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

Philadelphia and New York City

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I grew up in Chestnut Hill, which is an uppity suburb of Philadelphia even though it is technically still within the city limits. There, I got to enjoy the small town feel (which I have grown to love) while being within a few miles from a thriving city. The ability to have both so close offered a nice escape whenever one became too much.

The community is close knit yet welcoming. There is always a familiar face in town. A major landmark that Chestnut Hill is known for is the beautiful country club that sits just a stone throw away from Main Street. It is there that I spent most of my summers as a child, playing tennis and meeting new friends. It is also where I found myself as a person. Tennis matured me in ways I never expected, and being part of such a community only added to my desires.

Cooking slowly became another love of mine. Chestnut Hill offers many fresh farm products that I was able to explore and pick to my choosing. This helped me explore my talents as a chef and ultimately brought me closer to my family as I started to cook dinner every night. However, nothing is more present in Chestnut Hill then design (probably because most people have the money to spend) and it is here that I found my future. Most homes are unique in architecture, landscape and décor. I was lucky enough to live in such a community where I could admire and study the intricate structure of most homes. Through connections made at the local country club, I was able to obtain an internship with an interior designer. Moreover, through my internship I was able to explore design through others eyes both in Chestnut Hill and downtown Philadelphia. Slowly, I became more confident until I was offering my own suggestions that people took to heart. In other words I had found my niche.

Chestnut Hill offers a connection found in few other places. One can simply walk to the corner to a deli or bakery and trust that everything being sold is fresh and tasty. The town itself is small but it is beautiful, clean and secure. Police and firemen are always close at hand as they are in every town, however they are not as obvious as compared to New York City.

Furthermore, Chestnut Hill is a town for families. Because it offers so much and is so safe, husbands and wives can go off to work or even away on business trips knowing their families will be ok. Thus, there is never a need to worry. The buildings are small, nothing too big and the roads are still made out of cobblestone and brick. This keeping an old town feel that I adore. The schools are within walking distance and offer a few to choose from, all from grades k -12. Hence, Chestnut Hill is a place to raise a family but more importantly it is a place to be with your family. It is a part of who I am. It has led me to go after my future, while still knowing my roots and it will always be my home town.

New York City is unlike anywhere else in the world. People are nonstop, no matter what time of day, location or even holiday. At times it can be so loud due to overpopulation that it is a welcome escape just to hide inside ones apartment. Expenses are ten fold, even subways in which are more traveled then taxi’s due to the cheapness in price add up as the day/week go by. However nothing compares to the beauty of seeing New York City at night. I will never forget my first night at college when I looked outside my 9th floor apartment window. The way in which light reflected off the thousands of lit buildings was like a perfectly contrasted picture… I was breathless. For me New York City was different from back home just from the size of it. Not to mention the millions of people that surrounded me everyday or the thousands among thousands of stores and restaurants within walking distance. Living here opened my eyes to so many more things. Downtown Philadelphia could be fit numerous times just within Central Park. That idea alone boggled my mind.

Moreover, it is always fascinating to me that so many people can live so close to one another and yet be total strangers. This is so different to back home where the whole town knows everyone and is brought together through shared locations. In New York City, people that go to the same restaurant, or the same stores, people that even live in the same building have no desire to introduce themselves. This always reverts me back to my question about life: “how can people be lonely in an overpopulated world?” Yet, New York City offers so many different ethnicities and backgrounds that the design is so different everywhere you look. For me, a Parsons student, it only adds to everything I am learning, as it gives me a visual. In other words, it brings the textbooks to life. Although I miss home I am intrigued by what New York City has to offer, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to grow culturally through living in this wonderful city. Furthermore, I believe it is important for people to move outside of their comfort zones, because it is there that they really start to grow, as individuals in both their profession and life. It is here that I strive for my future. Philadelphia and New York City have many things in common, however the biggest difference is living in Philadelphia I can always leave the city. New York City has no outlet within Manhattan, even its parks and rivers are clustered with people. Hence, it is here that I am most uncomfortable and because of that, I know I am exactly where I need to be.

Sent by Bridget from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania