Re: Off The Grid. Cleveland, Even

1

I hear that living in Shaker Heights cures cholera.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:32 PM
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It's not even really "the coasts" but a handful of cities that are expensive enough to show up in these discussions. Philadelphia, for example, is way cheaper than New York or DC while still being a pretty big city with a lot of urban amenities. On the west coast, Portland or even Seattle might be a comparable case.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:40 PM
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Isn't the simple explanation not that people are irrational snobs but rather that people who are ambitious/wealthy enough for a move to fucking Shaker Heights to be a major cost downgrade are -- by the time they've gotten to the point where a move to a fancy suburb like Shaker Heights seems like a cheap way to live and educate their fancypants spawn -- already committed to careers and/or family relationships in bigger, more expensive cities?

At least that seems to be the case for me and for everyone else I know who has contemplated but not made a move like that. Labor isn't that mobile, families aren't that mobile, and the reason rust belt cities are cheap is that there aren't that many fancy jobs for fancy people there.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:45 PM
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Cleveland always seemed pretty great to me. They come in way higher than any similar city that doesn't have the Cleveland Orchestra, for one thing. I do think "what will I do for a living?" and "will I get along with my colleagues?" are factors, as is "will my friends ever come and visit me, ever?"

I am emotionally attached to the physical coastline, as I may have mentioned, and to being on this side, not the other side, of the Berkeley Hills. No idea why this is so powerful. Let's blame "moon in Scorpio."

The Atlantic is trying its hardest but hasn't quite managed to suck me in with its headlines yet. Why is it trying so hard?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:47 PM
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3: I think so, yeah. A lot of high-paying career fields are just heavily concentrated in expensive cities, which is of course one of the reasons they're so expensive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:47 PM
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That's one of the reason I mention in the post, although granted "feels like home" is a squishier formulation.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:48 PM
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Now I'm wondering how much the discourse over this stuff is affected by the fact that so many of the people writing pieces like the one in the OP are professional writers, which is one of the jobs least tied to a specific location in the internet age. A stockbroker (say) can't just up and move from NY to Cleveland, but is also unlikely to write a piece for the Atlantic about that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:53 PM
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Do more people live in metro areas with a higher cost of living than in metro areas with a lower cost of living? Or is it pretty evenly distributed? I also wonder how common it is to just get up and move far from family outside of people chasing fancy-pants "must be willing to move" jobs.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:53 PM
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I'd call jinx on using the phrase "up and move" if I were a jinx caller.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:54 PM
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I'll still buy you a Coke if you want.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:58 PM
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You'll have to pay for shipping, though. I'm not made of money.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 9:58 PM
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Alaskan Coke isn't as good as Mexican Coke.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:01 PM
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Which leads me to ask: do we have a strategic fructose reserve? If not, WHY NOT?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:01 PM
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Colder, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:02 PM
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14 to 12. To 13, I think we do; it's called "Iowa."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:03 PM
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I don't think it's unthinkable to many people to move to a place like Cleveland; I think it's just that our media professionals -- especially opinion writers who get to write about where they live -- in highly concentrated in the big coastal cities.

All the Bernie Bro complaints made sense to me after learning that in New York, young white men actually were the only group that went majority Bernie. This didn't bear out in national polls (where the split is primarily along age lines). So the Bernie Bro actually was a pretty intense phenomenon in New York, where all the people who were writing about Bernie Bros live.

Coastal concentration explains a lot about media.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:03 PM
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I don't think it's unthinkable to many people to move to a place like Cleveland; I think it's just that our media professionals -- especially opinion writers who get to write about where they live -- in highly concentrated in the big coastal cities.

Ironic since, per 7, they don't really have to be compared to a lot of other professions. Obviously they want to hang out together and stuff, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:07 PM
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All the Bernie Bro complaints made sense to me after learning that in New York, young white men actually were the only group that went majority Bernie. This didn't bear out in national polls (where the split is primarily along age lines).

Age was definitely the main factor in the Alaska caucus, at least in my district. Gender was a secondary factor in that there were a fair number of young women for Clinton and older men for Sanders but very little of the reverse. My district is very white so it was hard to tell if there was any racial component.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:10 PM
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I'm also not sure "unthinkable" is the right word. People think about this stuff all the time, and game it out; they just don't often do it. I think there has to be a very particular, concrete reason to want to lower your cost of living, to offset the arbitrariness of the choice of a pretty good, pretty cheap new home city. Reasons I have considered for moving include "ability to buy a nice house larger than this rental" and "ability to work less and have more time for creative pursuits." At the end of the day I can do without the nice house, and becoming suicidally depressed, isolated, and blocked in a city that doesn't feel like home, to which I moved in order to solve my creative problems, is a fate I'd pay a stupid amount of money to avoid. (But I can't honestly say I've ruled a move out.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:11 PM
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In theory you can be a writer almost anywhere now. But I think most workplaces aren't going to let you go wherever until after you've established yourself, and national-oriented* media headquarters still tend to be NY/Boston/DC, so.

*At least in how they present themselves. In practice, "national" media tends to talk a lot about northeast corridor regional stuff, like Bloomberg and Christie presidential aspirations.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:17 PM
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Even though Cleveland is populous, I don't think people deliberately set out to move there (unless they're from a small town in the surrounding area) as much as they do New York, Boston, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, or LA. I've known several people who have moved to these cities with savings but without work directly lined up, which is possible because these cities all have strong economies (especially for tech people, and all of my musician friends are good enough that they work wherever they go). But Cleveland, Cedar Rapids, Oklahoma City, etc, aren't places you make a point of trying to live in; you just get a job there, or maybe one of those places is where you end up for school or your academic career.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:18 PM
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8 - I dunno exactly how to answer that question, but if you add up the "combined statistical areas" for NYC, LA, Bay Area, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Denver, Portland, and Seattle (the obvious high-cost zones) you get to about 90 million in a country of 310 million. So obviously more people live outside the super high cost zones then within them.

BUT if you add up ALL the other CSAs that are in my subjective opinion something like plausible actual "cities" -- Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Orlando, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake, Kansas City, Columbus, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Raleigh-Durham, Milwaukee, Nashville, Louisville, New Orleans, Hartford, Memphis, Omaha, you get to about 80 million. At that point you start hitting things like the Norfolk VA CSA and the Grand Rapids MI CSA and the Oklahoma City CSA and I just can't count those as cities for these purposes.

So I guess more people total live in the few high cost city areas than in all the lower cost ones combined, though not by that much, and maybe it's wrong to count Chicago as a high cost city area. No idea if this is in any way a valid or interesting methodology, maybe it's not.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:32 PM
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No idea if this is in any way a valid or interesting methodology, maybe it's not.

I certainly don't buy it. For one thing, I don't think there's really a clean distinction between "expensive" and "cheap" metro areas but more of a continuum, and I think the plausibly urban set of metros goes well beyond the ones in your second list, although with smaller cities the "urban" part in the physical sense can be quite small.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:37 PM
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I'm sure there's been some actual research on this, but the quality of the urban planning literature is generally atrocious so who knows how much it reflects reality.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:38 PM
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Well, presumably the point of the article which I'm not going to read is "why pay $1,000,000 for a shoebox in NY when you could live in Cleveland debt-free in a totally real-seeming city." And at that point Oklahoma City or whatever just isn't a substitute. So many more people choose to live in the expensive city-like-cities than in the not as expensive city-like-cities.

I'm too lazy to plug in all the numbers but it looks like if you took all the CSAs down to the point where you're counting things like Tallahassee, Appelton WI, and Erie PA on the list you'd get to rough population parity with the NY, LA, SF, Chicago, DC, Boston, Denver, Portland super high-cost areas.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:42 PM
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I'm mostly wondering how many people in high cost cities grew up around those places, and have close family in those places, and how much that, rather than pure preference drives where people live. I'm one of the few people in my west coast-born family, including all cousins, plus my brother-in-law's family, to have lived even for over a year outside of California. I think I'm also one of the few who's gamed out moving to somewhere lower-cost, but realistically I'm not likey to do that as long as my parents are still alive and in California.

On the other hand. the parents' of my west coast-born family are mostly immigrants to the US, and those who aren't are the children of immigrants, and I think none of them were born on the west coast.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:43 PM
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And I'll temper 23 a bit by noting that IME trying to live an "urban" lifestyle in a small city is harder than it would appear just from looking at the physical insfrastructure (e.g., density of downtown core), since a generally "suburban" lifestyle among the general population has a huge effect on how easy it is in practice.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:44 PM
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Well, presumably the point of the article which I'm not going to read is "why pay $1,000,000 for a shoebox in NY when you could live in Cleveland debt-free in a totally real-seeming city."

