Thursday, January 08, 2009


I actually saw a work men's crew filling in a pothole today on my main road in my neighborhood.  "Hey there!  Watch the paht-hole!" they cautioned as I crossed by on my commute.

I feel like potholes are the thing that cantankerous city-dwellers always complain about and never get fixed.  In New York City they certainly didn't fix them.  Most walkers never would notice since they're easy enough to see and walk around, except of course when they filled with rain water, but as a biker in New York you notice.   And especially when you're riding a 50's cruiser bike through midtown with an old-school basket holding your CD collection on the way to a gig.  And most definitely when you're a driver (though potholes paled in comparison to jaywalkers, one-way streets and cabbies).

Potholes are part of New York's charm.  It adds to the grittiness that New Yorkers love and see slipping away as 42nd street is Disnefied and Alphabet City is more and more Sesame Street friendly.  Ask a New Yorker why potholes don't get fixed and they'd probably tell you to love it or leave it.

But Boston tries to win you over.  Paving pot holes, genuinely apologetic voices from the train conductor when the train is late, countless community gardens, a dozen public ice rinks and folks that excuse themselves when they squeeze themselves next to you on the train.  I love it.  Have I become soft?  Jaded by the self-absorption of all the other cities I've lived in (probably deserved, I admit) and tired of the perfection of LA and the perceived-perfection of grit in NYC?  The laissez faire of everything in Miami?  The self-important politicos of DC?

Is it time for me to settle down?  I think I could not have picked a better place.  Boston is a city that actually wants you.  Their population has shrunk over the last century and the state laments the potential loss of a representative in congress this year.  So many things are meant for sharing here--the gardens, co-ops, large multi-bedroom apartments, zip cars, neighborhood associations. 

And with the disappearance of potholes in my neighborhood, I might just be getting a little comfy.

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