Friday, May 20, 2016

"Fourth City" just doesn't sound right


     "Third City." Chicago hasn't quite wrapped its head around that one yet, have we?
     "The Third Coast," yes. Particularly the fine Thomas Dyja history of Chicago of that name. Read it; you'll be glad you did.
     Otherwise, "Third Coast" is a bit shared, a bit greasy, like one of those loaner jackets at a fancy restaurant: too many other folks slip it on for anyone to be comfortable in it. Lots of cities on the Great Lakes use the "Third Coast" moniker. Cleveland has a number of "Third Coast" businesses. Milwaukee too.
     To be honest, Chicago is still leaving claw marks on "Second City." We were second in the United States in population for so long, starting in 1890 and for most of the 20th century, following New York, which was humiliation aplenty. We got used to it, with a little brother swagger. New York was so far ahead, almost triple the population, there was no hope of catching up. So we might as well turn the silver consolation prize into a point of pride.
    Then Los Angeles scooted past us in — wait for it — 1982, which shows you just how hard we cling to former glory. We ignored the shift out of ego and because Los Angeles really isn't a city at all, not a proper one but a vast agglomeration of contiguous places....

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6 comments:

  1. What a hit! Poor Rahm. Gobsmacked in the middle of a statistical analysis. In my travels through Trollopia, I just happen to now be reading the description of his trip through the U.S. and Canada in 1861. Chicago at that time was probably the 7th or 8th City, but it was thriving and growing and according to Trollope destined for great things. Alas, those throbbing young arteries have calcified and those youthful ambitions have wafted away. We may not yet be ready for the grave, but it might be wise to call in the priest just in case -- a few prayers can't hurt.

    john

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  2. This will undoubtedly be grist for a million political cheap shots.

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  3. Based on all the traffic problems, I don't believe the numbers.
    They're not counting the illegals!

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  4. You have a point there, Clark.

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  5. Chin up, Chicago. Houston is a tough act to beat. The most diverse city in america, zero attitude, plenty of jobs, awesome food, no majority racial or ethnic group, pragmatic and functional city government, and and a dag to day level of civility and friendliness August this transplanted Yankee couldn't believe was real when I got here 12 years ago. Plus while the weather could be better, you never gave to shovel humidity. Come on down and see!

    PS here in the Houston proper we don't much like Cruz either.

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  6. True, humidity is better than snow and ice.

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