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Old 12-28-2011, 05:44 AM
 
Location: Chicago
1,312 posts, read 1,581,714 times
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Or is it? I don't know. That's what this thread is for.

Threads on the forums often put cities up against other cities, and more times than not people start comparing apples to oranges to bananas. People end up talking about different things rather than making apples to apples comparisons.

So, how about a different take on the "Best" cities in America?

The categories I'm offering up can (and will?) award various cities across America, and not necessarily the traditional cities (NYC, LA, Chicago), the title of "Best".

For "Best", it is still subjective and open to debate. Anything can go into making something the "Best". Transit, stores, restaurants, entertainment, recreation, work environment, parks, education, sports, lack of crime, etc. Once again, anything can go into making something the "Best", but it is up to you to provide the info, experiences, photos, etc. to back up your assertion.



1. What city is the "Best" at the epicenter of it's numbering system (0 N, 0 E, 0 S, and 0 W)?

2. What city has the "Best" Downtown (using the city's defined borders of "Downtown")?

3. What city has the "Best" square mile (You provide an area of the city, and the bordering streets, that is one square mile. It's your choice of where/what square mile is used)?

4. What city is the "Best" inside it's legal boundaries (Arbitrary or not, nothing outside of legal city limits is considered for this one)?

5. What city is the "Best" at the MSA level?

6. What city is the "Best" at the CSA level?




I think using those criteria for a standard comparison gives us:

Apple stems to Apple stems.
Apple cores to Apple cores.
Apples to Apples.
Basket of Apples to Basket of Apples.
Apple Trees to Apple Trees.
Apple Orchards to Apple Orchards.

#5 and #6 could get a little hazy, but #1-#4 is clear cut in terms of where something is and is not.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:36 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,423 posts, read 18,320,690 times
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I'm glad someone else thinks NYC isn't the be all, end all. I use to love it, I've pretty much gotten over it though. Mega cities are more hastle than they're worth IMO. With all that said, this is all very very subjective of course, so I'll offer opinions and that's all they are...opinions which of course are not absolute for anyone.

1. What city is the "Best" at the epicenter of it's numbering system (0 N, 0 E, 0 S, and 0 W)?
Doesn't get any easier than Salt Lake City's grid pattern. You always know how far away and what direction Temple Square is.

2. What city has the "Best" Downtown (using the city's defined borders of "Downtown")?
I really like downtown Portland a lot. I like the short blocks, the central civic space of Pioneer Courthouse Square, the bridges, the light rail and street cars, the character of downtowns different districts, and easy access to all the parkland. Downtown Portland is very stimulating and fairly large without being too much of a hastle or ratrace. Seattle's a good one too. Pike Place Market being the heart and soul of downtown, probably the best quality public market and food vendors I've seen in any downtown. Yeah the Pac NW cities have the best downtowns IMO.

3. What city has the "Best" square mile (You provide an area of the city, and the bordering streets, that is one square mile. It's your choice of where/what square mile is used)?
San Francisco, somewhere around Chinatown & Union Sqaure.

4. What city is the "Best" inside it's legal boundaries (Arbitrary or not, nothing outside of legal city limits is considered for this one)? San Francisco, everything my heart desires for urban ammenities in a compact area.

5. What city is the "Best" at the MSA level?
Boston, I really love Boston's suburbs.They were towns before they were suburbs so they actually have some character and avoided the traqct housing cookie cutter route. Many of them (like where I live in Salem) have so much historic interest, great walkable downtowns, interesting museums, and nice restaurants & small busienesses that I don't feel the need to go into to Boston to have a good night on the town.

6. What city is the "Best" at the CSA level?
Baltimore-Washington. Two major cities with two very different dynamics and character less than 50 miles away from eachother along with some of America's best and most desirable suburbs and edge cities.

