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Old 08-26-2015, 10:01 AM
 
7,593 posts, read 9,444,553 times
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True statement, or not? I'm paraphrasing a nationally-syndicated columnist and published author who has traversed around the country to describe life in each of the 50 states. And since Illinois has a major US city, is a major manufacturing state as well as a major agricultural state, a supremely important transportation hub, located in the middle of the country, and was the destination of major European immigration and south-to-north migration, would you agree?
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Completely disagree. It's the same line of "Chicago is the best city in the US"

Chicago is OK -- It's a big city with a lot of economic development, mostly-affordable cost of living, a good public transportation system, along with big dining and entertainment. On the flip side, there's a huge amount of violence in the city and many quickly forget that a world exists outside of the boundaries.

A significant amount of space in the US is farm land. The population may be centered around large cities, but the country as a whole is better represented by smaller cities, surrounded by Ag.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Central IL
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Chicago IS unique...it is truly a large metropolitan city, the only one in the midwest. And it has a definite feel that is different from anything from on the east coast, west coast, or the larger cities in Texas.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:56 AM
 
9,701 posts, read 7,244,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
Completely disagree. It's the same line of "Chicago is the best city in the US"

Chicago is OK -- It's a big city with a lot of economic development, mostly-affordable cost of living, a good public transportation system, along with big dining and entertainment. On the flip side, there's a huge amount of violence in the city and many quickly forget that a world exists outside of the boundaries.

A significant amount of space in the US is farm land. The population may be centered around large cities, but the country as a whole is better represented by smaller cities, surrounded by Ag.
Doesn't your response basically contradict your initial statement? You say that Chicago isn't representative of America, then you list all the ways Chicago is indeed representative of America.
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Old 08-26-2015, 11:20 AM
 
2,256 posts, read 5,842,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
Chicago IS unique...it is truly a large metropolitan city, the only one in the midwest. And it has a definite feel that is different from anything from on the east coast, west coast, or the larger cities in Texas.
Its unique, and so are many other places in the U.S. For someone wanting to truly know America, getting to know Chicago would be a component of that. I wouldnt say you could just visit Chicago and fully understand America however. Its way too vast for that.

I would say you also cant understand America without getting to know suburbia. Or a bleak Motel 6 off the interstate. Or the west texas border country. Or Flint Michigan. Or people watching on Freemont Street in Las Vegas. Or watching a sunrise in Death Valley. Or Beverly Hills. Or a cattle auction in Iowa. Or sitting in on a mega church service in the deep south. Or eating fresh rainier cherries in Washington. Or camping in the foothills of the Tetons. Or watching a shuttle launch from the hood of a parked car.

The quote is a platitude, and is as true and not true as anywhere else you could randomly want to pick.

Last edited by via chicago; 08-26-2015 at 11:32 AM..
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Old 08-26-2015, 11:53 AM
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
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I think the same could be said for any number of large American cities and especially the unofficial regional "capitals" of the U.S. - Boston, Atlanta, LA, New York, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
Completely disagree. It's the same line of "Chicago is the best city in the US"

Chicago is OK -- It's a big city with a lot of economic development, mostly-affordable cost of living, a good public transportation system, along with big dining and entertainment. On the flip side, there's a huge amount of violence in the city and many quickly forget that a world exists outside of the boundaries.
Most major cities are provincial. America is a violent place compared to the rest of the developed world. Understanding what drives that in Chicago goes at least part way toward understanding what drives that in the U.S. as a whole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
A significant amount of space in the US is farm land. The population may be centered around large cities, but the country as a whole is better represented by smaller cities, surrounded by Ag.
The country is represented by the people, so if most people don't live in small towns, you can't draw a true representation of a place by focusing on where the people aren't.

