When Prof. Zero (you should really read her remarkable blog) posted a favorite cities meme, I thought she put too many parameters around the cities we could nominate.Â I was particularly put off by the size requirements, as I’ve come to learn in school how varied cities are in size and scope, not least because the boundaries between cities and suburbs, and urban vs. sub-urban life is rarely as clear as we pretend.Â And bigger does not necc. equal more urban.
In response to protests, including mine, she offered up what she called a “self-tagging town meme,” to which I finally responded the other night with a stream-of-consciousness thread of my favorite cities, that included a heavy dose of random memories and specific characteristics that matter to me in cities.
One of the things I love about the M.A.S. is that he and I both look at cities critically and value urban lifeÂ deeply – mainly, we crave the density, walkability, accessibilityÂ and diversity that many cities offer (what is with suburbs and the absolute absence of sidewalks, for instance???).Â I believe that if we go through life together, we will be able to live in a variety of places, because I trust our ability to knowledgeably evaluate and recognize if places have the characteristics that we seek at a much deeper level than a schools/taxes/property values equation (though all of that goes into the mix).
Though I hope you’ll read the professor’s posts and my comments, in short, I gave a shout out to:
1) Hartford and economically struggling but ethnically vibrant old NE/MW towns everwhere;
2) Boston, ‘cuz that’s my hood;
3) Krakow, ‘cuz its collegiate, historic and amiable personality – not to mention Krupnik honey liquer – nurtured me through the very dark hours of visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau;
4) New Orleans (though this is more of a love-hate relationship);
Seattle, Minneapolis, Houston,Â Bismarck, ND and Vegas (“Adult Disneyland”) got shout outs too.Â L.A., London, NYC (public transportation “nirvana”) and Dar are in my big city category.
Cities I could live w/o:
- Chattanooga, though I did find its train-station-sized-airport charming;
- Ft. Worth;
- St. Louis;
- Philly (“somebody else’s Boston”);
Of course, there’s no place like home, or my couch, at this moment, for that matter.
What are your favorite cities?Â Bonus points for your stories.