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Jason Holliston
Thursday, September 30, 2004  
The City of Lights

This is just a quick post before bed: I just got back from RCIA and a quick dinner, and I'm completely beat. Today is just a link to a great post about Paris and its dark side. Michael Totten has this to say, as a taste:

The driver pulled onto the freeway and I saw Paris for the first time. It has a sprawling skyline of gigantic concrete block towers. Peering into the neighborhoods I saw a lot of trash and broken glass and little activity. There were no signs of life. Every vista repulsed me. And it went on like that for miles. It didn't help much that the predominant color was gray and the weather was overcast.

This can't be Paris, I thought. It looks like a Soviet Republic. Where were the church steeples? The amazing French architecture? The restaurant-lined boulevards?

I became physically depressed. Every last drop of excitement and anticipation drained out of me.

It's interesting to me, since we have completely different experiences with Paris and thoughts about suburbs. First of all, my quick trip to Paris was limited, for the most part, to the Old City (I stayed in Saint Germaine and never took a cab, bus, or subway -- I walked everywhere). I never saw the depressing areas that he describes, but I believe they do exist. I'll be going back in a couple years from my honeymoon, and I'm looking forward to it. Not so much because of the French people, but because of the museums, food, and architecture. Oh, and the experience. Paris isn't to be taken lightly.

As far as American suburbs, I disagree with him. As a disclaimer, I live in the suburbs. I think anything build before 1960 and after 1985 has promise, if not is spectacular. I like having a bit of room, not hearing traffic, and being able to go eating and shopping at chain stores and restaurants. I can always go to the "city" for a more eclectic meal or shopping experience, but remember this: the suburbs are the way they are because the consumer demands it. Not because of some totalitarian land developer.

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