Today in the news was the stories of scuffles at both of the famous American and Lafayette coney islands downtown.
Apparently, there are yahoos who think it’s just fine to break the glass on the windows there and insult the employees regularly.
At Lafayette, someone used a boxcutter to bust the glass. It took 30 minutes for police to arrive at the downtown establishment.
At American, an “unidentified object” was used to smash the large glass windows, but owner Grace Keros reveals the windows are being broken once a month.
Another disturbing undertone? Where apparently folks are starting to say the coney island employees are “not American.”
The absurdity of that is we are a nation of immigrants.
The two coneys downtown are the standard bearers the nation knows, but there’s a whole coney culture in Detroit.
There are many coney islands in the city. They have roots as the affordable neighborhood grab-and-go food spot, harkening back to the factory days when people were stacked in small houses and slept in shifts. The coney is a modern and popular remnant of our industrial past and somewhat present.
Many of these places, yes, were set up by immigrants. But coneys are part of Detroit’s culture, a culture that many who still live in our region and those who are ex-pats consider part of “home.”
And I consider Detroit the most American city on the planet.
So unless you’re Native American, your family is not “from” here. They came here, probably by choice, to escape persecution or through terrible servitude.
Going forward, when we have budget priorities that underpay and understaff cops which results in 30 minutes to respond to police calls, we tell ourselves and the world we don’t care. That has to stop.
And I know some idiots busting windows and being unruly is a minor run.
But I also know that throughout the city there are issues and if I need to use something that gets the attention of people like the coney islands downtown to tell you about it, I will.
When we damage the few icons left of our civic heritage — which is what the coney island really is to Detroiters — and insult those who helped build our city, we only hurt ourselves.
Oh, and I’ll take two to go. Everything. Cheese fries.