That would be like saying "Russia is best represented by Siberia." It's not. Siberia certainly informs the Russian psyche, and plays a role in Russian identity and culture, but it is not the most holistic representation of Russia by a long shot. And neither are small American towns. They play a role, but are not in any real way dominant in their relation to American culture.
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Old 08-26-2015, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
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A lot of people in the US don't really know Chicago - I think it's important in US history, but you don't necessarily need to know it to know America.
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Old 08-26-2015, 03:59 PM
 
3,412 posts, read 3,543,086 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Most major cities are provincial. America is a violent place compared to the rest of the developed world. Understanding what drives that in Chicago goes at least part way toward understanding what drives that in the U.S. as a whole.
Very true.
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Old 08-26-2015, 06:41 PM
 
Location: East Central Pennsylvania/ Chicago for 6yrs.
2,539 posts, read 2,462,884 times
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It is just TOO STRONG a comment to say "If you don't know Chicago, you don't know America". Just too demanding and bound to infuriate others.

But I do believe that CHICAGO DOES FIT. For a title of being... "The Most American City"
It's middle America with a strong immigrant history, key transportation center and industrial base with a totally American layout, housing styles and its Downtown. Both good and bad of America.

Its emergence as a big city. Predated Urban Sprawl. Its Bungalow belt beginning in 1910 were AMERICAN Frank Lloyd Wright inspired in its Architecture. Unlike Eastern Row homes that were British in original style. Someone on C-D once labeled its Bungalow belt..."Quasi-American" or a Pre-suburban sprawl style.

Also the standard set-backs with front lawns. Was a NEW STYLE for a evolving Middle-class. Built with full basements and Central heating systems and full alleyway system where most built Garages. If not at first. Added them as the automobile became a American standard. No one sees Chicago housing and thinks European inspired????

Not meant to slight of lessen NYC as a American/World's city or even LA with its American image to the world.

Just Chicago encompasses aspects of it all. I expect some to totally disagree. Some will say it's not the only city. But I believe Chicago is the... "Quintessential American City".
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:45 AM
 
Location: Chicago
5,853 posts, read 6,524,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steeps View Post
It is just TOO STRONG a comment to say "If you don't know Chicago, you don't know America". Just too demanding and bound to infuriate others.

But I do believe that CHICAGO DOES FIT. For a title of being... "The Most American City"
It's middle America with a strong immigrant history, key transportation center and industrial base with a totally American layout, housing styles and its Downtown. Both good and bad of America.

Its emergence as a big city. Predated Urban Sprawl. Its Bungalow belt beginning in 1910 were AMERICAN Frank Lloyd Wright inspired in its Architecture. Unlike Eastern Row homes that were British in original style. Someone on C-D once labeled its Bungalow belt..."Quasi-American" or a Pre-suburban sprawl style.

Also the standard set-backs with front lawns. Was a NEW STYLE for a evolving Middle-class. Built with full basements and Central heating systems and full alleyway system where most built Garages. If not at first. Added them as the automobile became a American standard. No one sees Chicago housing and thinks European inspired????

Not meant to slight of lessen NYC as a American/World's city or even LA with its American image to the world.

Just Chicago encompasses aspects of it all. I expect some to totally disagree. Some will say it's not the only city. But I believe Chicago is the... "Quintessential American City".
what makes Chicago different is how it is a product of the United States, a city of the American era and the city that best exemplifies America of the 19th century, the time the nation came into its own. Boston and Philadelphia were created by the English, New York the Dutch, the New Orleans the French, San Francisco the Spanish. Chicago is pure American, a US city by birth. It isn't by accident that Chicago is known "the great American city."

I quote Norman Mailer: "New York is one of the capitals of the world and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic, San Francisco is a lady, Boston has become Urban Renewal, Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington blink like dull diamonds in the smog of Eastern Megalopolis, and New Orleans is unremarkable past the French Quarter. Detroit is a one-trade town, Pittsburgh has lost its golden triangle, St Louis has become the golden arch of the corporation, and nights in Kansas City close early. The oil depletion allowance makes Houston and Dallas naught but checkerboards for this sort of game. But Chicago is a great American city. Perhaps it is the last of the great American cities."
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