What a cool video of my hometown! It reminds me of one of my favorite videos of all time…
The only thing that I think the video is missing is more shots of the neighborhoods. Places like Old North, Soulard, Shaw, or Tower Grove South would have provided some nice highlights of city living. St. Louis’ tourist attractions are incredible, but it’s also a pleasant place to live.
“King of Diamonds” by Motopony
Not only is this a catchy and mellow song, but the music video fits perfectly. I also think it’s great portrayal of the absurd dichotomy that runs through Las Vegas. On the one hand there is the glitz and the illusory sense of achievement, while on the other there is despair and listlessness. I visited the “city” for the first time this summer, and I was struck by the fact that the casinos try their best to emulate other cities. Caricatures of Paris, New York, and Venice all appear along the strip, replete with slot machines, phony monuments, and a sky that is painted on the ceilings of the casinos. It’s as if the World’s Fairs of Chicago or St. Louis — with their plaster staff facades that came down shortly after the fairs ended — left their sleazier siblings out to dry in the desert.
I’ve long held the belief that turn-by-turn GPS devices inhibit one’s ability to actually navigate a city. A recent New York Times article seems to confirm my suspicions. Sure, I use Google Maps on my phone, but I use it to provide a “suggested” route, not one that includes an annoying voice telling me that it is “recalculating” every time I deviate from the predetermined (and often, in light of traffic patterns, slower) route.
When we rely too much on a GPS to get us from point A to point B, we miss out on all the spontaneous turns that allow us to discover new streets and neighborhoods. We also miss out on the ability to find our way even if we deviate from our planned route. If I miss a turn, it’s ok because there are a myriad number of other ways to get to my destination. (Chicago — a city with a grid pattern — certainly makes such spontaneous driving easier.) If all I knew was my GPS, I’d be lost if I missed a turn or if construction or a traffic jam blocked the machine’s preferred path.
I’m a firm believer in “conditional driving.” When I’m heading south on a road and my destination is to the southwest, I wait until I hit a red light and make the right turn there. As I’m heading west, I wait to turn left (to continue heading south) until I hit a light that offers a green left turn arrow. It’s pretty simple, but it usually means that I keep moving and that I’m open to exploring some new parts of the city each time I drive.
Impressive. I’d like to try to do it continuously, though it may take 2 straight weeks…
Five pairs of neighborhoods that look and feel alike, without costing the same amount.
I came across this story in the Real Estate section of the New York Times today, and it got me thinking about comparable neighborhoods in Chicago. What are some of the places that match up well in terms of neighborhood feel but not in terms of price?
Source: The New York Times
Fantasy Map: Chicago El Overlaid On New York City
A bit of whimsy for you today from Reddit, brought to my attention by Twitter user @GordonWerner. The El has been flipped both horizontally and vertically, then rotated to fit Manhattan’s street grid, but the scaling is totally accurate. It looks like The Loop is placed in the area directly below Central Park. A few things from this: it’s actually kind of scary how well this fits; and it’s astounding just how dense the New York subway’s lines really are (shown here in white).
For a hodgepodge of transit map reviews and imaginative new designs, check out Cameron Booth’s web site. I think that my favorite component of the site is — by far — his mapping of the U.S. Interstate highway system in the style of a subway map (shown above). Though it’s a schematic design that would be difficult to use while driving, it certainly makes it easier to remember which Interstate you would need to take in order to get from City A to City B. A friend of mine has the whole system memorized and can tell you exactly which routes you could take to get between any two cities in the U.S. I’ve wanted to be able to do this for a long time, and Mr. Booth’s map may make it quite a bit easier.
Mr. Booth also has a tumblr called transitmaps.tumblr.com. Check it out. I think it’s the first tumblr I’ve decided to follow.
“It’s true that Manhattan lacks the elegant squares, axial boulevards and civic monuments around which other cities designed their public spaces. But it has evolved a public realm of streets and sidewalks that creates urban theater on the grandest level. No two blocks are ever precisely the same because the grid indulges variety, building to building, street to street.”
I wonder if the same can be said for Chicago’s grid.
Source: The New York Times