I’m late to this party, and many of you may already have seen it, but for those of you who didn’t…
In January of this year, Newsweek included Grand Rapids, Michigan on its list of “America’s Dying Cities.” In an economy where such a high-profile knockdown can result in real world losses of employment opportunity and civic vitality (what company wants to move or expand to a “dying city”?), this was a potentially devastating assessment. Many cities faced with such a slam would respond with statements from politicians, letters to the publication, press releases from the chamber of commerce, and other fairly ineffective countermeasures.
Not Grand Rapids. They made a video. Specifically, a lip dub which almost immediately went viral. NPR reported:
…Even for a large-scale lip dub, Grand Rapids, working with a live version of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” went all out, with thousands of people involved…There’s a procession of fire trucks and police cars. People wave handkerchiefs from balconies. There’s a pillow fight and a concert; there’s a wedding and a couple gently grinning from the back of a pickup. There are news vans. There are too many guitars to count. There’s a ukulele. There are cheerleaders and football players and a mascot, and yes, at the words “marching band,” you can probably guess what happens.
It’s an entire city turning out to refute the opinion of a national magazine, in the most joyous and vivid manner possible. Grand Rapids a dying city? Anyone who watches this video won’t believe that assessment. It looks like a vibrant place to me.
The best part — and to my geeky self, the most amazing part — is that this entire nine-minute video was done in one continuous shot. Yes, even the footage from the helicopter.