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The 'feel" of the city

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,078
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I have heard Milwaukee, WI described as "the most European city in the US." I wish I could remember who made the quote. (Check out the gallery section 'Jack in the Box' for photos.)

Sure cities have tag lines like "the city of brotherly love" or "the big apple" or "armpit of America," but how do they feel? We have talked about New Glarus, WI (Swiss) and there is Holland, MI (Dutch). Places like Santa Fe, NM or Georgetown, CO may evoke an American feel (Southwest and 19th Century mining town). What other cities have a distinctive feel?
 

perryair

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
Any of the Keys from Key Largo to Key West have this really laid back feel.

Orlando and the parts of the SIlicon Valley that I've seen have this 'manufactured' feel. Like things didn't take a natural course to develop, but they were just plopped there.

San Fran has this cool artsy type feel, even though the real estate prices are ridiculous. Seattle has a similar kinda feel to me also.

Don't know if thats on topic to what you're aiming for, but it's what I got.
 
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I almost feel goofy for saying this, but whenever I visited a certain city, I would feel compelled to hum the theme song to whatever movie or t.v. show that was based in that city or think of a popular band or song from that area.

Dallas - theme to "Dallas" or "Dynasty"
Houston - any song from the movie "Urban Cowboy"
Chicago - theme to "E.R."
New York - theme to "Sex in the City;" "Native New Yorker"
Seattle - any song Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Sir Mix-a-Lot
Rural or Country areas or anyplace that invokes images of hicks - the score to the movie "Raising Arizona"
 

JivecitySTL

Cyburbian
Messages
115
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6
ST. LOUIS: "The St. Louis Blues" (Bessie Smith performance)
DETROIT: "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder
PHILADELPHIA: "Philadelphia Freedom" by Elton John
 
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Hmmm, I didnt know that Sir Mix Alot was from Seattle. Or maybe you were saying Seattle girls have big butts... I am not sure.

But I like how you analize a city by its music.

I will use music to describe cities as well:
  • New York: " New York, New york" by Frank Sinatra
  • LA: Whats that song from Beverly Hills Cops? "The Heat is On" Oh yes, tacky, but in a way, so is LA.
  • Toronto, sadly I think of the Barenaked Ladies.
  • Seattle: typical grundge alterna-pops
  • Memphis: BB King with a bit of Elvis. This place bleeds the blues.
  • Detroit: anything Mo'town.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Moderator
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17,175
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It's hard to describe the correlation of music to the urban environment for me, but sometimes I hear something that, to my ears, sounds like a perfect "driving around town" tune, or a "driving into town on the expressway at night" song. "Radio Free Santa Fe," an FM station in Santa Fe that plays a lot of acoustic and hippie rock, is the perfect companion for lonely drives in the hills of northern New Mexico.

If anything, I envision a gritty 1970s Chicago whenever I hear old Chicago. However, I don't envision Boston when I hear Boston. I think of Tonawanda, a middle-class suburb of Buffalo, whenever I hear any mid-to-late 1960s pop "oldies." Tonawanda is a suburb that essentially popped up overnight; in 1950, it was mostly vacant farmland; in 1965 it was home to over 100,000 residents.

Whenever I see a new city, I often relate it to other cities. For instance, I think of St. Louis as "like Buffalo, times two, only all the buildings are brick, not frame."

Living outside of Orlando, I feel less of a connection to the place than when I lived in Denver, Las Cruces or Buffalo. Maybe that comes with time. Buffalo is home, and I care deeply about what happens there, even though I'm not living there anymore. Las Cruces, too ... for some reason, I have a lot of emotional energy invested in that place, and it also feels like "home," in a way. I feel at peace when I'm in Cruces, despite that city's glaring shortcomings. I liked Denver a lot, but for some reason it never felt like "home." Maybe because it was too clean, too vibrant, too prosperous ... it was an environment that was alien to me, having grown up in a declining city, and spending my first years in the "real world" in a booming yet poor region.

When I was looking to cash out of Denver, I desperately tried to get into the Kansas City region. It seemed like a good mix of Denver's prosperity and youth with Buffalo's honesty and grit; I felt very comfortable there whenever I visited. Unfortunately, KC wasn't in the cards.

I tend to prefer cities that are easy on the eyes ... clean, little or no billboard or sign clutter, nice landscaping.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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Planderella said:
I almost feel goofy for saying this, but whenever I visited a certain city, I would feel compelled to hum the theme song to whatever movie or t.v. show that was based in that city or think of a popular band or song from that area.
So Milwaukee gets stuck with Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley (the ealry years before they migrated to California)?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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Michael Stumpf said:
I have heard Milwaukee, WI described as "the most European city in the US." I wish I could remember who made the quote. (Check out the gallery section 'Jack in the Box' for photos.)
I've heard that too, and the source escapes me, but it was plagerized by the Channel 4 news in their pre- All Star Game coverage.
 

statler

Cyburbian
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447
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Michael Stumpf

Hmmm...it's funny you say that about Milwaukee. I've always heard the same thing about Boston. I wonder how many other cities claim that distinction? :rolleyes
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,078
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The candidates seem to be Boston, Milwaukee and New Orleans. I will leave out Quebec and Montreal by limiting the cities to only those in the US.

I've been to all three. Boston is perhaps laid out like some European cities, but I guess I would say its architecture really doesn't look very European. New Orleans has an old French character among many of its people, but aside from the older portions of the city, it does not look very European. Milwaukee has a pervasive German character. It may be less readily apparent in the people as it was a while back, but the city's architecture - not just downtown but in the neighborhoods as well - is very Germanic. It is also a city known for beer, bratwurst, sourkraut, and many other German ethnic foods.

There are probably many more cities that show a strong European cultural heritage. Sitka, Alaska comes to mind.
 

statler

Cyburbian
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447
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Yeah Boston's architecture seems to be limited to Colonial, Federal and (ugh) modern. There is quite a bit of Greek Revival but I don't think that counts as 'European'

I can't speak of the other cities though, I really need to travel more.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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5,949
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28
Dodge City Kansas

Remember in Terminator 2 when they went in to the desert to pick up weapons from the kindly Meixcan couple. Well that is the feel you get from Dodge - well add a mess of cows in the desert and you have it.

Kansas City has that special mix between a cowtown and prosperity, modernity and jazz that can be clairified by listening to the "Beef; its whats for dinner" theme song as played by Coleman Hawkins or Thelonius Monk.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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There is Nothing sustainable in Europe except the French Breeder Reactor program.
 
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City Goddess said:
Hmmm, I didnt know that Sir Mix Alot was from Seattle. Or maybe you were saying Seattle girls have big butts... I am not sure.

But I like how you analize a city by its music.

I will use music to describe cities as well:
  • New York: " New York, New york" by Frank Sinatra
  • LA: Whats that song from Beverly Hills Cops? "The Heat is On" Oh yes, tacky, but in a way, so is LA.
  • Toronto, sadly I think of the Barenaked Ladies.
  • Seattle: typical grundge alterna-pops
  • Memphis: BB King with a bit of Elvis. This place bleeds the blues.
  • Detroit: anything Mo'town.
Yep...Sir Mix-a-lot's from Seattle. I can't attest to the derrieres of Seattle's female residents as I am not accostumed to looking at them, but I'll attest to the men's anyday! ;)
 
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It's all good, I am not from Seattle!

I am surprized to hear that Milwaukee is the most european city in America.

Where I live, Victoria Canada is the most British Canadian city. When I think of Victoria I think of:

American tourists
Frilly curtains
Old ladies having tea
Gardens
Double decker buses
 
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