Not really. She doesn't really focus on the urban amenities of Cleveland but more on the great schools in Shaker Hights, which is a streetcar suburb and more compact and walkable than, say, Levittown but hardly urban in any meaningful sense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:46 PM
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I don't think there's really a clean distinction between "expensive" and "cheap" metro areas but more of a continuum

Certainly. But it seems like you could pick some measure or combination of measures, get a median, then check the population on either side of it. With the right institutional backing, you could call it social science and everyone would believe you!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:47 PM
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I'm too lazy to plug in all the numbers but it looks like if you took all the CSAs down to the point where you're counting things like Tallahassee, Appelton WI, and Erie PA on the list you'd get to rough population parity with the NY, LA, SF, Chicago, DC, Boston, Denver, Portland super high-cost areas.

But we're talking about metro areas, not municipalities. There are some hella low-density suburban areas in the NY and SF CSAs. (And I would dispute that Portland and maybe Denver should be on the high-cost list in the first place.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:48 PM
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24 to 29.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:49 PM
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Right, but I was trying to figure out whether more people, total, in the US live in the high-cost areas attached to the relatively few big urban areas with very high costs of living (including fancy non-dense suburbs or whatever) as opposed to lower cost but still "big" feeling metro areas. I don't think housing density is particularly relevant.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:54 PM
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I think Portland gets on these lists because of white privilege.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:54 PM
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That s/b "I was trying to figure out whether more people, total, in the US live in areas attached to the relatively few big urban areas with very high costs of living (including fancy non-dense suburbs or whatever) as opposed to lower cost but still "big" feeling metro areas. "


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:55 PM
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Portland is pretty white, but it's also pretty expensive these days. Looks from my under 30 second of googling like it's 2-3x the costs of Dallas.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:56 PM
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I think RT is getting what I'm trying to get at. If you grow up in not expensive-LA-but-near-the-delta-east-of-Antioch-Brentwood, you're not growing up in density, but you are getting ties to the Bay Area that you wouldn't have to Cleveland or OKC or Erie-not-Indiana.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:57 PM
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32: Ah, okay. I tend to think of these things primarily in terms of physical density, which I've been learning isn't always the best measure (as indicated in 27).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 10:58 PM
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Portland is pretty white, but it's also pretty expensive these days. Looks from my under 30 second of googling like it's 2-3x the costs of Dallas.

But Dallas is still pretty cheap, isn't it? What's the differential between Portland and SF?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:00 PM
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From my totally reliable 10 second scrutiny of some number that Zillow coughs up, it looks like housing costs in Portland OR are about 2/3 of LA, and 2-3x Dallas or Philadelphia. But it's the smallest of my arbitrarily-picked "expensive" CSAs so leaving it on or off doesn't really make much difference.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:04 PM
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Huh. Shia La Beouf was in a movie with "Shaker Heights" in the title, about which Cleveland media outlets were obligated to complain that it didn't appear to have much to do with Shaker Heights at all.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:04 PM
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Dallas is pretty cheap, but I'm not sure how much longer that will last. I think housing is projected to be up almost 20% next year. Lots of companies moving in -- Toyota most notably. Fortunately there's plenty of room to build up North, where the tech is concentrated.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:08 PM
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From my totally reliable 10 second scrutiny of some number that Zillow coughs up, it looks like housing costs in Portland OR are about 2/3 of LA, and 2-3x Dallas or Philadelphia.

I find that pretty surprising, but I've never actually been to Portland myself so I don't know what it's really like these days. How does Seattle compare?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:09 PM
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Fortunately there's plenty of room to build up North, where the tech is concentrated.

Maybe the best encapsulation of the difference between Texas and California.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:10 PM
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Also word at prestigious medical school-Dallas was that they're managing to poach a lot of UC system faculty members. It'd be cool if we got some more biotech built up here. I'm starting to see more job postings for it.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:11 PM
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43:

Well there's also the highly reactionary state government that for a long time quietly managed to actually do a decent job of funding public services (especially public schools). But I understand that's changing now.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:13 PM
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42: Supposedly there's been a huge influx of Californians with cash from selling seven figure houses and stuff's getting bid up right and left.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:16 PM
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There's a lot of room to build in the southern part of the Bay Area, where tech is concentrated. Sure, there are buildings already in lots of these places but a shocking-to-me number of office parks appear to be basically vacant.

Only the really big companies can afford to buy, destroy, and build, though. There are some massive construction sites for Apple, Google, Linkedin, Nvidia, etc.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:18 PM
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46: Not at all surprising. Could be the liberal equivalent of the exodus of right-wingers from the OC to Idaho.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:18 PM
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San Diego should go on the expensive list. Probably Honolulu too. Maybe Miami.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:18 PM
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Absolutely Honolulu. Anchorage is also expensive, but not because it's cool; not sure if that merits inclusion on this list.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:19 PM
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I almost said Anchorage too. Is it expensive because it's remote like Honolulu is?


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:21 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:21 PM
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My innovative social science method of typing "home price Seattle zillow" "home price Portland zillow" etc etc into Google gives purported median numbers for the "metro" of $322k for Portland OR, $382,700 for Seattle, $523,800 for LA (mysteriously, not the number I saw 10 seconds ago, but whatever), $806k for "San Francisco metro," and $616,000 for NY NY. Chicago is exactly $200k.

Extrapolating from my knowledge of LA, I think that this metric gives you "price of a house that absolutely is very small in a very shitty or far-outlying area and/or has something wrong with it."

For comparison, Philadelphia is $122k, Dallas $139,500, Cleveland $49,800(!), Pittsburgh $126,700.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:21 PM
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46:

Those people tend to buy the McMansions up in Plano, Frisco, and Prosper. A friend of mine's dad was a petroleum engineer out in California and just loves to brag about how much house he has now. There's plenty of room to build those things. The Cali folk tend to not like city living and if they do they like Highland Park which was already expensive. They're not yet bidding working families out of homes.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:21 PM
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48:

Every person I've known that's moved here from Cali has been a Republican and th politics are at least partly a draw for them. Small N, though.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:23 PM
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To expand on 52, there are several reasons that living in Anchorage is expensive, but remoteness is definitely one of them and maybe the most important. Bidding up of real estate because of the oil boom and limited additional developable land is also an important factor, but likely to become less of one as the economy collapses in the next few years as it is currently likely to do. Coolness and attractiveness to young professionals plays little to no role.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:27 PM
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This gives the following ranking:

SF, NYC, DC, San Jose, Boston, Oakland, Honolulu, LA, Philly, Chicago, Seattle, Miami

Sprawling metros are tough to judge. Downtown Chicago is really expensive. But some outlying areas are pretty cheap.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:29 PM
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That thing rates Philly identically to Los Angeles in terms of cost of living, which can't possibly be right.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:31 PM
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One thing about Anchorage is that it's much smaller than the other cities being discussed. Approximately the size of Reading or Trenton, in East Coast terms.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:31 PM
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Quite a lot bigger than Redding, or Benton.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:39 PM
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Outside of the Loop/Gold Coast and a few trendy neighborhoods, Chicago is really affordable, especially for a big city. If you wanted, you could probably find a room in a shared house for $250/month in a not totally horrible neighborhood.

Portland used to be a kind of off the beaten track affordable fun and quirky place to live, until suddenly every hipster and their mom (from Marin County) decided to move there and turned it into the worst of Williamsburg meets the worst of the Bay Area.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:51 PM
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You've been a grad student too long, Buttercup. A room in a shared house is fine and all in your twenties and even early thirties in grad school but in your late thirties and forties that's no way to live IMHO. How much for a one bedroom apartment in a comparable neighborhood?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 2-16 11:59 PM
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Pwned by everyone else.

Speaking of Portland, I was googling my elementary school and found an NPR piece on gentrification and school choice, which basically explained that despite the neighborhood gentrifying like crazy and going from being like 85% black to like, 99% white and filled with hipsters, my elementary school is still 60% black,* because these white people wouldn't dare let their children mingle with people who are actually of a different race or socio-economic class than they are. It made me want to throat punch white hipster parents.

*It was less black than the neighborhood because of all the white kids bused in for desegregation purposes.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:02 AM
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In my neighborhood, the cheapest 1 bedrooms are 900-1000/month, 1100-1300 if you want a dishwasher and microwave. If I moved to a cheaper less nice neighborhood I could probably get a 1 bedroom for 600-700. Here studios range from $550-$800, and I could get a 2 room studio for under $700.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:05 AM
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7: A stockbroker (say) can't just up and move from NY to Cleveland, but is also unlikely to write a piece for the Atlantic about that.

Well, but the reason you don't see brokers move around that much is that they've spent years building their book of business in a certain locale, and their clients are obviously not going to move along with the rep.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:27 AM
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I'm sure my sample is skewed, but I know a decent number of people who went off to college, worked somewhere else in their 20s, married, had a kid, and then moved back to a suburb of a rust belt city. Also know some who'd like to but whose careers make that impossible.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:10 AM
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I may have mentioned before my depression on realising that for the same price as a small flat in a not very nice bit of London, I could have bought a really awesome yacht.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:42 AM
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I could have bought a really awesome yacht ekranoplan.

