on cities

April 21, 2015
A friend of mine is pondering moving back to the Boston area, a person I'm dating just got back from a trip to SF, and so I'm thinking about cities and where I live in a way I haven't for a while.

One essay that I paraphrase a lot (and so am surprised I can't find links to it on this site) is Paul Graham's Cities and Ambition. My rough paraphrase usually goes:
Every big city whispers a secret message, about what you should be. For New York it's "You should be richer than you are." For Paris it's "You should be more stylish than you are", for LA "You should be more famous". For Boston and Cambridge, though, it's "You should be smarter than you are". And I like that message.
Another article I can't quite relocate, maybe more than one article, and maybe from the Atlantic, talks about how gay friendly cities tend to be the most creative, and it's not just that gay people are creative, it's the correlation with being open to new ideas and alternate ways of being. And similarly, people want to be near museums and parks less because they use them a ton (though sometimes they do!) but because it's nice to know it's around, and also to be around other people for whom that's important.

Living around Boston more than 20 years, the story of my youth (the kid who moves around a lot) is being supplanted... I move around the same pace, but just from 'burb to 'burb. I have professional and personal connections here that are pretty deep; families where I'm the virtual uncle, I've had the same doctor for over a decade, I know a bunch of folks in the tech industry. I know the places I dig, but I'm still finding new places I've never seen.

I dig this city! (Insert "Big Dig" joke here) (Insert admonition against the laziness of making metajokes rather than things that are actually funny here) (Insert further admonition against unduly self-conscious attempts at framing via metahumor, and a request to let the meta-analysis stop here.)