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Best metaphor so far to explain why I prefer the ruined city

March 27, 2011

funemployment office

It’s troubled me for a while why I feel more comfortable in places like Berlin, Atlanta (intown), Detroit, Red Hook than Manhattan, Williamsburg, Paris. There’s a temptation to say it’s about the number of people–which is part of it–masses of people make things inconvenient and make one feel like a rat. But Berlin + Atlanta are not desolate….

All of these places are all in flux, with parts of them being in semi-ruined state, so it seemed to friends that I just prefer the destruction aspect. Or the cheaper life. (Partially true.) But talking to my friend Jared yesterday, I tried to explain in his terms: crosswords.

For me, built-up, popular areas are like a filled-in crossword puzzle. Boring, done, they don’t get my brain going at all. Red Hook, Berlin (whose whole center is missing because the Wall used to be there), intown Atlanta (people finally beginning to gentrify it there), Red Hook (where I now live, which still shocks me: parts of it look plain bombed out) — are blank crosswords. Or maybe, better yet, they’re the super hard crossword puzzle that’s begun to be filled out invitingly but with a lot of blanks still around. And a pen sitting there sweetly waiting…

atlanta beltline southpowerhouse of praise

private property georgia

once so crazy now so lazy

beltline wires

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