Saturday, August 05, 2006

D.C., Day Three

My boredom combined with exhaustian and lack of anything better to do has brought me back to this blog. I'm afraid I'm already turning into what used to annoy me about some people from Northwestern. These people, almost always from New York City or California liked to tell you what was better about their hometown compared to Chicago. Whether it was In n' Out Burger or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the weather or the cool places to go out, the native Chicagoan was left feeling a little provincial next to this type.

Being in D.C.; however, has helped me appreciate a lot about Chicago (while still maintaining that it is better than New York--L.A. and San Francisco I'm not at all familiar with). For one thing, though I've always found Chicago almost endless in its length, I miss the amount of cool neighborhoods that its large land mass accomodated. D.C. is surprisingly small for a Nation's Capital.

The size alone isn't the problem, but the size combined with the socio-economic situation makes for a difficult housing market for someone like me. I remember reading an article last year in my Sociology of Crime class about cities and crime rates, and D.C.'s crime rate which is relatively high was explained in part by the bipolar socio-economic make-up of its residents. It seemed that people were either working professionals or part of an underclass employed in very low-paying jobs like food service and custodian work. There isn't much room here, the article said, for a socially mobile class. The housing market--with either luxury condos in sought-after neighborhoods in the Northwest part of the city or older, less-maintained homes in out of the way (and sometimes unsafe) areas of the city reflects this. The thought that one can live in a nice neighborhood of Chicago for 600-700 per month is pretty exciting in comparison.

So as I think about D.C., with its lack of a lake, its unbearable heat (though that is many places in the country right now), its bear of a housing market, and its hyper-yuppie neighborhoods, I have to respect my hometown. I'm afraid I will be a Chicago snob, if there is such thing. I feel like people out East have a hard time believing happiness can be found in the Midwest. It's just as well, it will keep the housing market sane.


Anonymous said...

hear hear! that beautiful chicago neighborhood map makes me nostalgic ~ and i'm near there! eleanor roosevelt fought to improve the abysmal housing situation of minority working class d.c. residents in her day.
~ hsm

Elaine said...

That is great. I wish someone would do it now. The city is really badly managed I hear, combined with getting bad treatment from the Congress, as you said.

Chris said...

I always thought of DC as the city with all that unfortunate trappings of a big city without many of the it's kind of a fauz city - quite appropriate come to think of it.

Nevertheless, part of me thinks that any city whose citizens reelect Marion "Bitch set me up" Barry deserves whatever they get.

Anonymous said...

Do they deserve that forever? Barry hasn't been mayor for 8 years. And could there be a reason disenfranchised people vote for someone that a person far from their community might not appreciate?

Of course, as President Bush said fool me once shame on you fool me twice uh uh you can't get fooled again.

Speaking of re-elected...

Elaine said...

ha, good point! i don't think you can write off a whole population just because they voted for marion barry (or bush, or Duke Cunningham, or Tom DeLay, or strom thurmond when he was 200 years old, etc...)