Saturday, February 23, 2008

Uptown Girl

I love big cities. Here's why:

- No end of things to do:
I can see a play, a movie, a concert (a small one like at Ram's Head or 9:30 Club, not just big arena shows), a museum, a historical building, etc. I can go relax in a park or a see a sporting event. Tours (exhibits, bands, comedians, etc.) come through all the time. As much I love sitting at home and just watching a movie or something, I don't have to. I have options. Lots of them.

- The city doesn't shut down after 9 PM.
IHOP isn't the only thing open after 11 PM. I don't often need that kind of nightlife, but it exists. It's available.

- Culture
There is diversity. I can get to know a lot of different people and culture. I almost like being in the minority sometimes, because I learn so much more. Also, the food is great! I loved that I had Indian, Japanese, and North African restaurants within walking distance of my flat in London. Here, I can order Chinese straight to my door!

- Arts
There is a wider variety in bigger cities. Sure, crappy community theatre is available close by, but I'm not stuck with it. (Disclaimer: Not all community theatre is crap. Just some of it.) I can so see the bigger and better shows, with real professionals involved. I can take dance classes from people who still work in the professional industry. Limited release movies are in theaters for longer than a week. Etc.

- Distance to other types of places
That's one reason I specifically like living in the Mid-Atlantic. 5 hours one I'm in the South, 5 hours another takes me to New York, 10 hours in just about any direction takes me to somewhere else completely different. This is ideal for those that like both the city and the smaller town. You can live in a suburb just outside the city (like I do now), and within an hour you're in a completely different place. If you're in the Midwest (no offense to any Midwesterners, I still love you), you usually have to drive at least two days to get anywhere that doesn't involve a corn field.

- Economy
The unemployment rate is lower in big cities, thanks to the law of averages. Job hunting is easier when there are more options. There is more money available, which balances out the higher cost of living.

I grew up in mid-size city USA. The first time I went to NYC kind of scared me, at least for part of the trip. I swore I'd never go back to Las Vegas. London was in a completely different country! I quickly changed my mind. (Well, not so quickly on the Vegas thing. I didn't go back for at least four years.) I learned that the big city etiquette requires a little more of a person, but once you follow the rules (which are easy - stay out of people's way, the city doesn't revolve you, etc.) people are great. It takes some getting used to, but there are just so many things to do and lifestyle options, it's so worth it.

Each city has a different flavor and attitude, so you have to find the one that fits you best. For example, I'd prefer not to live in Los Angeles or Chicago, but I get along swell with DC, London, and New York City. Because of how close everything is and how many options there are for just where to live in or around a big city, compromises can be made much easier than, say, North Dakota. I, at the very least, just think it's something that should be experienced before it's completely discounted.

Of course, for me, it's more important to live where I need to, for my job/school or a spouse's, or wherever the Lord asks me to go. I seem to move every 6-8 years anyway, so nothing is permanent.

As long as I can though, I want to stay within driving distance to a big city. They just fit me.


Giggles said...

I did my student teaching in a town in Mexico that was so small it didn't have a gas station. You had to go to the next town over, or have your own pump.

About half way through we took a day trip four hours away to El Paso. One of the other student teachers said it best as we came within site of the city. She just explained "Options!" And that about summed it up. :)

Nancy said...

I like cities with good public transportation. And I like when big cities feel small because a lot of things are available within walking distance.

It really is all about options--like, you don't have to drive to NY to see a play because there's one close by but you could drive to NY if you wanted to...

Excellent point. :)