Friday, January 7, 2022


The American cities they are so clean! There is scarce to be seen a dark cloud over any of them. It's as if the whole Industrial era raison d'etre for cities has turned over a new leaf and is basking in the sunlight undimmed by the smog of productivity on an industrial scale. Or something like that. The city has undergone something of a transformation little noticed by the people living there or around it. What were once vast and even enormous engines of productivity driving wealth and materialism to new heights every day are not simply the place where you could, if you search diligently, find that rare spice you like. The industrial heartland produces nothing these days but drug addicts and a wee bit of despair. The cities that line the west coast, formerly major powerhouses of industries ranging from movies, film and software have now been reduced to the level of Delhi or other 3rd world cities with homeless overwhelming the rule of law and civilization and ubanity. What a shame. On the east coast the cities are hellholes that nobody wants to live in. Even DC has lost the bloom of habilitability for the likes of Democratic ubermen and their husbands.

I lived next to it but never saw the allure of NYC. I used to habit Arlington but restricted 100% of my visits to the DC by getting off the metro at the Smithsonian/Mall and left the same way without bothering to go more than 3 blocks off the Mall in any direction. I did some business in the Navy Yard. I was told to hold at the metro station for a limo to pick me up and deliver me to NAVSEA. It was an interesting hour watching all the young Coast Guard people in their civies walking to Buzzard Point trying not to attract the attention of the majority black populace who seemed pretty peaceful to me, while the only real man among them was a Coast Guard admiral in full uniform who buzzed up the escalator and strode like a man down the street to his destiny in Buzzard Point.

I admit to living on the fringe of a once great city. It was 5th or 6th in this country at one time, and for a long time, home as it was to billionaires like Rockefeller and others from that age. Though it has greatly faded it still retains the shadow of greatness, much like Pittsburgh. There are opera, theaters in the theater district, great museums like you would not believe and entrance is restricted only to those who cannot pay the free admission. It still has the aspect of a great city without actually producing anything much. In that regard it has come to resemble LA, Seattle, Portland, Denver and the blighted blue places that seem to attract the stupidest and most drug addicted people.

Truly, what can one say of places like NYC that have returned that feeble minded budding youngish terrorist AOC to Congress? We're not even going to talk about the hellholes I lived near in Trenton, Newark, Philly, Camden, Baltimore, etc. I prefer the quiet places which may enjoy some tiny despair from time to time but still offer what one looks for in an urban. Small towns, public squares around which are clustered the businesses of the little town and a charming population of Americans much like me. As I write that though I wonder. Are there such happy fruitful towns here in America for the people that don't look like me? If there are, I haven't been there.

Around here lie the places/towns where we go all the time. We go for the apples, the donuts, the haircuts and Rachel's and we go for the ambience of a little town we like. Our town isn't much like them at all but is still a worthy little town. In California I visited the little places I liked. Not just in Napa or Sonoma but along the coast highway between LA and San Francisco. I used to take the BART over to the City just to people watch in the financial district or up in Union Square. I doubt the Francis Drake Hotel bears any resemblance to the place I remember fondly but then, that was back when Borders held down pride of place on Union Square and I do like book stores.

I'd like to walk into another real city but not just any real city. I'd prefer one that still bore all the hallmarks we came to associate with civilization. I'm not sure that city ever existed but I would have liked to have seen it.


SCOTTtheBADGER said...


HMS Defiant said...

really good sandwhiches. I'll have to fill you in later.

boron said...

I grew up in Da Bron'x as a kid during WWII. In 1949 I took the subway from 161st to Ebbet's field by myself, 8 years old (my friend's father decided to punish him that day for ?): I didn't give two thoughts about it until I got home just about dusk when I got the lecture "Do you know what could've happened" but it didn't and thereafter with some good arguments I was permitted to take the subway all over Da City.
NYC, at least in those days, wasn't a huge conglomerate: each apartment building was a small town, a hamlet, if you will, squashed up against another hamlet - that's how we formed teams for stickball.
Walking down a street in Manhattan or Queens or Brooklyn for a half hour, you could hear a million (OK! maybe only two dozen) different languages and get a quick nosh (New York for bite) in a tiny storefront (any one of a million different cuisines) for a nickel or a dime.
I came back to it (Manhattan) in '68 to finish my ed and set up a practice after an active duty stint in the AF. 20 years and the price of everything was just starting to skyrocket. The streets were starting to look like we were in the midst of a constant garbage strike, transit, unpleasantly decorated by spray-paint “artists”, was beginning to fill with kids (very big kids) carrying their "Boom Boxes" on their left shoulders volume turned to max trying to see if any commuter had the coglioni to ask/tell them to turn it down/off and the cops were no longer permitted to “move d’ bums along”.
Come 1989, I foresaw problems arising with the incoming Dinkins administration: NYC was already a 2nd world hellhole ready to drop another level losing admin support to the LEOs; crime (unreported by the media) was already skyrocketing so I pulled the kids out of school to escape to Portland, a beautiful city where you could walk anywhere in any area any time of day or night: remember this was '90.
2019 we moved again over three thousand miles away just before the conflagration(s) began; I'm starting to feel paranoid.
I wish I could go back to the NY I grew up in.

HMS Defiant said...

My favorite za in Hillcrest was "The Bronx" I was there getting a couple of slices when I heard a loud woman ordering and telling the kitchen staff they weren't from the Bronx, they were from Flatbush.
Regional accents down to a few square blocks. I love them.