FTFY


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:00 AM
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But is there an Eataly in Cleveland? This is what matters.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:20 AM
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I remember Crystal City before all the hipsters.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:30 AM
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Speaking of London, does anyone have recommendations for a good cheap hotel within walking distance of the Royal Albert Hall (which is near my venue)?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:35 AM
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re: 71

I expect those of us who live in London have no idea. Walkable to the Albert Hall covers a pretty huge area of London, though, as pretty much all of the western end of central London is walkable to there: Kensington, Mayfair, Chelsea, Notting Hill/Ladbroke Grove, etc. Assuming by walkable you mean within a couple of miles.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 3:00 AM
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4: I have never heard the Cleveland Orchestra but am willing to believe they have competition even within their own state! I probably don't need to go into my rant about the joys of downward mobility, though, because the fancy people won't care. But there are definite advantages to living somewhere cheap.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 3:33 AM
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I enjoyed living in Cleveland and still miss some things about it, the low cost of living being one of them. The great easily accessible nature and hiking are another. Also, a surprisingly good food scene, if you're into that.

Don't miss all the creepy serial killers, though.

However,

1) Unless you plan to work for the Cleveland Clinic, which appears to be slowly but surely assimilating the entire city, I'm not sure how many decently paying white collar jobs are available. The city leadership was pretty clueless about addressing this. Last I heard, they're big plan to create jobs was to attract Walmart and other big box stores. Also, a big boondoggle of a convention center, because everyone wants to hold their annual convention in Cleveland.

2) For someone used to Boston, SF or NYC, Cleveland is not going to seem like a "real city". The downtown is a ghost town, and the rest of the city is a bunch of (many quite nice) pocket neighborhoods separated from each other by a lot of nothing. I liked it fine, but really is different from what the big expensive coastal cities feel like.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 4:05 AM
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Cleveland doesn't even know what it looks like to be occupied by a single health care nonprofit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:04 AM
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The city we're moving to for the fall semester has "luxury" 4-5 bedroom townhouses for $1200/month. However it's in a country with 20% unemployment so hopefully the locals don't hate us.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:17 AM
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I hope they don't hate you just because you're prosperous enough to think $1,200 is cheap rent. I hope they get to know you well enough to hate you for yourself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:26 AM
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Maybe it's just as simple as: when you're young you're afraid that no one has fun or sex in Cleveland

This is the final boarding call for the express train to Minneapolis, boarding track six.*

I'd say that part of the problem is that there really is a sort of flyover country disdain in a lot of the coastal areas of the country, but it's also just that with a lot of careers you have to commit to living somewhere before you have a job in hand and so people are in a situation where they'd have to commit to a city without actually having something to land on when they got there and hope for the best** (probably not an unreasonable hope in plenty of those cities but still a bird in the hand is safer than two in the bush). And if you're in that situation you'd have to pick a particular city ahead of time, and it's hard to know why to pick one over another without some experience of a particular one, and that's as likely to come from "that's the place I moved away from" as anything else. The big coastal cities already have big reputations so people can easily see the appeal of living there without needing any experience of it.

I suspect that the higher income professional sorts who do move to those cities after living in NY or LA are people who lived around there before - in college, for example - and so have an immediate sense of the appeal of some particular city or other. (There's probably also a decent sized amount of "my big corporate employer wants to move my job to their St. Louis office and it's move there or be replaced" which ends up "...and it turned out it was really great there I'm never leaving".)

*Of all the ways to sell Minneapolis to people "cool, funky and very, very sexxxy" isn't necessarily what I would go with first. But having Prince out there doing that is probably one big part of why he was loved around here.
** There are also careers where it's assumed that you're applying country-wide and will live wherever you get a job, and people jump over to new places constantly. But applying for jobs halfway across the country rather than where you already live seems to me like something that isn't that common overall.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:30 AM
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That's our goal, personal relationships to last a lifetime.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:30 AM
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we're staying, temporarily, in a not very luxurious one bdr apt in an unremarkable suburb of Raleigh. it's $1200/mo.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:57 AM
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Chapel Hill is nicer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:08 AM
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I'm going to have to read all the comments and weigh in on the quaint folkways of Shaker Heights, aren't I? You fuckers guessed that I have a deadline tomorrow and did this.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:21 AM
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79 to 82.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:24 AM
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78 sounds right to me. I mean, I'll get all argumentative about how great living in NYC is, but I didn't decide to live here, I'm from here and when I've lived other places, it was weird.

I would probably tolerate living all sorts of other places just fine, though. I liked Cambridge/Boston when I was there in college, didn't like Chicago, but the area around the U of C isn't Chicago's most appealing area I don't think, so I assume I'd be able to find an area I liked. Generally, I'm prejudiced in favor of walkable city centers over anything else, but that doesn't mean only giant coastal cities -- Cincinnati, e.g., looks just fine to me from a physical layout point of view.

But when you talk about moving to other places, I can't see how I'd end up picking a place to move to, despite the fact that real estate literally anyplace else in the country except the Bay Area is wildly cheaper than it is here, unless I had some specific reason which I'm unlikely to ever have.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:27 AM
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Huh. Shia La Beouf was in a movie with "Shaker Heights" in the title, about which Cleveland media outlets were obligated to complain that it didn't appear to have much to do with Shaker Heights at all.

It was the movie made on the second season of Project Greenlight. There was much reality show drama over whether they would actually film on location in Cleveland, which the screenwriter of the deeply personal and also shitty coming of age drama felt was vitally important. They did not end up filming in Cleveland, because 1) the stupid movie wasn't worth it, 2) it didn't actually have much to do with Shaker Heights and 3) "filming on location" is code for "going where there are tax breaks and crews are cheap".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:33 AM
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I think they filmed Batman in Pittsburgh because we look more like "Gotham" than New York City does.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:35 AM
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I endorse 21, which is an exact description of how we ended up here, but there are still cities cheaper than SF/NY/DC/Boston/Austin that retain the kind of cultural capital that Cleveland (or Kansas City or Omaha or, I dunno, Fresno): Chicago (which, yeah, is quite cheap by NYC standards where everyone I know actually lives), Baltimore, Philly, Mpls., Houston, etc. all strike me as places where people aren't going to hit that querulous tone when they ask you why you moved there (Pittsburgh seems to be trying to push its way into that class of cities, too). There are obvious advantages to living in places that attract youngish people with disposable income if you are of the SWPL class and want to go out for an $11 cocktail after work.

28 is correct, and the lack of walkability is an irritant. (We can walk to a good restaurant, a sushi place we never go to, a mediocre grocery store, a movie theater, a CVS, and a now-shuttered toy shop. Also, like, a wig shop and a check cashing place. But it's not the same as being a place where you can get all your errands done within a 20-minute walking or even biking radius.)

75 misses the fact that Cleveland was totally smarter than Pittsburgh and has two non-profit health organizations metastisizing in the city. Eat it, UPMC.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:37 AM
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Well, Columbus's claim to literary fame is a short novel that is not about Columbus, Ohio at all.

Except for.......well, I don't even need to say James Thurber here.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:37 AM
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86: that and the tax credit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:37 AM
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As you might expect, I find this entire conversation infuriating. Yes, people have fun and sex in Cleveland. Even me!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:37 AM
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Anyway, it took me years to get used to the big city living in Pittsburgh, even after nearly a decade in Ohio as a kind of a halfway house for leaving the midwest. Now, I feel comfortable enough there, but it took a decade. Part of that growing comfort is the realization that I now know enough people that I randomly meet people I hadn't been planning to or expecting to meet just in the course of going about my life. Once Pittsburgh started to feel like a small town, I was fine with it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:38 AM
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90: Yes, I'm infuriated too! I used to have fun and sex -- even in Columbus!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:39 AM
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89: There's no way for me to know that if I don't click on that link.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:40 AM
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91: That is the funny thing -- it's not at all uncommon to talk to people here for whom Columbus is the big city.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:40 AM
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I have a bunch of thoughts about this article, having just executed a move from DC to MI. Nearest real cities are Chicago and Detroit; we're not in what you'd call a suburb, but it's a town with more amenities than one might expect. I took what seemed like a fairly attractive job. The boyfriend is still looking. It's been about four months. We hear frequently that companies have great difficulty attracting talent here (which does not surprise me one bit), but he's not getting offers. I suspect he reads as both overqualified and a flight risk. Hilariously, we moved back because he was homesick.

I am trying very, very hard not to fall into the trap that many people get stuck in, though. Jobs for us are easier to find in major cities. We like cities. We need to be extremely careful to save our money in liquid form and not buy a big house (because cheap!) and a boat (because lakes!) and a bunch of other toys that will keep us from being able to even pay a deposit to live in, eg, Boston. When the local economy here tanked, lots of highly educated, white collar professionals were completely and utterly screwed. Forty-five year olds with kids in middle school who couldn't afford a down payment on even a small house or condo if they transferred to another site within the same company.

Chicago is great, though. Good culture, good value, good enough infrastructure. Except the weather.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:41 AM
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86- The new Ghostbusters was filmed in Boston, not NY, because of tax credits and... I have no idea why other than that.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:42 AM
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Ha, I just realized that I'm familiar with the article author's magazine. And now I'm looking at her house on Google Earth; it's jogging distance away from our house, although it's not the route I normally go.

