Ode to the Airport They Couldn’t Even Give Away.

I grew up about three blocks from the Detroit City Airport now know as the Coleman A. Young International Airport.  I don’t think they did CAY any favors naming the airport after him.  It’s a small municipal airport that has mostly served private aviation.  Southwest Airlines briefly provided commercial service at City but that was many years ago.

It turns out that that Detroit’s Emergency Manager couldn’t give the airport away during Detroit recent bankruptcy.

“The reality is as a general aviation airport it is not a commercial airport,” Orr said under questioning before a Detroit Economic Club luncheon this afternoon at Cobo Center. “We were perfectly willing to give it to some of our creditors provided they were willing to put in a certain amount of improvements. None of them took the bait.”

Fellow Detroit Eastsiders will remember the pluses and minuses of living so close to the airport.  We had four analog television channels back then.  Color had come to television but few people in my neighborhood had color televisions.  Whenever a plane flew overhead the television picture would get fuzzy for about a minute.  This would happen at least every 20 or 30 minutes.

One fond memory I have of the airport is walking there to see President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade arrive.  The President was concluding a visit to Detroit and departing by helicopter from there.  I arrived early and waited for more than two hours.  But I have a good vantage in the first row behind a wrought iron fence.  The wait was rewarded.  The top was down on the infamous bubble top limo and the Presidents was waiving to all.   The cars pulled up to the helicopters, the President got out, shook hands with a number of police officers, boarded the chopper and was gone.  A good memory for a ten year old.

Google could not help me with any details or pictures of President Kennedy’s visit to Detroit.  But I found this which is pretty cool. The President is announcing his support that Detroit be awarded the 1968 Olympic Games.


Here is a clip of the video that won Detroit the support of the U.S.O.C.  It was titled “The Detroit You Never Met”.  No kidding.


We lost the bid.  The Olympics went to Mexico City and will forever be remembered by this image of John Carlos (on right), Tommie Smith (centre) raising their fists in the Black Power salute while the National Anthem played.


Weren’t the 60’s fun?

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