This was my first holiday season in the D.  I love walking through Campus Martius; it’s been full of life since the tree lighting, families flying over the ice in the rink and sipping hot cocoa in the ringside cafe. On New Year’s Eve, downtown was crowded with Detroiters and suburbanites alike waiting to ring in 2017 with the drop of the D.

But my favorite photos from this holiday season were those of Detroit in the 40s and 50s. These photos starting popping up on my social media, contrasting the selfies in front of Parc and the Christmas tree, the bright red and green lights lining the stores of Woodward in 2016. People crowded the sidewalks in front of the Hudsons, shopping bags spilling over arms. Snowflakes hung over the street. The after-hours quiet street in front of Toyland. Christmas Trees drawn on the sides of buildings in twinkle lights.

These photos struck me not because they portray where Detroit was, but where Detroit is going to be.

I love spending my evenings sitting in the huge windowsill that overlooks Woodward Ave, one block over from that old Hudson’s site, colored lights making the street glow. It’s becoming easier to imagine these streets full again. Maybe I’m hopeful because restaurants were busy this holiday season. Or maybe I’m hopeful because revitalization efforts are encouraging investment in local business, and creating ambassadors to the city that are spreading good words about our city’s rebirth.

I did spend part of my holiday break back in Jersey with my family, and after the chorus of “why Detroit?” dimmed, they gave me a chance to brag about the D’s true culture: hard work and love. And they believed me when I showed them those old photos and told them, “This is what Detroit is going to look like when you visit one day.”