It was good seeing you this weekend, Ben.
And I agree with you about Washington. It is a wonderful place, and I will miss it when I return to Detroit (which is the likely outcome of my law school adventure).
By the way, I must point out that while downtown Detroit is a rather drab place, the powers that be are doing their best to improve it -- beginning next year with a Rockefeller Center-style skating rink in the city's center.
That said, the city will not return to greatness unless more businesses build up downtown, but more businesses will not build up downtown unless more people frequent the downtown area, and more people will not frequent the downtown area unless more businesses are built up downtown. Vicious circle.
The problem -- and what makes the Detroit AREA so great -- is Suburbia. You see, Detroit has some magnificent suburbs (to which I shall likely return in 1.5 years' time). Oakland County, just minutes from Detroit, is one of the wealthiest counties in the country. (I believe the exact title is "2nd richest in per capita income among counties with over 1 million residents.)
This wealth is the product of, and a principal reason behind, southeast Michigan's continued success. Schools, restaurants, museums, theater -- there is a lot to say for Metro Detroit. ;-)