After a controversial Detroit News story surfaced last week regarding the discovery of a frozen body in the abandoned Roosevelt Warehouse in Detroit, local and national media outlets have used the building as a reason to create another round of tired one-dimensional generalizations, characterizations, and metaphors. Though there is an obvious gravity to this sad story, and one should feel empathy for the innocent victim, it is sad that the structure has been cast in such a despairing light.
As with nearly everything in the city, the Roosevelt Warehouse is endowed with a complex beauty that is belied by over-simplification and and misunderstanding. In fact, one could argue that the building truly is a metaphor, but not in the way that the original Detroit News story might lead you to believe.
The metaphoric quality that I see is most evident in the indoor third-floor forest that has grown out of the ashes of a fire that was extinguished decades ago.