Cityscapes

Tentative thoughts on cities I've lived in or visited multiple times.

  • Cleveland, OH
  • Quintessential American suburbia. Sprawling yet cozy, uneventful without a small-town feel. Contented.

  • New York City, NY
  • Something for everyone. Brash, no-bullshit attitude in stark contrast to west-coast political-correctness. Absolute cultural melée, and fully worth its reputation.

  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • City built from sand dunes, great for children and families but lacking cultural, experiential and intellectual diversity due to its youth.

  • London, UK
  • Perfect. Innovative, but with room for good banter. People take their work seriously, but don't take themselves too seriously. History and character.

  • Delhi, India
  • Slow, lazy, yet immensely hectic in an iconically Indian way. Enormous estates juxtapose mothers begging for starving children. People think in days, not years.

  • San Francisco, CA
  • On paper, utopic. In reality, not quite. Forward-thinking, open-minded people, fast moving culture. Closest to a meritocracy I've seen any city get, but with a subtle lack of intellectual vitality and a unique strain of Silicon Valley pretentiousness.

  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Gigantic, and utterly, utterly civilised. People value community and courtesy without the groupthink of Chinese cities. Sadly, very culturally homogenous.

  • Dubai, UAE
  • A more hedonistic, artificial version of Abu Dhabi. I respect the government's effort to divserify the economy into tourism. Beautiful, but lifeless.

  • Mumbai, India
  • A more intense, dense version of Delhi, its people chase fortune rather than let it come to them. Even the crime is more extreme. Wall Street and Hollywood meet chai and auto-rickshaws.

  • Boston, MA
  • Gorgeous red brick architecture, delightful ethnic (Irish-Italian) eats, teeming with young energy: it feels dynamic yet homely since the sleepy yet intellectual town of Cambridge is basically annealed to its side.