Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘New York’ Category


Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

New York City, the beautiful, polluted, restless city. Where the lights shine, the cars honk, and hearing the sound of people’s footsteps pacing, rushing to their nearest or furthest destination, sounds like home. Where I was raised into one of the nosiest neighborhoods ever. Everyone knew everyone and everything down to how much someone weighs is buzzing around the streets. OH! You’ve heard of it? Yeah Greenpoint is the place I’m talking about.

I was born into one of those crazy families, you know the type who hallucinate and think celebrities are their friends. Where race is definitely NOT an issue. Growing up in a family of Polish, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and Nicaraguans. Where rice, beans, eggs and coffee for breakfast fill the air. Just sitting in my room I can hear my friends waiting for me to come outside and just chill on one of those “New York weather” kind of days. Those are the days where no matter how bad the weather is outside, there will be no stopping anyone from going out.

Growing up in Greenpoint life is bound to have drama, it has to be the most scandalous neighborhood to live or even hangout in. I remember even being woken up the sounds of shots in the darkness. A dilemma over “baby mama” drama. Woke up the next morning come to realize it was my neighbor “Critter”, that’s what they called him. He was always up to no good it was going to happen eventually. Being in New York for some of my life, I have never experienced a better black out. For those of you who do not know what a black out is, Google it! The smell of hot must fills the air. The air so thick with heat it feels almost impossible to breathe but I know that once I’ve reached home, a cold shower awaits. Black outs meant, late nights in tank tops and shorts with small battery powered fans and sleeping on the floor because that’s where it was coolest. Where everyone in the neighborhood is sitting on their stoops or on their pull out chairs, kids in the sprinklers and th e adults drinking and playing dominoes in the dark.

The train station was very close to my block where I lived, so getting to other places wasn’t that much of a hassle. Everyone who has lived in New York for at least a month knows how overcrowded the stations are but yet we still complain. Always wondering why the person in front of me is walking so slow, everyone is constantly on the go. What aggravates me the most about the trains is when there is NO space but people find nooks and crannies to squeeze their bodies in. Walking to the train station I pass by the McDonalds that has been in the same corner for over 10 years already, thinking how could anyone eat that junk!

New York City. Where I could have the best slice pizza, hot dog, and Juniors famous Cheesecake. The city so busy and so full of opportunities I get a head rush from just thinking of the whirlwind I live in.

Sent by AsiaDivine from Brooklyn

New York, NY

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

New York is a city of doors – revolving doors to be precise. People are always going somewhere, in and out, never knowing quite when to stop or to slow, or whether to stop or slow at all. Everywhere I look, there’s a new face, a new style, a new culture. In walking around the city, I hardly expect to run into anyone that I know and, for that matter, “knowing” someone in New York is somehow drastically different from knowing someone in any other (smaller) place. It’s as if the place makes the person in New York. The movements that start are bigger than the individuals that start them and, speaking of which, difficult to pinpoint in terms of origin. Even in the lobby of NYU’s Bobst library, it seems difficult to imagine the intrinsic differences between persons aside from making stereotypical guesses derived from the information provided by his/her gate or clothing. And then, there’s the question of whether to waste time imagining, since chances of ever seeing that person twice remain ever so slim.

In truth, I do love New York – but, as James A. Reeves suggested, it’s difficult to know exactly what I love about the place. In high school, I took a course in Human Geography. We spent the first six weeks exploring the concept of place – trying to unravel, in academic terms, what exactly makes up a persons “sense of place.” We discovered that sense of place, or the sense of it, has to do with a number of factors both geographic and metaphysical. In New York, I know I love the scale: the tall buildings, the hectic sidewalks, and the consistency of the yellow cab. Even now, when I fly into New York after a weekend at home, I grow excited by the skyline, by the lights, by the traffic and the commotion. All of these factors, which in effect, make me appear small, both by size and scope, in comparison to my fellow men, empower me deep down inside; it’s as if New York is this stream of seemingly endless opportunity – but even I know that isn’t entirely true.