I mean, we could live in a hipster-ier neighborhood in Cleveland proper with good bars in staggering distance and a bodega at the end of the block, but the tire fire that is the Cleveland Public Schools system--constrained by systemic poverty, a malevolent state legislature, and the continued hollowing-out of public schools by charter school grifters--was a deciding factor for us. Sending Jane to a well-funded, well-regarded public school system with a plurality African-American high school at the end of it matches my childhood experience and seemed like a good setup, and Rft can take the bus down to work.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:45 AM
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But it's not the same as being a place where you can get all your errands done within a 20-minute walking or even biking radius.

To be fair, we could get quite a lot more of our errands done if we would bike 20 minutes to things--we just wind up driving or bussing to those things because (a) we're already dropping our kid off somewhere a bit further first, (b) I have to be at some early morning meeting first, and/or (c) the biking conditions are not super pleasant and you don't really feel comfortable on a bike.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:50 AM
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The dropoff in public transit from NYC to the second tier of Chicago/DC/Boston/LA/SF to basically everywhere else in America is a thing of disgusting wonder, like watching a sea cucumber turn itself inside out.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:51 AM
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True fact.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:56 AM
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53.2 is a reasonable description of what $200k will get you in the Chicago area.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 6:57 AM
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90: Now I'm tempted to print up some "I had sex in Cleveland" T-shirts and see how well they sell on CafePress.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:15 AM
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Two of my former cow-orkers moved to less expensive places without something lined up (Montana, Oklahoma). In each case they went where their significant others were from and had family there.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:17 AM
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Assuming by walkable you mean within a couple of miles.

Walking a mile in a big city feels like nothing. You think of it as short. Walking a mile in suburbia feels like a longer way.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:17 AM
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102: Undoubtedly, I'm the only one here uncool enough to show there was a TV show on the TV Land network (2010-2015) called Hot in Cleveland.

The series centers on three aging entertainment industry veterans from Los Angeles, Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli), Joy (Jane Leeves), and Victoria (Wendie Malick). The three women find a more welcoming and less shallow and youth-obsessed community in Cleveland, Ohio, where, as seen in the pilot episode, their Paris-bound plane makes an emergency landing. They decide to stay and lease a home where a sassy caretaker (Betty White) still lives in the guest house.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:27 AM
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105: "show" = "know" -- not just uncool!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:28 AM
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re: 104

Heh. I remember walking a couple of miles in Palo Alto in mid-summer, and thinking I wanted to die.

"Where's the fucking shade you Californian bastards? Plant some fucking trees, or at least put the shitty fucking trees you do plant a bit closer to the pavement. I hope the fucking quake comes any day now."

Was my mantra.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:40 AM
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In accordance with its name, Palo Alto has only one real tree. Planting more trees would ruin the character of the neighborhood and drive down property values.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:44 AM
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Hot in Cleveland was a pretty good show.

I've not spent more than 12 hours in Cleveland and have a difficult time gauging it. I always thought it was basically a Pittsburgh equivalent, with some collapsed industry and collapsed industry areas but great infrastucture and a nice urban core. But the $49k median home price (per Zillow (a registered trademark)) and the descriptions of Shaker Heights suggest it's something more like Detroit with an only slightly less destroyed inner city and somewhat less nice suburbs.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:46 AM
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Being in Palo Alto at all kind of makes me want to die, pretty rapidly.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:46 AM
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107: That's a special case, but there is a weird aspect of American suburban culture that it is impossible to walk even the smallest distance. There are only 2 normal reasons why you would be out on foot -- either 1)you are exercising and are wearing exercise clothing or 2) you're walking your dog.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:47 AM
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My parents moved from Palo Alto to Gainesville shortly before I was born. I've never been to Palo Alto and all I hear about is how much they miss it and how hard it was to adjust to Gainesville, and I've always felt defensive/jealous about it, since I like Gainesville quite a lot. So I'm enjoying everyone saying that it is a sucky pit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:50 AM
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So maybe more a Buffalo-equivalent than Pittsburgh-equivalent.

I knew a genuinely rich guy in college (at least apparently! But his Dad collected Ferraris and they did the secret for-real Cannonball Run race for millionaires and had vacation homes in tony places) from Shaker Heights, so there must have been at least some in the 90s.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:51 AM
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111: This is rural, not suburban, but I still remember being at my inlaws when Sally was a baby and going for a walk with her in a sling. Every car that passed stopped and asked if I was all right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:52 AM
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There are some genuinely rich people in Shaker, yes. Also in the further-east, further-white, vastly less appealing suburbs.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:56 AM
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Palo Alto is about as far from "sucky pit" as you can get, which is why some people hate it, and also because there are a lot of douchebags there. But for perfect weather (sorry, paleface) and a walkable downtown, in a great location, it's very hard to beat. Also, it costs a bajillion dollars to live there (or does now; I lived there for five years and I think my rent was never over $1600).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:56 AM
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Yeah, the problem with Palo Alto is definitely not "sucky pit." It just comes with a miasma of KILL ME QUICK.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:57 AM
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117 is right but it can also be experienced as KILL THEM QUICK.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:58 AM
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Steve Martin covered all that 25 years ago.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:59 AM
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(That said, that's also what I thought about Santa Barbara when I'd only been there a couple of times; I got over it pretty rapidly when I lived there myself under happier circumstances, and found more good stuff.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 7:59 AM
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A lot of cheaper cities have very few walkable neighborhoods and, as a result, those neighborhoods are often very expensive anyway. I think in most cases, you get a closer approximation to living in Brooklyn or Boston or San Francisco by living in a small city that's walkable (say Lancaster, Pennsylvania) then you would by living in somewhere like Cleveland.

There are some exceptions, of old but cheap cities with some affordable and walkable neighborhoods. Philadelphia and Baltimore on the east coast. Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Memphis on the Mississippi. (Post-Katrina New Orleans looks like it's too expensive to count.) Probably Pittsburg, Cincinnati, and Louisville on the Ohio. (E.g. there's a beautiful old 1700 square foot 2 story house in the Highlands in Louisville with 80 walkscore and one of the best bars in the country a few blocks away for 200K.) A big common element between a lot of the cities I just listed is high levels of violence though.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:02 AM
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Last I checked, Palo Alto real estate was more expensive per square foot than San Francisco. Which is completely insane. If I were dictator of the US, zoning in Palo Alto would be the first thing against the wall.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:03 AM
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Peninsula suburbs/exurbs once offered affordable homes to middle and working class people. Lots of local manufacturing jobs in electronics and the early computer industry.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:05 AM
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the relatively few big urban areas with very high costs of living (including fancy non-dense suburbs or whatever)

Look at the CSA maps. They stretch to some real hinterlands and include lots of common or garden lower-cost suburbs - the LA CSA has the entirety of LA County, OC, Inland Empire, and Ventura; SF's stretches east to Stockton, south to Hollister and Santa Cruz, north to Fairfield and Petaluma. I agree with your overall point that urbanity is definitely not the exception, though.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:07 AM
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Mostly my parents are sorry they sold their house there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:08 AM
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Probably Pittsburg

Keep your eyes peeled for assassins.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:08 AM
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Property price in Cleveland will go up significantly when sea levels rise 12 feet. Probably even Oklahoma City too.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:13 AM
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Walkscore has a list of places that are both walkable and affordable. Cleveland makes the list. Also, looking at this list I clearly forgot the Erie Canal on my list of old waterways. Buffalo comes in at number 1 and Rochester at 3.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:28 AM
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Buffalo and Rochester were the other towns I was thinking had to have their own versions of Shaker Heights.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:29 AM
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Also, your link is broken.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:30 AM
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Let's try that again.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:32 AM
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Buffalo is great and I'd love to live there, but still so segregated that I'm really not sure what the Shaker Heights equivalent would be.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:37 AM
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131 is a great list. Though I'm not super clear on the role walkability per se plays in the discussion. Walkability (whatever its virtues) is not equivalent to urbanity. Like, Rochester is definitely more walkable than Atlanta. But if the question is "what is a place where I can enjoy many of the advantages of a large city but at a much lower cost than New York" I'd absolutely say Atlanta instead of Rochester. I thought that was the conversation we were having but maybe not.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 8:56 AM
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Personally, I moved to a coastal city explicitly for better work than I could find in Ohio. There is good work in smaller places also, but I would prefer to live someplace where I can find other good work if my job goes awry. Smaller places are likely to be single-employer towns, effectively.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:02 AM
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127: The thing with changing climate is that you not only have to look at how high up a place is, but also whether it has the infrastructure to deal with changing climate.

