 Century.

After a long day of all things Flint, Gerry rests on his Park Avenue and has a smoke while the birthplace of G.M. looms in the background. Notice the inexplicable one-way street sign in the background. Yes, Flint still has all those maddening one-ways. It's good to know some things don't change.


  1. Thirty years ago the Hardwood Smith residence was owned by a commercial establishment next door -- Flint Blueprint. The residence was primarily used for storage at the time by the aforementioned Flint Blue but way back then, I briefly contemplated renting a couple rooms in that building for my fledgling self-employment enterprise.

  2. And if East Village Magazine can access it's archives, there's a map of that particular neighborhho re proposed street closures circa 1984 or so.

  3. I'm GREEN WITH ENVY. Looked like an awesome afternoon!

  4. What an awesome post Gordon! The photos are great esp. the coney dog. it just galls me when I leave Michigan and they call their chili dogs "coneys"! bleck! Only Flint has the best coneys!


  5. Great post. I've been a follower of Gerry's blog and I think I'll add yours to my RSS reader as well :) Ah, miss those coney dogs at Angelo's...

  6. That guy in the pictures eating the Conies with Gerry Godin...that's that dude that wrote the new piece about Flint on the NYT website, right?

    And the piece got a big writeup in the FJ, but somehow they forgot to mention that the author has a blog about Flint?

  7. It's sad that vandals just destroyed a lot of the history here.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.