Friday, March 20, 2009

Speak Takes America

Writing about my recent trip to L.A. got me thinking about the American cities that I love, and the one's I could do without. I want to ask my reader's not to be offended by these lists, as they are based solely on my personal experiences, many of which were absolutely brief.

9 Favorite American Cities (Not Including South Bend,IN):
1. New York City, NY - It can take you years, as it is like a big 5 headed monster with all of the Burroughs, with so many new and exciting avenues to explore every time I am there, but I feel like I "get" it - I think I understand NYC's heart. I've got a handle on the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, but there is so much more to explore. Always been #1, always will be.
2. Milwaukee, WI - It is very, very underrated - I thought Milwaukee would be like Detroit because I knew Miller and Harley were there, but it's clean and beautiful, like a mini-Chicago but without all the hipsters.
3. La Jolla, CA - Great Californian city between San Diego (which is cool too) and Tijuana (which I wanted to move to permanently when I was 18). Laid back surfer culture with some of the most spectacular beaches in the US.
4. Madison, WI - I lived there for nearly 5 years, and they were the best years of my life. Great combination of things; culture, nightlife, safety, geographic beauty, and cool people. Tough to beat in a city that size.
5. Omaha, NE - Totally awesome, big city literally in the middle of nowhere. Great downtown art scene with funky little side districts full of great bars and restaurants. So cool I can't even tell you.
6. Detroit, MI - America's only inhabited ruin. An entire supercity crumbling, rusting, and decaying - to these eyes it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. God I love it. Didn't know where to place it on this list because I love it so much deep in my soul.
7. Baltimore, MD - As ancient as America gets. I love American Gothic cities, and this is the one. The waterfront area has been revitalised and is packed with great restaurants and shops.
8. Kalamazoo, MI - Never a bad time there, been there hundreds of times and still batting a thousand. Rocketstar Cafe, Fourth Coast, Water St. - home of great coffeehouses.
9. Provincetown, RI - One of the original artist colonies. Tons of great artwork, food, etc. Not for the faint of heart.

5 Cities I've Been To But Want To Get To Know Better:
1. Los Angeles, CA - see above.
2. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - Everybody, and I mean everybody it seems, loves The Cities. Never heard anything bad about them. Simple as that.
3. Atlanta, GA - Been a few times, but haven't gotten to the Belly of the Beast.
4. Boston, MA - Been through a few times, but never for long. Going to Fenway is on my life's goals list.
5. Savannah, GA - One of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. Reminded me a lot of Europe.

9 Cities I'm Kinda Done With
1. Miami, FL - I really, really hate Miami. It's extremely humid, every person you see appears to be actually (as well as metaphorically I suppose) made from plastic, and people get angry at you if you don't speak Spanish (I was actually yelled at for this in a store). No desire to ever return.
2. Dallas, TX - Actually I'm pretty much done with Texas.
3. Providence, RI - After I had been there, I really couldn't tell you why anyone would want to go there. Snobby people, bad weather, enough said.
4. Cleveland, OH - The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is kinda cool, as are the Flats, but really that's it.
5. Chicago, IL - I used to love to go to Chicago, but now it just kinda feels like a big hassle - but I get it, I totally get Chicago. It sounds harsh because I still really like Chicago, I just feel like I've seen what I want to see of it for awhile.
6. Norman, OK - It is so desolate it literally scared me half to death.
7. Kansas City, MS - Ugh. Horrifyingly ugly. I expect murders are happening there in the most gruesome of ways.
8. Cincinnati, OH - Actually, Ohio, like Texas, is dead to me.
9. Philadelphia, PA - People always tell me it's awesome, so I'm willing to give it another chance. When I was there (in the mid-nineties) it was filthy, cops chased us, etc. Based on the words of people I respect, I am totally willing to give it another shot though.

7 Cities I've Never Been To But Want To Go:
1. New Orleans, LA - I'm already in love with it and haven't been there. 2. Seattle, WA - Always wanted to, but haven't been yet.
3. San Francisco, CA - I'm very interested in Northern California. I haven't really been much north of Hollywood.
4. Asheville, NC - It seems like everyone is in love with it. Thought I was going there a couple of weeks ago, but didn't make it.
5. Austin, TX
- I would like to go to Austin though (I thought I was going there this spring for a conference, but it didn't work out). Dying to go to SXSW, so maybe I can test Texas out one last time.
6. Pittsburgh, PA - As a confirmed Warhol nut, I'm dying to go to the Warhol museum.
7. Portland, OR - Another city I've hears so much about I feel sheepish for never having been to.

On a side note: The entire state of Wyoming is totally underrated, the Dakotas are too. I'm not a fan of Kentucky, but only because I've almost died there a couple of times. Driving through Memphis and Knoxville are not cool either.