Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cities I would move to if I ever left New York


Every once in a while, Mr. SZ and I ponder what life would be like if we left the Big Apple. (Not that we ever call it that. Really, who does?) It all sounds great until we realize that pizza everywhere else kinda sucks. So we'll probably live here forever. But if we did decide to bolt, here are the places where we think we could thrive.

1. Chicago

Pros: interesting architecture; public transportation; great museums; lake — big lake

Cons: it reaches absolute zero there in January; accent is sort of irritating; I don't like deep-dish pizza


2. Portland, OR

Pros: great beer; cool light rail system; natural beauty

Cons: panhandling punk teens; endless gray days; on the wrong ocean


3. Amsterdam

Pros: livable scale; beautiful canals; tolerance

Cons: I'd feel like a near midget among the Dutch; the language sounds uncomfortably like gargling


3. Toronto

Pros: universal health care; good refuge if I don't like the next president

Cons: I went there a couple of times in the 1980s and can't remember if I actually liked it


4. Burlington, VT

Pros: college town; near mountains; Vermont is cool

Cons: low population density; fear of being resented as a carpetbagging New Yorker; mud season


5. Madison, WI

Pros: college town; nice lakes; liberal vibe; relatives live there

Cons: I'm pretty sure winter there starts in September


6. Northampton, MA

Pros: hip town; lots of culture; not too far from Boston or New York

Cons: too darn small; chance of running into Kim and Thurston after I dissed their band

Friday, September 17, 2010

Places I've never been but would consider living in


1. Copenhagen. It looks gorgeous in photos and the Danes seem like pretty cool folks. I bet they would accommodate me by always speaking English.

2. Athens, GA.
I have a bit of a phobia about the South, but this seems like a pocket of hipness. I'm a sucker for college towns, and any place that spawned R.E.M. and the B-52s is good enough for me.

3. Boulder, CO.
My sister (who has actually been there) pointed out that Boulder consistently gets named the Best City Ever in magazine articles. Don't take her word for it, though -- the Convention and Visitors' Bureau has the proof. It's arty, it's green, it's got mountains... yeah, I think I wanna live in Boulder.

4. Davis, CA. When I was a kid I always thought I'd live in California when I grew up. (My grandparents and aunt and uncle all moved there so I guess I thought it was what one did.) Southern California is a non-starter for me, but I'm intrigued by the northern part of the state. Again, I like college towns, and this one is appealing because everyone there rides bikes. Not that I've owned a bike in 15 years, but the hippie in me thinks it's the best mode of transportation.

5. Portsmouth, NH. Let's face it: the thought of living more than six hours away from New York kind of freaks me out. I need to know I'm within a day's drive of decent bagels. New England always sounded like a reasonable alternative, and Portsmouth seems like a decent small city with an interesting harbor and some nice old buildings. Plus, I liked Joe Coomer's book Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God, which was set on a houseboat in Portsmouth. (Houseboats are also cool. Not that I've ever lived on one.)