Just by taking a walk down the street and looking, really looking, I can see the burnt-out lines chalked on people’s faces. Every few blocks, I’m confronted by the jingle of a homeless man’s near empty change cup, reminding me that many, many people don’t make it in the big city. All over, on blogs and in literature about New York, there are anecdotes written by people who, in a nostalgic tone concede, “l loved New York and miss it dearly, but I just couldn’t stay.” In so many instances, it seems the city gets the best of those who come into it, opening their hearts, and willfully pouring their youth into its allure. Some days I feel that’s just what I’m doing, aside from studying, of course. When someone asks how long I plan to stay in New York, I always respond, “Just while I’m young. I can’t live here forever.” I usually laugh at myself right afterwards, admitting, rather cautiously, that I have little control over where I’ll spend my life and, as a result, little forehand knowledge about the matter all together. I suppose it’s the illusion of control, of man’s power over nature that is so represented by New York, and which proves so addicting to many souls (especially the young ones).

Now, that I’ve found myself growing accustomed to the city lifestyle, I’ve begun to imagine myself somewhere in southern California, ten years from now, in a glass house hanging on the edge of a hill. A warm, sunny place where I can look down over a cityscape from my omniscient vantage point and just imagine that I have complete control over my own destiny. I feel it’d be like flying in over tiny Manhattan Island all the time, glued to the window, sunbathing in the lights. But, nowadays, I quickly snap out of my daydreams. If there’s one thing New York has taught me, it is to daydream sparingly, for while my head is in the clouds, someone else is slipping ahead. Move, move, move – go, go, go. So I ask myself, has New York transformed me into a lifelong drifter? What cycles am I learning and what cycles am I breaking? Oh, and, all the while, in some quite corner of my mind, I’m praying that California is still warm and sunny by the time I make it there – one of these days.

Sent by Harrison from New York, NY

Why Buffalo/Upstate NY?

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

I was born and raised in upstate NY, outside Buffalo, and I live there for now. NY (State) has pretty landscapes, some arts, and some education… but it is the sorriest excuse for a state. This is not a political message, but politics has made living in NY (State) what it is today (POOR). Unless you live in Albany or NYC, you have no representation. The people with power are not the politicians. They are the public works, medical, and teachers unions, and other special interests who own the politicians. To feed their “needs”, NY has created bureaucracy and high taxes that are unprecedented by any other state. It is so hard to do business here, and it shows. There are so many layers of government (and none of them plan to consolidate or go away) that nothing will change. It’s been bad for 30 years, and just when you think it can’t get any worse- it does. Why do I live here? Family. I’m waiting for them to move or for me to lose my patience. A lot of people here will put on a pretty face and deny any bad press that Buffalo and upstate NY receive. We call them homers. They live in denial and probably do not travel very often. I do, and I know what is out there… much more prosperous areas. I hope it all dies soon.

Sent by Andy from Buffalo, NY


Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

… As a print journalist of 35+ yrs. in the mainstream-&-gay media on both coasts (17 with “Billboard Magazine” in L.A. Vegas & the Bflo./Rochester, NY markets, I lived-&-worked in many other city/regions. But NONE can compare with western New York, it’s people, the 4-seasons, low cost-of-living, vibrant arts/theatre scene/architecture (includes 5-Frank Lloyd Wright creations!), pro sports teams, etc. It really is America’s “Best Kept Secret” ’til now!?!- I know.

Let’s hear those familiar “snow/winter”-&-Bflo. Bills Super Bowl jokes. But REALLY people!?! Snow MELTS, it’s GOOD to have a cleaned-up Lake Erie (one of the largest fresh water venues in-the-world!) & such vibrant greenery.

