Room to exhale

If you live in New York, everything else is Podunk, and they’ll happily tell you so:

“oh, Dallas — what do they have there — cows?” “oh, Miami? seedy nightclub joints, bland condo towers and garish boardwalk crowd” “oh, Chicago? its best days are over, and besides it’s terribly chilly” So in a sense, it did me good — the reality exceeded my lowered expectations threefold. Same happened this time. Just yesterday somebody told me “oh, St. Louis? Spread out Big Nothing. Nothing to see after you climbed that Arch”.

“Spread out” is a common term of opprobrium among those who would prefer that everyone be stacked vertically, for whatever reasons.

But you can immediately sense — this city is very different from NY. Reminds me of Dallas’ center, actually: same vast space, pristine streets (wide!) paved sidewalks (king-size!) benches everywhere (big!), dirt-cheap parking ($60 a MONTH!), amazing courthouses and municipal buildings (my favorite: Deco monumentality and 1920’s classicism), plenty of space between those skyscrapers to see each and every one, alley (like in Chicago!) gorgeous City Center Sculpture Park (that’s the one I read about in Metropolis; I’ll talk about it later); and amazingly — no people!

Not to put the knock on New York, generally, but the Apple is pretty much sui generis: other cities do not look much like New York, nor can they be expected to. If St. Louis had the density of Manhattan, you’d have seven million people in its 60 square miles. And you wouldn’t have “dirt-cheap parking,” either.


  1. McGehee »

    2 May 2011 · 9:58 am

    Oh, New York? What is there to like about a city where the horizon is at least 40 stories straight up?

  2. Tatyana »

    2 May 2011 · 12:04 pm

    McG – I like the feeling of NOT being naked and open directly to the skies! makes one feel protected and sheltered.

    Chaz, i had made ton of pictures yesterday walking in “Slu” downtown under the rain. As soon as I recover from airport nightmare (plane delayed, most of restaurants eliminated by tornado, a food cart selling sandwich+apple+bottle of OJ combo for $17, all those kids on Easter break going every possible way), I’ll try to post some.
    Came home at 1:30am and had to prep for an interview at 9am…

    Thanks for the link!

  3. fillyjonk »

    2 May 2011 · 1:37 pm

    “selling sandwich+apple+bottle of OJ combo for $17”

    Gee, sounds like the “box lunches” at some conferences I’ve been at, where there were no nearby restaurants. It’s kind of appalling. (And in an airport it’s worse; they would probably confiscate food from “outside” if you tried to bring it on the plane)

  4. CGHill »

    2 May 2011 · 1:59 pm

    Well, with most of the airport’s facilities whacked by the storm, raw supply and demand will kick in, which explains the $17 lunch. Not that it would have been all that much cheaper had everything been functional, I suspect.

  5. McGehee »

    4 May 2011 · 8:12 am

    McG – I like the feeling of NOT being naked and open directly to the skies! makes one feel protected and sheltered

    Whereas I prefer being able to see things before they’re right on top of me. My nearsighted wife and I had some interesting conversations about the effect of eyesight on psychology.

RSS feed for comments on this post