Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Family Dinner with Cities

by Digidave (editor), San Francisco, December 10, 2007


If cities were people - imagine a family dinner between Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

I grew up in Los Angeles. I love the city and defend it whenever people attack it as a plastic hybrid of a metropolis. I became an adult in the Bay Area. San Francisco in 2005 created a dream of a lifestyle. I discovered the "real world" in New York, where I worked my tushie off in grad school and working.

I've done some traveling recently and have had the chance to further meditate about each city. I play an internal game lately — figuring out what relatives a city would be if I were to anthropomorphize them.


If San Francisco is a nurturing mother -
then New York is a strict father -
and Los Angeles is a bastard child.
Under the circumstances that caused me to visit Boston (an artificial intelligence conference), I came to the conclusion that Boston is your dweeb cousin.

Each have their merits. While the strict father that is New York can be soul sucking at times, it builds character. And while the nurturing mother of San Francisco pampers you - it gives the opportunity to find yourself (in that hippie-dippie way). Hanging out in LA might be strange and feel a little isolated, but just like a Wes Anderson movie, you learn something along the way that would be impossible to discover in any other situation.

These relationships are not set in stone. They fluctuate depending on the organizing analogy. In other words. The above only holds IF we imagine SF as a nurturing mother.

If San Francisco is a drunk uncle -
then New York is a distant cold father -
Los Angeles is your bitch step-mother -
and Miami is your cousin who struck it rich and retired early.

I also like to find analogies between neighborhoods.

For example: The Hollywood strip's closely relative is Times Square in New York.

Venice beach in LA is, without a doubt, the younger and warmer brother of Coney Island.

Berkeley in the Bay Area is cousins with Morning Side Heights in New York.

And the Western Addition in SF is akin to Carol Gardens in Brooklyn.

Meanwhile: Williamsburg Brooklyn and the Mission District in SF are twins.

I don't know all the Broowaha cities or neighborhoods. So I invite you to continue the analogies to your own neighborhood.

About the Writer

Digidave is an editor for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on A Family Dinner with Cities

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By Ariel on December 10, 2007 at 03:59 pm
In Los Angeles, Santa Monica is the nice kid everybody in the family is proud of: Successful, well-educated, friendly, well-shaved, etc.. Venice is the other kid who lives in the room next-door: often has shady people over, does drugs, rarely take showers, but has very cool hook ups for crazy art shows or concerts, and is generally fun to hang out with. Fun stuff!
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By Steven Blake on December 11, 2007 at 12:36 pm
I like Denver it was the hippie Child
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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on December 12, 2007 at 01:41 am
i'm born and raised in Tampa, Florida...You tell me.
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By yesteryear on December 12, 2007 at 09:08 pm
i want to add my own analogy, but i think you said it best when you compared SF to a nurturing mother. after visiting NY during a particularly cold march a few years back, returning to my warm, sunny, neighborhood in Noe Valley to see all of the colorful victorians with their window boxes overflowing with flowers in bloom - it really was like a big, comforting hug from someone who thought i could do no wrong.
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