Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Gotta see it before its gone

I think I need to save up some traveling money. This morning on NPR they were talking about San Francisco, and the preparations they are making for a big quake (Preparing? For the worst case scenario? How novel!). And after what happened in NOLA, I am realizing that with Commander Cuckoo Bananas in charge, we've already seen two cities completely changed, never the same. New York emerged from Sept. 11 a "friendlier" city, which seems to have facilitated its transformation into a sort of theme park rather than a truly authentic metropolis. New Orleans will lose much of its port city grittiness with the new reconstruction of its poorer and older areas. People will soon talk about the "old" New Orleans like they talk now about pre-9/11 New York. It will never be the same.

So yeah, I'm thinking I need to head to San Fran before something bad happens. And Boston, too. Because you never know when something is going to change a city forever.


  1. Wah. They've already destroyed the old California Academy of Sciences in GG Park, the site of so many happy childhood memories (whither the reptile room? sob, sob). Anyway, gentrification has already done enough to rob SF of too many gritty charms as it is...

  2. New York was on the theme-park track before 9/11, and it really hasn't changed much since then.

    I wasn't in the city on the 11th, but managed to get through the Keystone Kop Kordons on the 12th because there were people downtown I needed to be with -- and overused some press credentials to get close to the WTC site over the next couple of days.

    Honestly, and with four years of perspective, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as NOLA.

  3. New Orleans was always the cheapest, tackiest, most tawdry of whores, but it was an easy place to get by. There was always a 150-year-old slave quarter apartment that you could rent for a couple of hundred dollars and feel that you had stepped back in time. We all became characters in a Tennessee Williams play. I've promised to donate a dollar to Habitat for Humanity for everytime I got drunk or got laid in N.O. It's a good thing they take installments.

    If you do come to S.F., holler, cause I just live next door.

  4. I still want to be an optimist about NOLA. The place was really cool in re the history of the place. But the city itself was in shambles. The city government couldn't get anything done, unemployment was out of control and the population was falling. I know that the administration would like to turn south LA into a free enterprise haven, but I think that the locals might use this as a chance to rebuild their city better. (but hopefully not gentrified into oblivion)

    I remember really being excited by Webb's plans to revitalize central denver. Now I'm wondering if it was such a great idea, considering a one bedroom house goes for $250k