Introducing Zaïré Daniels, Planet Detroit’s parks reporter

Ready to get outside? So are we. Come along with Planet Detroit’s new parks reporter, Zaïré Daniels, as he embarks on a quest to visit a new Detroit park every week. 

There are 359 parks within the city limits according to SEMCOG, so we’ve got enough territory to keep him occupied until it snows again. Daniels will be posting about his adventures on Planet Detroit’s Instagram every week under the hashtag #detroitparkspathfinder

Got a question about parks in Detroit? You can always Ask Planet Detroit.

Zaïré Daniels. Photo by David Lewinski.

It might have been a bit misguided to move to another state during the pandemic  — but with high risk comes high reward. I chose to move to Detroit from Ohio after being furloughed from the art museum where I had worked for over a year. At first, it was a bit scary. Still, I found comfort in following in the footsteps of countless African American families who, 100 years prior, left their hometowns and ventured to the factories of Detroit to start new lives. 

Armed with my camera, bachelor’s degree, and laptop, I set forth on my way to begin my career as a distinguished photojournalist, covering stories related to the urban environment and the culture that is so uniquely Detroit. Seeing the monolith of the GM building following me around every corner as I hurry to my bus just before it pulls off — leaving me gasping and readjusting my mask —  was how I typically spent my first three months in the city. 

One thing that had always centered me when obstacles in my life arose was going to my neighborhood park for a good run. From an early age, I remember spending most of my childhood summers at the William Mckinley Monument park in Canton, Ohio. We had cook-outs, football games, and even church services under those wooden pavilions. 

While in Detroit during these warmer months, I want to take advantage of the hundreds of parks within Detroit’s city limits. Local parks are a great place to practice a new hobby or even just take a lazy afternoon walk with a friend. With the summer approaching, it’s time to liven up from our winter hibernation, and what better way to enjoy the sunshine than taking a trip to your neighborhood park!


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