If there is any place in a gloomy nation that is better off right now than it was four years ago, Detroit would be it.
The Motor City, with its thousands of blighted houses, auto-industry layoffs and dwindling population, became a symbol of economic despair during the depths of the recent recession. Even now, southeast Michigan bears the scars of that downturn and others that came before it.
But lately, the mood in the region is more positive than in much of the rest of the country—and not only on game days.
The triumphs of the city's professional sports teams have helped, of course. The Detroit Tigers' victory over the favored New York Yankees in Thursday's decisive American League divisional playoff game had fans roaring in bars all over the city. The next round of playoff games could bring millions of dollars in additional business for hotels, bars, restaurants and other businesses near the team's home field in downtown Detroit.
An equally big boost for Detroit spirits is the sudden success of the city's pro football team, the Lions. The Lions, a perennial NFL doormat that made history by going winless just three seasons ago, are undefeated so far this season, and will make their first appearance on Monday Night Football in nearly ten years. The University of Michigan and Michigan State football teams are also enjoying winning seasons.