Adding some additional feet to Lake Erie may or may not look like a big deal on an elevation map, but all our water infrastructure is about to fall apart as it is, and no one will pay to fix it. Increased rainfall will almost certainly increase the amount of sewage overflow in the drinking water. There are plenty of places that could flood here and no one outside the affected area would give a shit or try to help.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:06 AM
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101

If you're willing to buy a condemned, foreclosed on house in a really terrible neighborhood, you can get a house (two stories, 3+ bedrooms) in Chicago for under 50K. Possibly under 10K depending on how unlivable it is. Or at least you were in 2010.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:10 AM
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Regarding the OP and the link therein, Mark Twain's The Esquimaux Maiden's Romance has a similar moral:

[S]ince a hundred million dollars in New York and twenty-two fish-hooks on the border of the Arctic Circle represent the same financial supremacy, a man in straitened circumstances is a fool to stay in New York when he can buy ten cents' worth of fish-hooks and emigrate.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:14 AM
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My new house gets a 88 walkability score, but I am actually pretty lazy about walking now.



Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:25 AM
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E.g. there's a beautiful old 1700 square foot 2 story house in the Highlands in Louisville with 80 walkscore and one of the best bars in the country a few blocks away for 200K.

Which bar is that? (I only lived in Louisville before bar-going age.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:27 AM
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It's not true that you couldn't pay me enough to take a job in NYC -- but you'd have to pay me enough to own a second home somewhere better. And then I'd word from there a whole lot.

I'm in Portland right now, and while I had a nice walk from Chez McQ along their nice commercial strip to a nice Thai restaurant, I'm really not feeling like I wish I lived a place like this instead of the place I do live. Maybe lunch downtown will change my mind . . .?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:29 AM
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The advantages of a big city are going to be different things to different people. Walkability plays more of a role for some people than others. To me what I'm looking for is something like: the full array of ethnic restaurants (including say Ethiopian and Southern Indian, at least some of them excellent, some within walking distance, and generally with a spiciness scale that's hot enough), at least a few interesting foodie restaurants (within 30 minutes drive or 45 minutes transit), a Trader Joe's (within 30 minutes drive), a pre-prohibition-style cocktail place (walking or transit or affordable cab distance), a grocery store with good produce (within 10 minute drive), at least one excellent beer bar or brewpub within walking distance, a coffee shop (walking distance), an excellent bottle store (within 30 minute drive), enough things going on that at least once a month there's something really exciting and most weeks there's something reasonably entertaining, an arthouse cinema (30 minute drive), an airport with direct flights to all the major hubs (bonus points for flights to Europe), and a walking or bike commute to work for at least one of us.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:31 AM
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I have never heard the Cleveland Orchestra but am willing to believe they have competition even within their own state!

Back when George Szell was conducting, the Cleveland Orchestra was world-class. True, that was half a century ago, but apparently they're still considered to be one of the top 5 in the US.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:32 AM
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I certainly don't need a walk score of 90 to be happy. But once you get lower than 75 or so it would definitely affect my quality of life.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:35 AM
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Holy Grale.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:35 AM
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Yeah that all makes sense, and I appreciate how booze focused it is. Seems like you could hit that particular (nice! those sound like good amenities that everyone should want!) without needing to be in a "city" at all -- most bigger college towns would do, except on the airport criterion.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:38 AM
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Particular list


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:39 AM
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For me I'd say it doesn't feel like a "city" unless it feels like a megalopolis teeming with the flotsam and jetsam of humanity where no one cares if you live or die.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:42 AM
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102: Purchasing one would be what the CDC calls a "reportable event."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:43 AM
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I thought that was the conversation we were having but maybe not.

I think it's a little of both. I mean, if you want generic suburban living near world-class (give or take) cultural amenities, then it's just a matter of figuring out which cities have the amenities that matter most to you, and picking a suburb, because suburban NY≈suburban Chicago≈suburban OKC. But if you're looking for some degree of urban lifestyle, then walkability comes in. Hell, even if you expect personally to live suburban, a more walkable city may be part of your list of amenities: you don't care about the quality of the symphony, but you do care about going to a hip restaurant, then to an arthouse theater, then drinks, all in one urban place.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:43 AM
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(adding numbers for reference)

The advantages of a big city are going to be different things to different people. Walkability plays more of a role for some people than others. To me what I'm looking for is something like: (1)the full array of ethnic restaurants (including say Ethiopian and Southern Indian, at least some of them excellent, some within walking distance, and generally with a spiciness scale that's hot enough), (2) at least a few interesting foodie restaurants (within 30 minutes drive or 45 minutes transit), (3) a Trader Joe's (within 30 minutes drive), a (4) pre-prohibition-style cocktail place (walking or transit or affordable cab distance), a (5) grocery store with good produce (within 10 minute drive), (6) at least one excellent beer bar or brewpub within walking distance, (7) a coffee shop (walking distance), (8) an excellent bottle store (within 30 minute drive), enough things going on that (9) at least once a month there's something really exciting and most weeks there's something reasonably entertaining, (10) an arthouse cinema (30 minute drive), (11) an airport with direct flights to all the major hubs (bonus points for flights to Europe), and (12) a walking or bike commute to work for at least one of us.

In my location I can walk to (3,5,6,7, & 12), and also satisfy (8). I can also walk to places that have decent (but not pre-prohibition) cocktails, and an independent (but not exactly arthouse) cinema. The big problems are (1), (9), and (11), none of which would meet your goals.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:45 AM
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And indeed, a larger college town would be perfect. My current (not all that large) college town is quite good except: Trader Joe's is 90 minutes, Airport is almost an hour away, our good cocktail place closed (I'm optimistic there'll eventually be a replacement), and we're currently missing Ethiopian and South Indian (though we have most everything else, including some unusual ones like Burmese).

I realized two other things I forgot that are more big city specific: an apple store (within 30 minutes, ours is 90) and an NBA team (within 90 minutes, which we have).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:45 AM
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My house has a walk score of 74, but I manage. The transit score is low and I don't know why. So many buses run to Oakland that I don't even check a schedule.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:47 AM
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My neighborhood in Baltimore satisfies pretty much all of 141 and is only a few blocks away from neighborhoods that satisfy 147.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:48 AM
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As you might expect, I find this entire conversation infuriating. Yes, people have fun and sex in Cleveland. Even me!

The question, though, is do people who aren't already married have sex in Cleveland (or possibly do the married people have sex with their non-spouses in Cleveland).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:50 AM
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It's funny:By some metrics, my sojourns in Omaha were more "urban" than much of my time in mpls. My first apartment in Omaha was a once-fancy development fallen on hard times. It wasn't quite on Skid Row, but you could see it from there. And since the buses are shite in Omaha, I walked almost everywhere. Arthouse theater was not too far away, and the downtown library was well-stacked and easy to get to. So much of mpls, in contrast, is heavily suburban-influenced. And it feels like a cow town more than a lot of people would want to admit.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:50 AM
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Smaller places are likely to be single-employer towns, effectively.

I think this may be some part of the Pittsburgh story: medical behemoth aside, there's long been multiple research universities, and at some point enough spinoffs and local offices of tech giants* accumulated that, in a variety of fields, you could come to town without needing for a single position/company to work out.

AFAICT it certainly helps that the city schools are basically fine; my kids certainly have Google kids as classmates.

*I'm talking before the big Google office, when it would be 20 Apple people, 30 MSFT people, etc.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:50 AM
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Wait, what makes something a sucky pit? I thought Palo Alto sucked.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:51 AM
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I don't even know what a pre-prohibition era cocktail is, but maybe if you're at that level of precision drinking, you need to stay on the coast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:51 AM
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Walk score doesn't seem to understand my neighborhood. If I search my address it's 66. If I click on the map for my stretch of street it's 72. If I search a house 2 blocks over (3 minute walk) it's 78.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:52 AM
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I get a walk score of 70 which seems high, though I can walk to various ghetto amenities.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:56 AM
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I have everything in the list in 141, depending on what you consider "really exciting". More than half of them in the 20-minute walk radius shown on walk score, depending if you count Chipotle as ethnic- I have Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Japanese, French.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:56 AM
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155: I'm in Omaha right now. The airport lacks much choice in dining, but the airport restroom in the nicest place I've ever pissed without hiding from a docent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:58 AM
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To me what I'm looking for is something like: the full array of ethnic restaurants (including say Ethiopian and Southern Indian, at least some of them excellent, some within walking distance, and generally with a spiciness scale that's hot enough), at least a few interesting foodie restaurants (within 30 minutes drive or 45 minutes transit), a Trader Joe's (within 30 minutes drive), a pre-prohibition-style cocktail place (walking or transit or affordable cab distance), a grocery store with good produce (within 10 minute drive), at least one excellent beer bar or brewpub within walking distance, a coffee shop (walking distance), an excellent bottle store (within 30 minute drive), enough things going on that at least once a month there's something really exciting and most weeks there's something reasonably entertaining, an arthouse cinema (30 minute drive), an airport with direct flights to all the major hubs (bonus points for flights to Europe), and a walking or bike commute to work for at least one of us.

A man of simple, even monastic tastes.

I have all of those except the Trader Joe's and the prohibition-style cocktail place, I think. There probably is a cocktail place somewhere around but I don't know where it is. I may be missing a few of the "full array" of ethnic restaurants.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:00 AM
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My new town has very few good cheap ethic restearaunts around. My dinning out budget is as high as in San Francisco but for lower quality.


