Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 Blind pigs in Detroit 1960's Previous Next
Top of pageBottom of page

Edziu
Member
Username: Edziu

Post Number: 30
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Saturday, February 02, 2008 - 9:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some of the fondest memories of my youth in Detroit are of the blind pigs. In the early 60's I worked at the old Receiving Hospital and the old Children's hospital downtown. I can recall going to many blind pigs in the area late at night after the bars closed.

The trick was to know the keyword to get in. Most were in large old houses. After knocking on the back door someone would open a small trap door and ask, yes? We would say Jacob sent us or whatever the code was and we were given entry. My friend Bill and I are caucasian and these establishments were primarily Afro American. I was only 21 or 22 at the time, but I swear we were made to feel right at home. NEVER, EVER did I feel threatened or afraid . The clients were friendly and gregarious. This was pre riots and Coleman.

Granted, these were illegal establishments, but the point I would like to make is that we were all having a good time with no hate, fear or prejudice. What happened Detroit? When did we turn down the path of isolation and bigotry? Or did we?
Top of pageBottom of page

Caldogven
Member
Username: Caldogven

Post Number: 152
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 03, 2008 - 12:49 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Edziu
Ask C.A.Y.
Shame on me!!
Top of pageBottom of page

Pgn421
Member
Username: Pgn421

Post Number: 336
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Sunday, February 03, 2008 - 10:05 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My dad used to go to one a long time ago. It was a house off Gratiot. It was in the 40`s 0r 50`s , anyone remember it. An italian fellow used to run it.
Top of pageBottom of page

Bill_rush
Member
Username: Bill_rush

Post Number: 18
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 8:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For the Receiving Hospital/ Med school gang and the DPD Hqtrs in the fifties,our not-so-blind pigs were the Greek restaurants in the original Greektown. There for very little $ you could order "special" coffee and get a creamer full of booze along with your coffee. It kept you going in the "pits".
Top of pageBottom of page

Bill_rush
Member
Username: Bill_rush

Post Number: 19
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 8:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For the Receiving Hospital/ Med school gang and the DPD Hqtrs in the fifties,our not-so-blind pigs were the Greek restaurants in the original Greektown. There for very little $ you could order "special" coffee and get a creamer full of booze along with your coffee. It kept you going in the "pits".
Top of pageBottom of page

Zephyrmec
Member
Username: Zephyrmec

Post Number: 29
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Friday, February 08, 2008 - 11:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There were quite a few in most major cities, and likely still are. I frequented a couple in Northeast DC. when I lived there after I left Southfield in the 80s and also managed to find one in Harrisburg. In DC it was the safest and friendliest place for a white guy to be if you happened to be in NE or SE after dark. As long as you behaved yourself, it was great. One joint even had two oldtimers playing music on Friday and Saturday. $10 cover and BYOB or $1.00 draft beer. If you had been introduced, you were let in. If not the response was "private party, get lost" The one in Harrisburg was not so accommodating, they tolerated rockheads and had lots of trouble, the place ended up getting torched.

My dad frequented one in Detroit in the early 50s, run by an old Polish guy somehow related to my dad's best military buddy. I wish I had asked him for more details when the subject came up.
Top of pageBottom of page

Jman
Member
Username: Jman

Post Number: 130
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, February 08, 2008 - 12:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the early 60s, I used to go to one on the east side of Oakland Ave. just south of Highland Park and another one on Burlingame between 2nd and 3rd.
Top of pageBottom of page

Johnlodge
Member
Username: Johnlodge

Post Number: 4993
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, February 08, 2008 - 12:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was at one in Windsor, maybe 10 years ago or so. You went into an art gallery, and there was a trapdoor in the floor that led you into a basement. Down there would be booze and bands playing. It was there twice, the third time I tried to go, it was gone. Anybody else see this place?
Top of pageBottom of page

Terryh
Member
Username: Terryh

Post Number: 680
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, February 08, 2008 - 9:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I went to a 'rave' party in the industrial area just south of East Grand back in 98. I didnt drink or do drugs but it was still fun. It was around St. Antoine-Hastings area. The place was dark with couches-dj-beer-that helium stuff partiers like to inhale.
Top of pageBottom of page

Detalum
Member
Username: Detalum

Post Number: 14
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Friday, February 08, 2008 - 11:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This may be a dumb question since I don't know much about rave parties. Could they be considered the upscale, modern day version of Blind Pigs from back in the day?
Top of pageBottom of page

Sumas
Member
Username: Sumas

Post Number: 46
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 12:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Pgn421, the place might have been cardinelli's SP? It was a blind pig during prohibition. Well into the 70's they served "legal" wine in coffee cups. Great italian food. the entry to the restaurant was on a side street off of Gratiot. They would buzz you in, if you didn't look threatening. Unfortunately, it's long gone. The best blind pigs in the seventies were in china town. those places were so discrete that no one even knew detroit had a china town. it even appointed its own mayors. good memories.
Top of pageBottom of page

Pgn421
Member
Username: Pgn421

Post Number: 420
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 7:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sumas- Thanks, it could have been..I cant remember what my dad said, its been a long time.Did the owner have nick name?
Top of pageBottom of page

Gannon
Member
Username: Gannon

Post Number: 11642
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 7:53 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the mid- to late-80s there was still at least ONE blind pig operating in the Medical Center area.

It was razed for the new Veteran's Hospital.


Same deal, go to the back door...always carefully watched from outside, the building's perimeter was SECURE...tell the eyes behind the sliding slot the magic word, and PRESTO! the door would open to another world.


Open cocaine consumption with a rather large tray for refills (never saw who was monitoring it, didn't look that close), the air hazy with what I later learned was a blend between weed and opium smoke (lost the scent for a decade until I caught it again in Utrecht, Amsterdam), gambling in all sorts of different forms (I'd swear there was a roulette wheel, but for sure they had a dice table and blackjack and poker)...cans of Pabst were $5, and nobody complained. Everybody was having a good time.


I was by far and away the whitest person there, it was the first time I was somewhere it seemed everyone called me 'officer'! "Hello, Officer!"


But, clearly, everyone WAS welcome. It was always the most honest party in town. One of the safest, too...you KNEW not just anybody could get in the place!
Top of pageBottom of page

Gannon
Member
Username: Gannon

Post Number: 11643
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 7:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detalum,

I'd call the raves; Blind Pig meets the Information Age. They came up with some curious ways to avoid the man while marketing to their crowd.
Top of pageBottom of page

Pgn421
Member
Username: Pgn421

Post Number: 421
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 8:43 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gannon- I think i remember the building. Was it an old restaurant/house. Across the street from VH?
Top of pageBottom of page

Vetalalumni
Member
Username: Vetalalumni

Post Number: 948
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2008 - 8:53 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Very late 70s, Wyoming Avenue, west side of street, near 6 Mile road AIR. Nondescript building exterior, dark red and black interior, many people carrying heat, open drug use, alcohol (mostly beer), females "sellin it", open until sunrise. The type of place people would go after the "regular" places closed.

Add Your Message Here
Posting is currently disabled in this topic. Contact your discussion moderator for more information.