The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Not far... as the crow flies... but I'm no crow

A comment thread from a story concerning city center living vs suburban living brought back some memories. The story wasn't about what the comment thread became (commentary often deviates from the stories they accompany) but about economics. For commenters, it became about the values of city vs suburban living... and vice versa.

I have lived in many places; from small towns to rural areas to big cities. I have visited many more for varying amounts of time. My main observation is we fixate, we identify most, with places that held our happier periods of time.

I have often felt pangs of jealousy toward people who grew up and lived in one place all their lives. It's something I never had a chance to do. When you are a child, you go where your parents go. And my parents moved us a few times. It changes you, moving does.

The first town I remember was Farmingdale, NY. It was the idyllic vision of suburbia. A small, almost rural, town some 25 or so miles from New York City and Queens Village (where my grandparents lived at the time).  A distance that once took 45 minutes to an hour to travel. I walked most everywhere as a child. It was easy to do so; we had sidewalks along all the streets and paths through woods and empty fields. And nothing seemed more than a mile away.

When we moved to south Florida, it was a cultural shock as well as a psychological upheaval. Sidewalks were rare, for one thing, they only existed in certain parts of town. Mostly near heavily traveled roads. But not always, US 1 (aka Biscayne Boulevard) had no sidewalks in our town, for example.  But I could walk to my schools until I went to high school. Neither of the elementary schools I attended were more than a mile away and the junior high was no more than 3 miles (a walkable distance and easily reached by bicycle). High school was more than 6 miles from my home and I had to take a bus until I got a car.

I started hitchhiking when I was 11. My friends and I would hitch rides to the beaches, to downtown Miami, to junior high, to the shopping center on 163rd St., to the bowling alley (sometimes we just walked to these last two), even to the Boulevard Drive-in Theater some evenings (though we always walked home).

When we moved to Orlando (pre-Disney days... 1963-1964), a car was a requirement. Walking anywhere wasn't possible for me. We lived too far from anyplace (in a mobile home park set between a hog farm and a dairy farm on a frontage road along I-4).

After joining the Navy, I ended up in Long Beach, Ca, where I could walk to some places from my apartment but not to anyplace interesting. It seemed like most of the interesting places were far away; Hollywood, Pasadena, the beaches, etc.

I prefer suburban life to city life so mostly lived on the edge of cities or near them. The best of both worlds, in my opinion.

Now I live in a town not unlike Farmingdale but I am too old to explore it on foot. Like many small towns, the outskirts are where the majority of the population resides and where most of the restaurants and shopping are found. It doesn't take more than 15 minutes to get anywhere by car but you can't walk to most places. No grocery store within 5 blocks (and who would want to walk even that far with groceries?), not even a  convenience store, of my house.

But I like it here and intend to stay... even if I have to use a golf cart to get around.


T.C. said...

Well, except for living in Montreal proper during my first four formative years, I remained in the suburbs ever since. I have friends who live in the heart of the city and swear they could never live in the "burbs." Me? I agree, best of both worlds. However, we do have friends who live in NYC and they do not own a car. They use a combo of walking, taxi and subway. I should mention they're very wealthy and live in a Penthouse. Still, it's a nice lifestyle living in the city but as if you're in the burbs without the ridiculous expense of an automobile.

Douglas4517 said...

 If you live just outside a city, it's as good. You can buy a little, economical gas sipper to putt around in and hop rapid transit to take you into the heart of the city when you wish. You get the best of both that way. I did that for several years in San Diego. Los Angeles was more problematic because it really didn't have a central hub. Where I am now is fine because I have no need (or desire) for easy access to the arts or museums and enjoy the leisurely (and inexpensive) lifestyle here. I just hope others don't find it and ruin it for me.

T.C. said...

Where I grew up (and still live around) we were exactly four minutes from the bridge into town. These days, suburbs are pretty self-sufficient so I can live in splendid urbanity here on the North shore with no real need to go into Montreal. In fact, I go from Laval into Rosemere now and not Laval into Montreal.