New York residents may have noticed new billboards throughout the city encouraging them to move to Detroit. There’s one in Soho, another at the Ace Hotel in Midtown, and the other two billboards are in Bushwick. One example reads, “Detroit: Just west of Bushwick” while another says, “Detroit: Be left alone” below a rainbow.
“I think Detroit is a compelling place for people to be moving,” explained Philip Kafka of Prince Media Co., the boutique billboard company behind the campaign, to Business Insider. “I can do things there as a young guy that I could never imagine doing in New York or any other major market in the US.”
Kafka is currently opening a Thai restaurant along with a few partners in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood which will be called KATOI, and is trying to get people to work there. “We plan to hire between 15 and 20 people,” one of the co-partners in KATOI, Courtney Henriette, told Metro Times. “We are looking for general kitchen and service staff.”
And while part of the campaign is to drum up awareness for the upcoming restaurant, New York-based Kafka said another, separate campaign is to encourage people — particularly artists and young creatives — to move to the financially troubled city. Kafka himself owns property in Detroit, and believes it is on the rise.
“Every time people find a neighborhood in New York, ‘the man’ moves there,” he told us. “You always have to keep moving east or west. Bushwick was east of Williamsburg, which was east of the Lower East Side, and so on.”
Detroit, he says, is merely going a little west instead. Kafka also insists that the scene is becoming more hip and appealing to millennials.
“Detroit is a lot more spread out than New York, so it’s hard to see what’s happening,” he said. “But once it’s connected and people see what Detroit is about, it’s new and unexpected.”
“It also has a great history, and we can never ignore that,” Kafka added.
Henriette agrees, and told Metro News that the right kind of New Yorkers will “recognize the value in Detroit.”
Time will tell whether the romantic billboards will encourage a new wave of residents to uproot from their tiny, overpriced apartments and make their way to Detroit, but for now at least it has it’s own hashtag #movetodetroit.