Boston's mayor has reportedly apologised after he was accused of being insensitive for joking he would "blow up Detroit and start all over".
The former hub of America's car industry has had major problems in recent years with its finances and in July it became the largest city in the US to file for bankruptcy, with debts estimated at $18.5bn (£12.1bn).
In an interview in the New York Times Magazine, Boston mayor Thomas Menino was asked where he would live if he could live in any other American city and he said Detroit was a place he would love to go.
When asked what he would do there he said: "I'd blow up the place and start all over.
"No, seriously, when it takes a police officer 90 minutes to answer a call, there's something wrong with the system.
"Forty percent of the streetlights are out, most of the buildings are boarded up. Why? Inaction, that's the problem - leadership."
Detroit's mayor Dave Bing criticised his counterpart's remarks, referring to the Boston bombing blasts earlier this year that left three dead and more than 200 people injured.
Mr Bing said: "It is extremely regrettable that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino used such an unfortunate choice of words to describe what he would do if he came to Detroit.
"I would think the mayor of a city that recently experienced a deadly bombing attack would be more sensitive and not use the phrase 'blow up."'
Mr Menino has now said sorry, telling WBZ NewsRadio 1030: "I made a mistake, I apologise", CBS reports.
He said he stood by the numbers he cited in the article, claiming he got them from a Detroit financial report.
But, he admitted he used a "poor choice of words".
Mr Bing said Mr Menino should have got "his facts right".
He added: "The Detroit police department's response time is not - and has never been - 90 minutes.
"And, most of our city's buildings are not boarded up. Since taking office more than four years ago, there has been tireless action on the part of my administration to improve the quality of life for our citizens.
"In fact, I invite Mayor Menino to visit Detroit to see our city for himself."