"_____ is the largest small town"
Growing up in Chicago, my mother and I would always take long El trips to destinations in various areas across the city. We often would ride the El for periods of an hour or more. Everything outside of the North and South sides seemed like a new country to me. I would kneel on the seats staring out the window at these alien landscapes: places such as Pilsen, Ravenswood, or Garfield Park. I'd sit in the front of the Blue Line as it made its descent into a tunnel with the skyline looming ahead, peering over the window thinking I was Batman. I can also remember sitting in the backseat of a rented car as my Mother and Stepfather went cruising for clubs in brand new up and coming neighborhoods such as Wicker Park. It all seemed so exciting and new to me.
Now that I've been nearly everywhere in Chicago (thanks to this site), I don't feel like its a large city anymore. If I'm shopping, Michigan Avenue has simply been reduced to "that Walgreens on the corner of Lake street". I speak of it like its some little cornerstore around the block. Major clubs become lil' ol' juke joints to me, and the citywide Lakefront might as well be the town park. I feel like some character ripped from the movie Pleasantville:
"I see good ol Mr Fields sold his store to some Macy's guy and it has a new name"
"You don't say. I hope he still has those good chocolates. Don't forget to come to annual mayoral cake frosting festival"
It looks so epic in pictures, but in my mind, its underwhelming, but its, like, 700 miles of streets, it shouldn't be. I shouldn't be able to look at a picture of a bank branch and tell you where it is based on a minute building detail such as a fuckin cornice.
Even when I visit cities, this mentality kicks in. In my case it takes only a couple of days for a city to lose its grandiosity, even in a place such as NYC. After spending some time there, I wouldn't want to live in NYC, cause I prefer being bored in my own hometown. I like NYC as an outsider, because no matter where I go, every neighborhood will have a novelty factor. I'd hate to move there and wear it out by the end of the year. The way I explore neighborhoods, I could see that happening. The first time I visited, it , within 2 days, Times Square went from amazing to a hassle, I got tired of the 1 and 9 line like I am with the Red Line here. I kept running in to the same people, the same train stations, the Marshalls on 125th, etc....
I could just picture myself sitting at home in NYC on a saturday night grumbling to myself, "there ain't shit to do in this town"
Even when I returned for a couple of brief visits years later, this small town effect already hit me. How did I end up in the exact same pizza joint on Broadway and 94? How did I end up on that random street in lower Manhattan with the exact same vantage point, looking at the exact same Ethiopian restaurant?
(first picture by me 2004, 2nd by ColDayMan 2006)
So what comes next, Tokyo? If I lived there, Would I be making trips to the Ginza district to pick up a bag of Cheetos and going back home directly afterwards? I know I can't be alone in this thinking.
So, to summarize this rambling, when it comes to cities, are you a person who can totally be stimulated by the sights and sounds of the city, no matter how many times you've seen it, or someone who gets bored quickly with it? And does anybody else have any stories or thoughts about this?