Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Northeast

It sure is different from the West Coast. More makeup, fewer bikes. Apparently white people are still too scared to ride the subway in Philadelphia, as though the hundreds of non white people surrounding you at all times will just sit and stare as you get mugged.

It's a very weird dynamic. Apparently suburban legislators control most of the regional planning, and therefore mass transit, so there is a huge amount of commuter trains that go from suburb to city. The stations are nice, and they come very frequently during rush hours, and lots of white people ride these.

But the subway is a mess. I couldn't get any of the token machines to work, so I had to get a SEPTA guy to come help. The signage in the subway was insufficient at best and misleading at worst. One of the tubes on the Broad Street line literally indicated which way the trains would go by spray painted arrows along the wall.

This is all because a lot (most?) people there don't find the city of Philadelphia a very nice place to live, which I don't understand. I do understand that many people perceive the suburbs to safer for children, which may be true, but it also may not be true. It always seemed to me that in a city there are so many eyes on the street that it is more difficult to commit a street crime. I would say if a mugger wants to rob someone, he or she has a better chance of getting away with it in a suburban mall parking lot than the middle of a busy street downtown.

Once a child becomes a teenager, I would guess, with no empircal evidence at all except for my own experiences, they may actually be safer in a city. More teenagers die in car crashes than anything else. Why? Because they live in the fucking suburbs and have to drive everywhere. As they are experimenting with alcohol and perhaps drugs, they are going to have to drive home to mom and dad's house every night under the influence. Teenagers are also just terrible and aggressive drivers that are prone to crashing. I'm surprised the high cost of providing a car for every member of the family isn't more of a deterrent from living in the suburbs. According to my own experience, it's also not any more difficult to acquire alcohol or drugs in the suburbs than it would be in the city.

In a demonstration of the animosity that Pennsylvanians feel toward Philadelphia, the legislature nearly let the city go bankrupt. The Mayor was forced to come up with a plan to cut police, close all the parks, and pick up trash only every two weeks. This in a city that I would call messy, if I were being generous.

Philadelphia has great potential, and it seems like urban living is becoming more appealing to people these days, so maybe it will improve.

Pizza in the Northeast=even more delicious

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