Posted by: Lenny caution | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:03 AM
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"Mine is a most peaceable disposition. My wishes are: a humble cottage with a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, the freshest milk and butter, flowers before my window, and a few fine trees before my door; and if God wants to make my happiness complete, he will grant me the joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those trees. Before death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all the wrong they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive one's enemies-- but not before they have been hanged."


Posted by: Opinionated Heinrich Heine | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:04 AM
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I guess I easily meet all the critetia except beer bar and coffee shop within walking distance, but that's because I am living an authentically non-white lifestyle. You can quickly walk to a terrifying not in a good way bar and a place that serves bad coffee with your donut.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:05 AM
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Embarrassingly, the Walk Score listing for my house shows a Street View of my falling-apart fence on the alley. Hilariously, it lists 3 "nearby parks", none of which is big enough to toss a baseball in and none of which is within 1/4 mile, but doesn't list the park that is, literally, contiguous with my block.

Anyway, 89 walk, 69 transit, and 66 bikeable, all of which seem right. We hit everything on 141 comfortably, with most elements much closer than required.

I scoff at their 26 minute bike ride downtown. 19:30 to PNC Park. Ha! I just looked at their map (I was curious about routes), and they would put a cyclist on what is a de facto highway into town. Meanwhile, there's a parallel route that is entirely marked and at least 50% separated lane.

Oh hey, I just found out what apartments cost in the cute little 3-story place around the corner: $865 for a 1-BR, parking included.

Ah, interesting: they rank East Liberty as the 16th most walkable neighborhood in the city. I would, uh, not agree. Some of the ones listed higher are very short on amenities; I think the algorithm isn't smart enough to distinguish between e.g. a dive bar with "cafe" in its name and an actual cafe.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:07 AM
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if you're at that level of precision drinking, you need to stay on the coast.

I can think of 2 places off the top of my head. No wait, 3. Downtown, L'ville, South Side. I'm sure there are more.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:09 AM
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Those are all much too far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:10 AM
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167.1: Real estate developers have their fingers everywhere.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:11 AM
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The Omaha airport has discovered charging $10 for a beer. Can a local answer to the Lincoln Center be far away?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:16 AM
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Anyway, way back on the OP and reactions thereto, I'm not certain that jobs are that hard a restriction on many (young) people. Granted, networking always helps, but there are myriad jobs that exist multiply in any decent-sized metro, that aren't reliant on preëxisting connections or localized knowledge. I'm thinking professional services like architecture (duh), front line medical (that is, GP or RN, not specialist or researcher), accountant.... I don't have a firm sense, but I feel as if that's surely a good chunk of white collar jobs.

Having been here since college, and so having seen a lot of people leave or contemplate doing so, ISTM that a lot of it is just anxiety about pond size: is Pittsburgh going to have enough opportunities to [be A-#1, top of the heap...]? That is, these people don't necessarily have a concrete ambition that can only be met in a world capital, there's just a vague sense that success in a place like Pittsburgh would be settling.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:19 AM
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I have all of those except the Trader Joe's...

I bet you've got an Aldi.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:19 AM
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Let's all sell our houses, quit our jobs, and move to the same, declining area of Omaha and gentrify ourselves into real estate wealth.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:19 AM
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I have 2 Aldis closer than the Trader Joe's, albeit only by 0.1 miles. Both are more pleasant walks, though.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:21 AM
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I know the manager of the one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:25 AM
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The former ass-money one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:27 AM
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I'm only cryptic when it sounds filthy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:33 AM
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It's not my fault that people give comical names to discount grocery stores.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:35 AM
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We do have an Aldi. Checking it out to see if it works as a Trader Joe's replacement is on our todo list. My recollection from the one in Getmany was that it's not exactly what we want out of Trader Joe's, but we'll see.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:36 AM
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My actual address has a walk score of 75, but the area itself, if I just put specific-London-area-where-I-live, it comes out at 90.

That said, I don't think where I live would satisfy all of the list in 141. That's because, I suppose, London is fucking big, and what you have locally depends a bit on which metropolitan centre you live near. The London Plan lists 13 metropolitan centres on top of the bit right in the middle, each of which is the size of a small to medium sized city elsewhere in the country. I live on the edge of one of those (10 minute bus ride, you can walk it in about 20 minutes). Of course, I can be in central London in about 30 minutes, so ...

Even when I lived in a very nice part of Glasgow, which was extremely walkable and had excellent bars and restaurants within a 5 minute walk, I doubt it'd hit all of 141. Although you could have gotten very drunk in lots of different ways in lots of cool places, and eaten very nice food there.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:36 AM
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I feel like I've done the intra-California version of this by leaving the coast for Sacramento, deliberately choosing convenience over top-notch. It was the right choice for me, but I wish I had bought a house with a larger yard upfront, before the housing market went crazy.

We just bought a used cargo trike from our neighbors, and I hope that it becomes the center of our lifestyle. We used the car a lot, between dog, new baby and my health difficulties. But now the dog and the baby can go in the cargo trike and I am healthy. Begone, car!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:38 AM
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182: That does sound like an appealing lifestyle.

Working in Palo Alto, with its exposure to SF, and school in Irvine with beautiful beaches so near reminded me of how nice the extra amenities are. But it also underscored how little I'm willing to spend for them in housing; I'm perfectly happy to drive a few hours a few times a year to visit.

It's amusing how many elements of 150 mere Fresno can provide. The killers are the airport connections and maybe the booze related things like pre-prohibition speakeasies--they're not my interest, so I haven't sought them myself. (OTOH, every local grocery store sells any liquor you want, so if that's what's meant by bottle store, it applies at every grocery store and convenience store in CA? I guess BevMo is a revelation to some...)


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:50 AM
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The list in 141 is so...demanding. When I was single, the list would have been a couple of decent restaurants and a grocery store. I don't mind hopping in the car for other stuff. But then you realize that other things matter, too. In our condo one town over from here, I could make a ten-minute walking round-trip to the grocery store, including shopping time. But the organic lemons were two bucks each, so that had limited utility.

With kids, everything is more complicated. Psychologically, anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:51 AM
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Kids don't know shit about cocktails. You have to cultivate that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:59 AM
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In the walkable part of Sacramento, the food is all farm-to-fork, which I enjoy but also can cook. If I want ethnic food, I have to drive out to a strip mall in the suburbs.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:02 AM
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I was trying to make a list of all the things that are important, not a minimum. I'm quite happy even though I'm missing some of those items. When thinking about moving I'd think about how many of those I'm compromising on and balancing it against quality of job and pay and whatnot.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:02 AM
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157: I think people are disputing the pit characterization.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:03 AM
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It turns out that as a loner but not a shut-in, I place a high value on what I guess I'd call ambient scenery. I don't do outdoors stuff every weekend, but I do see the hills and bay every day and my subjective enjoyment of that is a huge improvement from my experience living in places where there's great outdoors stuff but it's a drive away. I don't have to live in a city to get that, but there are cities where I won't get that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:09 AM
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I had a layover in Cincinnati or something once. Two out of three airport bars were closed at 4 p.m. I realize "flyover country" is politically incorrect, but truth is a defense.

We spent last weekend with nearly-family of Cassandane's, in Orange County. They were overwhelmed by my description of my routine. "I bike to and from work unless there's actually snow or ice on the ground, in which case I take the bus. I also take the bus if I'm going downtown after work so I can take the Metro downtown. If I'm in a big hurry, driving a rented car to work is usually a tiny bit quicker than biking. It's surprisingly cheap and easy to get a Car2Go. To go grocery shopping after work I go to four different stores depending on whether I bused or biked and what I need. For more esoteric shopping, there are even more options..."

It's a lot more complicated than the rural or suburban standard of "We drive everywhere," so I realize there are tradeoffs.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:10 AM
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I had a layover in Cincinnati or something once. Two out of three airport bars were closed at 4 p.m. I realize "flyover country" is politically incorrect, but truth is a defense.

We spent last weekend with nearly-family of Cassandane's, in Orange County. They were overwhelmed by my description of my routine. "I bike to and from work unless there's actually snow or ice on the ground, in which case I take the bus. I also take the bus if I'm going downtown after work so I can take the Metro downtown. If I'm in a big hurry, driving a rented car to work is usually a tiny bit quicker than biking. It's surprisingly cheap and easy to get a Car2Go. To go grocery shopping after work I go to four different stores depending on whether I bused or biked and what I need. For more esoteric shopping, there are even more options..."

It's a lot more complicated than the rural or suburban standard of "We drive everywhere," so I realize there are tradeoffs.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:10 AM
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re: 188

It's like Milton Keynes* (or even better, Cumbernauld*) in the sun. And since I don't particularly like the sun ...No offence to other people who like soulless near-deserts, of course.

