Friday, February 4, 2011

The Tone of Cities, Including Why New York is Often Unloved

In my opinion, people do form definite feelings about cities that sometimes might be rooted in the past.  Not the primordial past so beloved of the Freudians (how many of us actually came into a scene of Papa and Mama doing it?  Oops, my bad.  According to Freudian doctrine, we repressed any memory of that horrific scene!)
No, the period it's more linked to is junior high age.  Now we've been there; and for many of us it was a time in which we were unsure of ourselves -- awkward ugly ducklings waiting for something to happen even though too often it's something we won't like very much.
Think about the cool kids' table in the school cafeteria.  Some cities are equivalent to the cool kids:  Boston is old money and culture, discounting Southie, maybe.   Chicago is midwestern progress, bustle, and risk-taking. Washington is about power, influence, and sophistication.  Seattle is technological sophistication, caffeine-driven progress, impatience, and the future.  Philadelphia is the national bedrock of learning, the arts, and the sciences.  Atlanta is the New South: brash, booming, self-declared as progressive, and all of those things.  Los Angeles is decidedly nouveau riche; however, they are so riche that they get to make the rules.  So is San Francisco; but it's a west coast city with decided charm.  Tony Bennett was not the only one to leave his heart there; many travelers also do.  However, it's decidedly a high-end place to live: the help lives in Oakland or surrounding places.  Dallas is big; it's brassy; but being in Texas keeps us from taking it too seriously.  Some heavy-handed humorist named Baltimore Charm City.  Las Vegas is tacky; but it's an amusing tacky.
And then there's New York.  Ah, New York: it is pleased to style itself as the capitol of culture, power, finance, sophistication: a Rome among the hill towns and podunks that is everywhere else.  The riff-raff live in Jersey or Yonkers.  Flyover people go there and gawk.
  "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

           -- Percy Bysshe Shelley

And New Yorkers don't mind rubbing your nose in it.  This is The City That Never Sleeps.  If You Can Make It Here, You Can Make It Anywhere.  (Ulan Bator, Kemo Sabe?)  How many television programs are located in New York City?  And there's the presumption that is the New York Times, sometimes referred to as the Gray Lady, with All The News That's Deemed Fit To Print by the Eastern Establishment. 

And their hegemony in sports.  Let's face it: the New York Yankees are preeminent in baseball; but that is to a great degree due to the fact that the spend twice to four times the amount of money on players' salaries as their competition!  In all fairness; some of the other teams may have helped.  Wasn't tere a Florida team that did well one year, and sold off their star performers?

Therefore, it is with sincere pleasure that the Super Bowl will be played between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers: two cities that would not have taken a place at the cool kids' table.

4 comments:

Full Cup Balcony said...

I'm not too fond of Toronto, myself.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

I've been there only once. The CN Tower was striking.

Anonymous said...

Take a chill pill, honey!

eViL pOp TaRt said...

For what purpose, buttercup?