Last edited by Desert_SW_77; 12-28-2011 at 02:50 PM..
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:42 AM
 
Location: Chicago
1,312 posts, read 1,581,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
I'm glad someone else thinks NYC isn't the be all, end all. I use to love it, I've pretty much gotten over it though. Mega cities are more hastle than they're worth IMO. With all that said, this is all very very subjective of course, so I'll offer opinions and that's all they are...opinions which of course are not absolute for anyone...

The sum of its parts are. I don't think there's any doubt that from a CSA point of view that NYC is the best. Absolutely anything for anyone.

It's when you start to boil it down to smaller parts, then other cities/towns can offer similar things.

Does NYC even have a 0 N, 0 E, 0 S, 0 W intersection? I did a few minutes of googling and couldn't find anything conclusive. And if there is no such thing, then it would be impossible for NYC to claim it has the best starting point for a numbering system.

I'm inclined to say that Chicago has the best "0" intersection in the country. The Red Line is right there. As well as bus stops, cool buildings in any direction you look, a couple places to eat.

But then again, Washington Street and Meridian Street in Indianapolis does offer a great view of Monument Circle and the Arts Garden. There is a bus stop, a place or two to eat, and a couple stores.

*IF* the start of Indy's numbering system was Monument Circle, I would say that's the best, but since it is one block South, I'm going with State St. and Madison Ave. in Chicago. I like intersections that can take me places. And I can do just that with the Red Line.

As far as giving streets that make up a square mile boundry, I will say Indianapolis.

What is located on, or inside the boundaries of North St., East St., South St., and West St. can provide pretty much anything you could want:

Restaurants
Shopping
Hotels
Monuments & Memorials
Parks
Eiteljorg Museum
Start of the IUPUI campus
Convention Center
State Capitol building
Churches
Victory Field (baseball)
Conseco Fieldhouse (basketball)
Lucas Oil Stadium (football)
Union Station (Amtrack/Greyhound)
The Murat (great concert venue)
Mass Ave. (part of it)
The Canal Walk (part of it)
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:05 AM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,423 posts, read 18,320,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A2DAC1985 View Post
The sum of its parts are. I don't think there's any doubt that from a CSA point of view that NYC is the best. Absolutely anything for anyone.
But it's not for me, and NYC is not for everyone either. Sure the measure of quantity and quality delivers through and through. But break it down a little more and for some its just too much. And aesthetically it’s just not my kind of City/MSA/CSA at any capacity. And from a CSA standpoint I can't stand driving within a 50 mile radius of it. I get white knuckles starting in Connecticut, and I'm a seasoned urban driver. There’s just too much density and crowds and too expensive. I realize NYC is the Holy Grail for C-D, but I feel differently. I'm not saying it’s a cesspool; there are some things I still like about it. It's just not the best in my fair and honest opinion; I really can’t deal with being there for any more than 48 hours. The cities out west juxtaposed with superlative topography and space impress me more. So back to the point, it's all subjective as many or perhaps even most would disagree with me, but not all would. I mean you are asking the questions based upon What is best. That in turn will get opinion not factually based responses.

I re-read your OP and perhaps understood your premise a bit more. So now rethinking Question one which I answered based on assumption of the most logical street grid (Salt Lake City was the easy answer for that) rather than focusing on the quality that's delivered at the very epicenter, I would agree with Monument Circle in Indianapolis based on the design of the grid itself and how the city seems to revolve around that very epicenter and the quality of amenities right around it (certainly beats Temple Square in SLC).

Last edited by Desert_SW_77; 12-29-2011 at 06:32 AM..
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:20 PM
 
2,248 posts, read 6,205,748 times
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Interesting thread. I'll take a stab at it.

1. What city is the "Best" at the epicenter of it's numbering system (0 N, 0 E, 0 S, and 0 W)?
New York. Where the grid takes hold at Houston and Bowery is centrally located to both the Financial District and Midtown.

2. What city has the "Best" Downtown (using the city's defined borders of "Downtown")?
Again, probably New York, although I'm interpreting downtown to be the dominant central business district, which would actually be Midtown.