I'm slightly exaggerating. The downtown is decent for a town that size, and I got nicely drunk there a couple of times. But it's the size of a small-ish English town, and those low houses and wide car-centric streets are not my idea of a nice place to live.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Keynes
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumbernauld


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:12 AM
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Ugh, Aldi. In my admittedly limited experience, Aldi has the same mostly-private-label quality as TJs but at lower quality and without any charm or any interesting products. A grim, unsatisfying, low-end shopping experience.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:20 AM
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190: I will gladly accept many slurs against the place I live, but inadequately hard-drinking is just not going to fly. Surely it was Indianapolis or something!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:32 AM
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I actually have zero use for TJ's, and have never understood the hype nor the love*. Don't use Aldi for much, either.

*although I guess the private label liquor in other states is a pretty good deal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:37 AM
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193: This is fairly accurate, but I have learned to love Aldi. Great bargains, and the most efficient checkout lanes in all of retail! Also, it's small and not usually that crowded, so I can let my stepdaughter roam the store without much worry.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:41 AM
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Richmond is the place you are looking for:

In a mile radius of me, I can walk to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (and the Va Historical Society), some hispanic markets, sushi, Southeast Asian food, a couple good wine places, about 10 excellent restaurants, a farmer's market, four grocery stores, several burger places, 4 or 5 Thai places, a Korean places, 3 or 4 sports bars, 2 donut shops, a cycling gym and some other box gyms, and more (dentists, eye doctors, a hospital, etc).

In a 2.5 mile radius (aka easily bikeable), there is a double the same, plus the James River (swim, fish, kayak, float, paddle board, rock hop), and a couple of parks.

Maybe we dont have super high-end restaurants, but, for $15-$25 dollar entrees, there are probably 40 very good restaurants within 5 miles of my place.

Richmond is the place to be.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:46 AM
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Richmond is the place to be.

TO POOP ON


Posted by: Opinionated Ulysees S. Grant the Insult Comic Dog | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:01 PM
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I hear that Richmond's only industry is getting divorced.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:08 PM
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197 made me curious so I googled up this tool that's useful for figuring out what's within a given radius. I would list everything within a mile of my home but this comment box would be too small.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:09 PM
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The Cincinnati Airport is in Kentucky. So, not Ohio's fault.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:13 PM
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165 "Of course it was monotonous; but the crystal happiness in our hosts was a return satisfaction for our eyes, and to have shattered it a crime. Oxford or Medina had tried to cure Nasir and me of superstitious prejudice; and had complicated us to the point of regaining simplicity. These people were achieving in our cause the height of nomadic ambition, a continued orgy of seethed mutton. My heaven might have been a lonely, soft arm-chair, a book-rest, and the complete poets, set in Caslon, printed on tough paper: but I had been for twenty-eight years well-fed, and if Arab imagination ran on food-bowls, so much the more attainable their joy. They had been provident expressly on our account. A few days before we came, a drover had guested with them; and, by Auda's order, they had bought his fifty sheep to entertain us worthily. In fifteen meals (a week) we had consumed them all, and the hospitality guttered out. Digestion returned, and with it our power of movement."


Posted by: Opinionated Lawrence of Arabia | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:14 PM
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Fifteen meals before a powerful movement? Dude, get some fiber.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:16 PM
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I guess the part of the sheep with the fiber isn't edible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:23 PM
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Richmond is, indeed, quite nice. If I decided to leave civilization, that's where I'd go.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:26 PM
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192: The only reason it even has a bit of walkable downtown is because it started as a small town. You've probably never experienced the full depths of American sprawl.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:29 PM
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||

You know what's not nice? Having reached 100 degree days and one's AC decides to give up the ghost. Fuck, why isn't it cooling? I usually have it cranked down to 63 or 64 degrees in here and it's climbing to 74 now.


|>


This is the least walkable city I've ever lived in and it's not just the heat and humidity. Abu Dhabi is actually surprisingly walkable and Dubai ain't too bad in parts. But there's an almost active hostility where there is not a complete indifference to making things walkable here.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:34 PM
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Walkscore.com is NOT a valid tool. It is glorified clickbait.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:48 PM
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The St. Louis airport is comically expensive. Like $4 Doritos/fuck you I'll eat in Pittsburgh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:52 PM
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They're offering me $300 to stay here. Only offered $250 to stay in Omaha.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 12:57 PM
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$300 and dinner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:07 PM
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Lambert International Airport -- the only airport I've slept in multiple times. (It was a TWA hub during the time when I flew space-available on Mom's passes, so I'd make it on the flight to St. Louis but then get stranded without making onto the second leg of the flight.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:11 PM
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They need to specify that the dinner is not St. Louis-style pizza.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:14 PM
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211: check out the City Museum.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:19 PM
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I'm eating at Chili's, because fuck nutrition is my new theme.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:20 PM
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Buttercup, if you're still around, where did you live in Portland? I suspect it was near me and the locale of our walk with CCarp last night (Alberta St.). Also, I can't disagree with him; all other things being equal, I might actually prefer Missoula at this point, but it's nice to have the ocean reasonably close.

I had some vain hope that the last, especially dismal, rain season would drive some people away and help to keep the cost of living down, but I doubt it. It's as expensive here as a real city.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:21 PM
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214: I don't have that kind of delay.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:21 PM
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212: Until Southwest started flying here very recently, I hadn't been here since TWA was a thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:22 PM
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The advantages of a big city are going to be different things to different people. Walkability plays more of a role for some people than others. To me what I'm looking for is something like: (1)the full array of ethnic restaurants (including say Ethiopian and Southern Indian, at least some of them excellent, some within walking distance, and generally with a spiciness scale that's hot enough), (2) at least a few interesting foodie restaurants (within 30 minutes drive or 45 minutes transit), (3) a Trader Joe's (within 30 minutes drive), a (4) pre-prohibition-style cocktail place (walking or transit or affordable cab distance), a (5) grocery store with good produce (within 10 minute drive), (6) at least one excellent beer bar or brewpub within walking distance, (7) a coffee shop (walking distance), (8) an excellent bottle store (within 30 minute drive), enough things going on that (9) at least once a month there's something really exciting and most weeks there's something reasonably entertaining, (10) an arthouse cinema (30 minute drive), (11) an airport with direct flights to all the major hubs (bonus points for flights to Europe), and (12) a walking or bike commute to work for at least one of us.

Just to play along:
1, 4, 12 - nope.

2, 3, 10, 11- 45-60 min away

5, 6, 7 - yes.
9 - yes, but I think that my friends are exciting and entertaining.

8. What is a bottle store. A liquor store but where all the liquor is in bottles?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:24 PM
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I suppose 1 and 4 are also 45-60 minutes away.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:25 PM
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Is all Texas liquor in boxes?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:26 PM
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Or bags, like milk in Canada.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:27 PM
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It's just in wooden barrels and you bring your own scoop and baggie. Why, how do you bi-coastal elites do it?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:29 PM
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Fuck, why isn't it cooling? I usually have it cranked down to 63 or 64 degrees in here

I think you answered your own question.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:31 PM
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Things listed in 141 seem to be actually pretty easy to find in college towns.


Posted by: Trivers | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 1:43 PM
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Also mostly fairly easy to find in the Westsylvanian metropolis, with the caveat that my standards are fairly weak and we don't have that many Ethiopian places. Or specifically South Indian, now that I think about it.

They really should change our city motto to "Fairly Cheap and Pretty Okay."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:02 PM
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The St. Louis Cardinals chicken is here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:10 PM
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What will that do to the cost of living?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:20 PM
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226.2 could be the next Errol Morris movie. Maybe a documentary about Aldi.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:22 PM
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I'm assuming 226 is Peduto.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:22 PM
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Or maybe Jonathan Safran Foer toning things down in the sequel.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:25 PM
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194: Heh, sorry. Could very well be. This was more than a year ago, I don't remember what city it was in.

As for the list in 141, I have every bit of that where I live, and not only that but I think every bit is within walking distance except the airport. (Some items are just barely walking distance, and I'd have to ask connoisseurs whether certain bits are up to snuff. And of course excitement is subjective. But I've got it all if I'm not too picky.) But I don't take too much advantage of most of them, and I didn't even before parenthood. Some, but not enough to justify living here just for that. I'd say that the following two points are what makes my kind of neighborhood ideal for me.

1. The combination of several factors that make car ownership optional. I can drive and I often do so enough even living where I do, it's just nice not to have to. If I owned a car I'd be lucky to change the oil half as often as I'm supposed to or pay the insurance on time because I'm bad about that kind of thing. Driving on country roads is one thing but if I commuted to work in urban or suburban conditions at all regularly I'd go nuts. Drunk driving might be an issue too.

2. The social environment, or at least, the option of it. I'm not very outgoing but I have my moments. In Vermont I just didn't have a social circle I was happy with. No doubt that was partly due to me, but also partly due to rural life. These days, if I want to meet new people I can look around Eventbrite or Meetup.com or Drinking Liberally (haven't been in a while but it helped when I first moved here). If I want to hang out with friends or co-workers, there's a dozen options to choose from. In a rural area, there would often be only one option, or none.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:28 PM
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226 was me. I need to figure out why my work desktop isn't storing my credentials.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:52 PM
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That was my second guess.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 2:58 PM
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dal, I have to talk to you about this park situation.

