My Urban Fairytale

It doesn't matter if I'm in Providence or Boston, Chicago or New York City, when I'm riding through downtown at night, on public transit, with the skyline lit, streetscape decorated for Christmas, bald leafless trees greeting me, and the bitter cold just out of reach...it's an urban paradise to me! I think growing up in the suburbs, in the warm south, has given me an appreciation and fascination with cities and seasons. I can't imagine anything prettier than a city in the Wintertime. (Okay, I can, the Swiss Alps or Salzburg or a plethora of other places. Perhaps, to state it better, I can't imagine anywhere else I'd rather be than in a city at Christmastime.)

As I sat on the bus headed to the airport, forging through downtown Providence, vying through traffic for the right of way, with city lights twinkling and Christmas lights gleaming, and the warmth of the heat on the bus juxtaposing the pedestrians enduring the cold, I was overcome with a sense of excitement and bliss. Life felt surreal. Looking out the window I felt like a movie star. Like Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle or in When Harry Met Sally. Or like Julia Roberts in Notting Hill or My Best Friend's Wedding or Erin Brockovich.

I think there is a reason why so many movies are set in cities, I'm just not sure what it is. We as a culture, have a history of love affairs with cities. Perhaps it's the allure of the urban lifestyle or the attraction of its efficiency. Or maybe it's the joy of watching the fast paced life, while being thankful it's not our life. Or even more plausible, it's the foreignness of it all; its rarity.

Thriving urban areas are a dying breed. With the invention of the automobile, assembly line, and cookie cutter housing, we spread out to the suburbs, yet we often find suburbia hopelessly unsatisfying. It's interesting that suburbs were created as a compromise between countryside and city. Frederick Law Olmsted, created one of the first "suburbs," Riverside, outside of Chicago, so he could have the best of both worlds. Ironically, we don't. We take vacations to get out and enjoy nature or make day trips to go into the city-- since we're not actually getting either. I don't really have a purpose of this blog and I didn't plan on going on an anti-suburbia tangent, but thought I would share with you my love for the city!

And who says fairytales never come true?! I think my urban fairytale is a present reality:)


  1. This is the best blog post yet...cities during Christmas-time are an incredible experience. And spot on with the suburb-talk. In reality there are two great places: the town and the country. The town could be manhattan island or small town main street usa (movies love them both, because so do we) and the country can be anything from corn to canopies of the rain forest, but somehow we think we can have both. When we try, we usually end up with something that has the benefits of neither, and the problems of both. Sorry...too much urban planning talk for the masses!

  2. MMmmm...thinking of a comment to show my loyalty to this fine blog...I greatly enjoy visitng cities of all sizes, but I would never want to live there. Is that ok?
    I think I figured it out...is this why I can't get you to live here? :)

  3. You kind of have two strikes going against you, huh? No city and no seasons. Bummer. Well I'm sure once you come visit me up here and see the glory of fall and winter and feeling like your life is a movie you'll reconsider:) If not, I know where I can go on vacation or where to send my retired friends;)

  4. bruce would be so proud... :)
    but, i must confess, i do agree.