Saturday, August 16, 2008

on the outside

back to home, back to new york. i can't help but think what it must be like to see this place form the outside. i've been looking at cities from the outside for a month now, even my hometown of pittsburgh to a certain degree. what would i feel about this place is i was visiting it for the first time? just moving here? hard to tell. its my home, and that feeling usually kicks in within seconds of seeing manhattan's magnificent spread of urban verticallity. all other cities are compared to new york, and all others pale in comparison, at least visually, and each has its own identity nevertheless.

soon i will be buried in a fall semester work avalanche of my own making, and any fresh outside-of-new-york thoughts i have right now will be lost, therefore i will try to just talk about them now. i've only been back a day and feel that my attention span has been lost, my mind is darting through 500 things i need-to-be-doing-right-now. shake it off, ladie, shake it off.....

i'll save the trip pix for flickr. too many for here. looky:

i visited 5 cities, and each one was different, of course. some i'd been to before, some not.
i had friends who lived in (almost) all of them, and therefore fell like i had a bit of an inside edge.

chicago (3 days). could have been the stress of friends getting dicked around about their potential new apartment situation, and the stress of getting out of new york wearing off, but chicago just seemed gritty. i didn't see all of millennium park, but it just didn't seem like enough of a park for the whole city. there was much walking, and it seemed like the place was sort of divided (like so many big cities) by a giant highway. downtown had some hoping spots, probably mostly during the day, but the action was really somewhere else. the area where i was staying was being overrun with gentrification, much like my neighborhood here in new york. overall it seemed like a big city, but something was missing. once again, i didn't see everything, so i am unfairly judging probably. good food, lots of nice shops, but it did seem like it was trying to prove itself.

vancouver just felt very star trek to me. star trek with uber nature. new new new condos everywhere, kinda freaky really. then the old bit was full of the homeless and addicts, much like the east illage of old. so radical of a contrast. it didn't make sense to me. beautiful place, but odd.

san fransisco. this is the second time is was there, and i realize i might have judged it unfairly last time i was there, because i had a nasty cold. once again, there for only a few days, but i could see why people compare it to london. the "mission" style architecture still throws me for a loop, and i know it actually is california, but it just kinda doesn't seem for real, like it should be a movie or something. it felt like a proper city this time, all big and impersonal and with museums on hordes of tourists and the hassle-y hussle and bustle. and some bad ass coffee at ritual. (vancouver also had good coffee, i must admit)

portland oregon was a big suprise for me. i knew absolutely nothing about it before driving there. once again, i walked quite a bit, then found a cool guidebook, and was just really so pleased with the whole day. it felt so nice there, almost kind of familiar. also, my day began with some nice trash on the street to photograph. but they are so serious about their beer, and their bicycles, and their local produce, and their public transport, well, it just was a mighty wonderful place. i'd like to visit it again sometime soon. my friend robin tells me the downside it that it rains much of the year (london anyone?). hmm,,,,,,.....

and lastly, seattle. theplace that gave me a sprained ankle on my way out. well, the henry art gallery is awesome, and i'm sure so is the REI store, but overall i thought it was a bit bland there. sure, it had some interesting bits, but so spread out. took to long to walk between neighborhoods, and there was just dead space in between.

more to say but my head is back in new york now. for better or worse.......

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