3. What city has the "Best" square mile (You provide an area of the city, and the bordering streets, that is one square mile. It's your choice of where/what square mile is used)?
Hate to sound like a broken record, but New York. Center the mile at Bryant Park and that covers a good chunk of Midtown.

4. What city is the "Best" inside it's legal boundaries (Arbitrary or not, nothing outside of legal city limits is considered for this one)?
New York, simply due to the sheer amount of variety. Skyscrapers, rowhouses, tenements, single-family homes, McMansions, and even a trailer park (on Staten Island).

5. What city is the "Best" at the MSA level?
Honestly, I'd have to say New York. There are numerous other fine cities like Newark and Jersey City within arm's reach.

6. What city is the "Best" at the CSA level?
Definitely New York. It's not for everyone...just the majority of people.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:06 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,226 posts, read 19,525,937 times
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The OP uses the term "Best" more than ten times and expects an answer other than NYC? Yeah, let's get real.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:12 PM
 
9,382 posts, read 9,532,267 times
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Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
The OP uses the term "Best" more than ten times and expects an answer other than NYC? Yeah, let's get real.
People have differnent OPINIONS and these areas are subjective.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
12,199 posts, read 10,409,482 times
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1. What city is the "Best" at the epicenter of it's numbering system:
If we can choose a borough only, Manhattan. But Brooklyn and especially Queens kill off any logic when the entire city is concerned.

2. What city has the "Best" Downtown?
Chicago. Seattle has a nice one as well.

3. What city has the "Best" square mile?
Midtown Manhattan, from 42nd street to the southern border of Central Park.

4. What city is the "Best" inside it's legal boundaries?
New York.

5. What city is the "Best" at the MSA level?
Tough call between the Bay Area and Philadelphia. I'd say Philly due to the charming older towns, especially on the Thorndale line.

6. What city is the "Best" at the CSA level?
SF Bay Area
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:59 AM
 
Location: Chicago
1,312 posts, read 1,581,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colts View Post
...4. What city is the "Best" inside it's legal boundaries (Arbitrary or not, nothing outside of legal city limits is considered for this one)?
New York, simply due to the sheer amount of variety. Skyscrapers, rowhouses, tenements, single-family homes, McMansions, and even a trailer park (on Staten Island)...
You know, New Jersey isn't part of "legal" NYC, right?

For the city itself, I'm going to say Chicago. You don't have to travel to another state, or even another city/suburb, to watch their professional teams play. They're all within the city borders.

As well as O'Hare and Midway airport.

It seems to me that New York relies too much on New Jersey to help round out the things that NYC legal boundaries can't hold. Chicago has made deliberate actions and efforts to keep all the elements of a "City" inside the city.

New York City, on the other hand, due to land limitations and current use of land, has some of its "City" elements outside the city.

But then consider the MSA and CSA, I think that New York does come out on top there.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Chicago
1,312 posts, read 1,581,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
But it's not for me, and NYC is not for everyone either. Sure the measure of quantity and quality delivers through and through... from a CSA standpoint I can't stand driving within a 50 mile radius of it. I get white knuckles starting in Connecticut, and I'm a seasoned urban driver. There’s just too much density and crowds and too expensive. I realize NYC is the Holy Grail for C-D, but I feel differently... So back to the point, it's all subjective as many or perhaps even most would disagree with me, but not all would. I mean you are asking the questions based upon What is best. That in turn will get opinion not factually based responses...
I get what you're saying. I don't know if I could live in NYC for many, if not all, the reasons you stated, but I still hold the belief that at the end of the day, NYC is going to offer more things that would appeal to more people, than any other city (in America) on the MSA and CSA level. More restuarants, hotels, stores, shoppes, pro sports, transit options, buildings, etc, etc, etc. Do those things equate to a rating of "best" to you personally? Maybe. Maybe not.

I would like to quote a co-worker of mine talking about Chicago (I believe this can be applied to NYC as well), "If you can't find anything to like, there's nothing wrong with the city, there's something wrong with you."

And just to reiterate: I feel pretty much the same exact way you do .
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