This Summer-of-’08, it does look like the “Land of Oz!” with all-the-rain we’ve been having. & Fall!?! “Forget-about-it!” The riot of bright-colored leaves HURTS-thee-EYES!?! & we’re now planning a major, state of-the-art Weather Museum for the lakefront to celebrate our good fortune. Just re-opened the re-watered Erie Canal Slip, which is being developed into a major historical site destination downtown! … Like the arts? Try restored Shea’s Theatre for the Performing Arts (reviewed Prince’s 1st. EVER concert here!), where major 1st. run, Broadway shows now appear. The Bflo. Philharmonic Orchestra is housed at acoustically-famous Kleinhans Music Hall (Summer’s at nearby Artpark in Niagara Falls, NY) & the A lbright-Knox Art Gallery is known worldwide for its modern art collection! + there is the new Burchfield/Penney Gallery at Bflo. State Univ. across-from-the Knox! & many more, smaller galleries! America’s Fair, one of the nation’s largest celebrations, starts Aug. 6th & there’s numerous ethnic festivals as-well-as other smaller, county fairs. – & “Yes,” the Bills still play at the 80,000-seat Ralph Wilson (55,000 season tickets sold this yr. already & almost ALL home games sold-out!) Reviewed the Rolling Stones & Jackson Five there. Our Bflo. Sabres skate at the 18,000-capacity HSBC Arena downtown. (5,000 fans cheered outside during a recent playoff game!) & the Triple A Bflo. Bisons play at the nearby Dunn Tire Park, which seats 18,000! (not bad for outdoor concerts either!)…

Now the restaurants: WOW!?! Take-you-PICK!?! From the famous Anchor Bar – home of the ORIGINAL Bflo. Chicken Wing – to so many others with the great ethnic Italian, Polish, German, Lebanese, Hispani c , African-American foods!?! Sahlen hot dogs, LaNova Pizza (Hillary & Bill Clinton’s fav!), beef-on-weck (mmm!), our amazing food stores with LOW prices compared to other cities! You CAN’T-go-WRONG!!!- & the economic/job scene’s getting brighter, especially with the Medical Corridor downtown with Bflo. General Hospital, Roswell Park Cancer Research Center & related university/private sector spin-off businesses. Blue Cross/Blue Shield rennovated a new, impressive office building near WKBW TV-7’s studios. A new, federal court skycraper’s rising nearby. & the Seneca nation’s building their 0-million Bflo. Creek Casino/Hotel near the Erie Canal site in the Cobblestone District. 1,000 new jobs!…

A plug for my hometown of East Aurora, 18-miles southeast of Bflo. The arts-&-crafts Roycroft Inn-&-Campus is here as-well-as the headquarters for Fisher-Price Toys-&-Moog, Inc. (a major NASA contractor). Not forgetting Vidlers, an original 5-&-dime store on Main Street & numerous horse f arms around-the-area. We WERE the racing capital of-the-world in la late 1800’s!- & we do have an active, vibrant LGBT community in WNY with many groups, organizations. I sing in the Bflo. Gay Mens Chorus, which just attended their 2nd intl. Gay-&-Lesbian Choral Assoc. festival in Miami Beach, Fla. My late-mother helped start PFLAG here. I’ve also sung with la Westminster Presbyterian Church Choir (on-&-off for 21-yrs.!) + my 1st. book, about my career/life’s, in NYC about to-be-published. & I was listed in “Who’s Who in America – in the Media” the last, 2-yrs!… But, LAST-&-BEST is Niagara Falls, NY. If you’ve NEVER been or even if-you-have, it’s an UNFORGETABLE experience. Our side, which includes Goat Island & the Three Sisters Island (the U.S.’s 1st. ever Natl. Park!), is more natural-&-less commercial than our commercial Canadian neighbor’s. There’s SO much-to-see & do! Plan on at LEAST-a-week there!- So, YEAH: Reconsider & rethink WNY, Buffalo, the Niagara Frontier. Y o u’ll THANK-me-LATER!!! See you HERE!!!

Sent by Hanford Searl Jr. from Buffalo, NY