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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fierce loyalty

I just returned from vacation in Manhattan yesterday and as much as I love that city, what always amazes me is how much the residents love it themselves.

On my flight home, I shared my row with two of them. One, a short Indian man with a round face, extra-long sideburns and a distinct British accent and the other a dark-haired young woman with tribal tattoos and vintage clothing (her business). The man was one of those overly friendly fellows who pulled us both into conversation. In due time, they both proclaimed Manhattan the best city in the universe. There were no ifs, ands, or buts...no room for discussion at all. To them, it was simply fact.

San Francisco, in comparison, feels like a quaint suburb. But weather-wise, we've got em beat by a country mile. Yeah it was a good vacation, and I love that city, but it feels good to be back in mine.


Thomas M. Sipos said...

I'm unusual in that I hate Manhattan.

I was born & raised in Queens, but spent much time in Manhattan. I attended NYU, and worked in a Manhattan office (on Park Avenue) for over two years.

I've always hated Manhattan. As a child in Queens, I hated Manhattan on TV. As a teen and an adult, I hated that city in the concrete.

I dreamed of someday moving to Los Angeles, land of cleanliness and beautiful people and Hollywood. Well, L.A. is not exactly all that, but I never want to live in Manhattan.

I hate Manhattan's urban milieu. Its ugliness and squalor. Its concrete and soot and crowds and noise.

I hate Manhattan so much, I wrote a novel, Manhattan Sharks, which in a sense is a 300-page extended hate letter to Manhattan.

I much prefer San Francisco. Or Seattle, or even Portland or Salt Lake City.

Ah, the West! I don't know where I'll want to spend the rest of my life, but not east of the Rockies, I know that.

Clifford said...


Wow, that's a pretty harsh indictment on a place you spent so much time in.

Hmm...I totally can understand it though -- as much as I like visiting, I don't really think I could live there. I would LOVE to spend my Spring's there (April - May, mabe), but have a place in SF for the rest of the year. For me, the humidity and cold suck so hard that the cities charms would all but vanish that time of year.

In the end, you have to live in a place to really know it. A week or two every few years just doesn't cut it. Sorry you had such a bad time there (:

Thomas M. Sipos said...

Humidity is horrid in NYC.

In L.A. in the summer, it can go down to 60 at night, because L.A. is a desert.

But humidity traps heat in NYC, so a summer night in NYC can be in the 80s. A wet, muggy 80s.

I don't mind the cold, though. As long as it's no lower than 20, I'm fine.

Many NYers are perversely pleased with their bad weather, and other problems, because it lends them a "tough" image. "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere," as Sinatra liked to sing.

On average, Angelinos are nicer than NYers. It's often a shallow kind of nice, but still, :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

I find it fascinating how loyal folks can get to a city. To me city's are always impersonal and can be either pleasant or unpleasnt but never anthropomorphized. I feel more that way about the country, but at least the country is alive.

Clifford said...


It's odd, but cities have personalities. And energy signatures. At least, it seems that way to me. And both NY and SF both have these massive parks to remind you that nature exists, and little green outposts in virtually every neighborhood.


Yeah, the weather is a major issue. During my week though, it went from chlly to beautiful to chilly again...gotta love Spring time!

Anonymous said...

thomas - perhaps you are unusual in that you hate manhattan. however, i've only visited twice, and although i'd like to go again, i'm fairly certain that i'd never want to live there.

and i know that i "love" my city. hell, yes, i feel san francisco is my city. shared possession, to be sure, but still.

i wonder if anyone/thing would ever be interested in exorcising our possession(s) of us?

Thomas M. Sipos said...

Like many natives, I've not seen many of the sites.

I've lived my first 26 years in NYC (in Queens), yet I've never entered Central Park. I've walked by it several times. Once, in 1981, I was in a taxi and was driven through it (so this is Central Park, I thought).

But still, never been in it on foot.

Never been to Ellis Island or the South Street Seaport (or whatever it's called). I worked for five months in the City Hall area, in one of the city buildings, but I never had a reason to visit the seaport.

I did go up the Twin Towers in 1976, and again in 1980. I always intended to visit it again. I miss that; it was a nice landmark.

I think I may have been in the Empire State Building as a child. I don't know.

Many NYC sites, I've never seen. Have ridden on the subway all-too-many times. Went to school at NYU, so have often been to Washington Square Park.

Worked for several months in the Times Square area back when it was scuzzy. (No, I was not in sex or drug trade, :-) There were legit businesses around there too.)

Clifford said...


Wow, that's pretty amazing! The next time you're there, you should hop on one of those "Hop On, Hop Off" tourist busses and just take in the sights! As for Central Park, it's really nice, and if you're ever there in the Spring and have some down time, you really should head out there, buy a bag of honey roasted nuts from a street vendor (a must) and just hang out for a while...it really is pleasant.

Please tell me you spent GOBS of time in the NY Public Library and Bryant Park -- that would make it all okay, cause once you've discovered those, nothing else really matters all that much (:

By the way, I've been to virtually all of the tourist sites in SF...only return when I have guests who want to go there...

Thomas M. Sipos said...

I was in the NY Public Library's 42nd Street Branch -- once.

I don't know Bryant's Park. I heard of it, don't know it. I have spent much time walking through Union Square Park and Washington Square Park.

When I was in SF, I wanted to see Alcatraz, but learned the you had to buy tickets in advance. So instead I took a boat tour that went under the Golden Gate Bridge.

If I'd had a car, I'd have wanted to drive over the Golden Gate.

I was eager to see Haight-Ashbury, and was glad I did (that ghost hunter took me on a tour).

When I first came to L.A., I made sure to see the Boulevard of the Stars and the Chinese Theater. I went to Muscle Beach and took the Universal Studios tour.

Afterwards, I stopped going out of my way to see L.A. sights. I'm especially tired of the freeways, something Angelinos see all too much of.

Clifford said...


We're going to have to go to NY so I can show you the sights!


Clifford said...


You're going to have to return and check out the rock...the audio program that accompanies the self-tour is first rate and really takes you back there. I've been 4 or 5 times, ususally with guests, and of the tourist locals, that's probably the one I still enjoy visiting.

Thomas M. Sipos said...

Ever see THE ROCK?

I think it's one of the best-written scripts, in the thriller genre or any other.

Many layers to that script, complex characters, lots of plot twists. Yet all the character motivations are consistent, every plot and character development is "set up without the audience being aware of it. The script works on an emotional level. It's what you expect, yet with surprises.

Great story, characters, music, action. Love THE ROCK.

Clifford said...

Never saw it, Thomas, but I'll add it to my Netflix queue. Thanks for the heads up!

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.