Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Boston vs. Seattle

It's been thirteen years to the day since I moved here from Boston to start Real Change. I no longer feel as though the ocean is misplaced. It seems normal that cops drink mineral water instead of Dunkin Donuts coffee, and that everyone else drinks coffee like water. Seattle is my home. I am damp, but happy.

Still, being in San Francisco this week made me nostalgic for a real city. Here's my scorecard:

Boston is better.

1.) The Boston Globe is a world class newspaper.
2.) Driving is a blood sport, and way more fun.
3.) WGBH kicks KCTS's ass.
4.) People on the City Council openly hate each other.
5.) The T.
6.) Used bookstores are better and cheaper.
7.) Triple decker apartments and gas stoves.
8.) Jaywalking is not a crime.
9.) The people and politics are aggressive, but not passive.
10.)They have the Statehouse.

Seattle is better.

1.) Mt. Ranier, the Cascades, the Olympic Peninsula.
2.) Generally overcast skies (yes, I like that).
3.) Coffee, everywhere.
4.) Greenness.
5.) Temperate weather.
6.) Real Change.
7.) Water, everywhere.
8.) Capitol Hill Queers
9.) KEXP
10.)ummm. Did I mention Real Change?

OK. I guess outside of the geography, weather, coffee, Queers, KEXP, and Real Change, Boston actually is better. Most of the best stuff about Seattle, even since I've moved here, has been eclipsed by yuppie monoculture.

As the density increases and average incomes rise, everything that makes Seattle feel like a real city — danger, excitement, diversity — is being lost. Faux urban, in all of it's coopted and commodified glory, is mostly what's left.

We're a long way from Cinderella Liberty.

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