I think there are more South Indian places than you realize, although it's true that most are suburban. But you can get a legit dhosa at pretty much every place that's opened in the last decade.

Also, we have more Nepalese places than any of the rest of you, so suck it (ZOMG momos).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 3:31 PM
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OT: I think Ted Cruz just quit. I don't have tv access (on the tarmac at MDW), but 538 retweeted it


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:36 PM
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Not the Senate. Just the running for president.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 5:37 PM
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I live in a suburban town that likes to bill itself as "urban suburban." I think we have everything listed in 141 (including a really good Ethiopian restaurant). But we're basically in a greater metropolitan area (I can see Manhattan from my bedroom window), and it's ridiculously, I mean stupidly, expensive to live in this area. Also, I am surrounded by self-styled alterna-mommies who are actually tiger mothers in disguise: beneath the carefully-crafted veneer of artsy, lefty, bohemian whateverness, there is an energy and a drive to secure for one's own children the best possible competitive advantage (all the while pretending to disdain such crass competition, of course).

Okay, that's way too cynical and snarky, and it doesn't even apply to probably more than 50 percent of the parents with whom I regularly interact. But it's definitely a thing, a recognizable mode of being a parent, in my town.

If I could do it all over again, and because I'm fine with a long and snowy winter, I think I would choose one of three places mentioned in this thread: Buffalo, Rochester, or Minneapolis. And not only because of the cheaper housing costs, but also because I wouldn't mind living amongst people who are a little less intense.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:12 PM
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I keep meaning to try Ethiopian food but I'm afraid it won't have fries on it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:16 PM
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It doesn't, but the bread is really great.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:19 PM
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You know who has fries and good bread? The French.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:22 PM
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There are some really good Ethiopian restaurants in the region including this one in Dubai I'm planning on having dinner at this weekend.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:22 PM
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We don't have any Ethiopian restaurants here AFAIK, which is unfortunate. There is at least one east African restaurant, and there used to be two but the other one went out of business. I'm not sure where the people who run them come from. The one that's still in business serves food that seems influenced by the Middle East and I think might be Somali. The other one was quite different and might have been Kenyan or Tanzanian. Both of those seem a bit odd since most of the African immigrants here are refugees from South Sudan, but I'm pretty sure that's not the origin of the people running either restaurant.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:22 PM
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241: The fries are actually Belgian, you know.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:23 PM
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And Ethiopian bread is about as different as it's possible to get from French bread while still remaining within the category "bread."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:24 PM
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Francophones all. Except those that aren't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:24 PM
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Moby Hick: objectively pro-Walloon.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:25 PM
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Anyway, Ethiopian food really is great. You should try it sometime.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:26 PM
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Only because I learned there was no place called "Flem".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:27 PM
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The only Ethiopian restaurant I know of is right next to Kelly's. If I go that far (about three miles), I tend to just go to Kelly's because I already know what they have and that it includes fries.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:30 PM
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You should try it Moby, it goes great with beer.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:32 PM
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I'm not sure if they serve beer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:37 PM
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You should go, Moby. It's good stuff.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:42 PM
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I tend to just go to Kelly's because I already know what they have and that it includes fries.

I hear you; I think I know what they have too. And I will never respect a Kelly who doesn't serve up a decent mess of potatoes, whether baked, mashed, or French-fried.

But Ethiopian food can be really quite astonishingly good. No taters, but the bread is delicious.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 9:47 PM
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Fries? At Kelly's you get the mac and cheese, you maniac. It comes in a crock with tabasco sauce.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:11 PM
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I've never ordered mac and cheese when dining out. I'm afraid Annie will hunt me down.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:17 PM
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Me either, until friends told me to do so at Kelly's.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:19 PM
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Fine. I'll try new things when I get the chance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:27 PM
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255: Well, sure, you might order the mac and cheese, but would you like some fries with that?

I almost never order mac and cheese at a restaurant, because frankly, and not to brag, my homemade mac and cheese is probably going to taste better. None of this three- or four-cheese gourmet nonsense, btw: just a good Canadian cheddar goes into the sauce, and maybe some Parmesan mixed with butter and bread crumbs for the topping. I also don't do that mix-in-some-tomatoes variation: if you want a tomato, please have it on the side.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 10:39 PM
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I'm glad Unf'tarian wasn't forced to live in America in the 1970s. Yeah, we ate cardboard fried in lard, between pieces of wonder bread. And liked it. Jello with baby marshmallows for dessert.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:15 PM
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professional writers, which is one of the jobs least tied to a specific location in the internet age

and yet in which the career is most dependent on social networks that are firmly centered in new york, per bookslut:

"I didn't work in publishing, I lived in fucking Texas, and I had no connection to the literary scene at all."


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:34 PM
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Also, I am surrounded by self-styled alterna-mommies who are actually tiger mothers in disguise

What are the fathers like? Sincere question.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 3-16 11:44 PM
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The fathers are hawks in disguise. Tragically they only remove their disguises at night.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 1:50 AM
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Only because I learned there was no place called "Flem".

On the other hand, the Portuguese for Dutch cheese is "flamingo", which is a good reason to favour it in Portuguese speaking counties.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 3:25 AM
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Also, I am surrounded by self-styled alterna-mommies who are actually tiger mothers in disguise: beneath the carefully-crafted veneer of artsy, lefty, bohemian whateverness, there is an energy and a drive to secure for one's own children the best possible competitive advantage (all the while pretending to disdain such crass competition, of course).

Oh this is absolutely a thing. I think more or less the default among a lot of the people near me, too. My wife and I went for a picnic with a couple of our friends, plus a bunch of their parent friends (who they know because their kids are friends at school), and they were all superficially mellow lefty types, but actually ferocious snob arseholes of exactly the 'maximum sharp elbows' type.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 3:33 AM
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264: and the Parisian for "female traffic warden" used to be "aubergine" but they changed the uniforms and now they're called "pervenches" - "periwinkles". (The flower, not the mollusc.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 3:43 AM
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Great, I spent the last of the week's grocery money yesterday and now all I want is Ethiopian food.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 4:58 AM
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260: My parent always insisted on whole wheat bread even in the 70s.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 5:02 AM
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Lard is a delicious fry oil.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 7:13 AM
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...except Shaker Heights doesn't have excellent schools. They have slightly above average schools for Cuyahoga County. *sad trombone*

Even in the grade-inflated Ohio Department of Education stats, they don't do well. "C" for overall performance. "F" in many of the progress measures."D" in K-3 literacy.


Posted by: Lurker Jim | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 7:13 AM
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So what's the elite high school there? Did it used to be Shaker Heights?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 7:43 AM
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I'm stunned that Moby's never had Kelly's legendary mac n cheese.

Also, Tana has a full bar, including a decent variety of beer, Ethiopian and not. I did the facade as more or less my first project under my own practice.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 7:57 AM
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235: Your park? I've been trying to follow it, but what a mess it's been.

I've also never tried Ethiopian food, but it's on the things-to-do list. 239 does make me wonder if the country is ready for Ethiopian/Yinzer fusion cuisine.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 7:57 AM
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It's just so far away for getting home after drinking. Maybe I should try for lunch at Tana. Just shoot over from the office.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 7:59 AM
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Lyin' Ted dropped out. Sad!


Posted by: Opinionated Donald Trump | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 8:02 AM
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There isn't one, really. I mean, the schools there aren't bad, but they've never been fantastic. It's probably just that the boatload of famous people from Shaker make you think it's a success story for public education, but in reality, they almost all went to Laurel or Hathaway Brown or University School or any of the other expensive private schools in the area.


Posted by: Lurker Jim | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 8:04 AM
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the boatload of famous people from Shaker make you think it's a success story

Yeah, I think that's it in my case.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 4-16 9:57 AM
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Oh hey, a relevant article in the local paper. The subject is a study that says that the combination of retirements, job growth, and net migration rates, there's an annual shortfall of 8,000 jobs/year projected here over the next 10 years. They say there's a mismatch between what local colleges are teaching and what the local jobs are, such that grads can't find local work and businesses can't find local grads. The solution to that, obv., is non-local grads, but

Pittsburgh has dropped its median age by three years, thanks to an influx of millennial workers attracted by jobs and by the "buzz" the city has generated, Mr. Yablonsky said. "The buzz about Pittsburgh is helping, and we're seeing the results," he said.

James Reddish, an associate director at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, said he's found that Pittsburgh is gaining a reputation nationally as an attractive place to live and work. Still, "if you're not Austin, Portland or San Francisco, no one's going to move without a job. No one's going to move to Pittsburgh and sleep on a couch for six months and hope to find a job."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-16 5:08 AM
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I don't know if this goes here or in the bathroom thread, but if you read just one link today, read this one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-16 5:32 AM
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I bet if word gets out that we had this, people will come even if they have to sleep curled on a loveseat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-16 5:37 AM
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