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Old 09-17-2016, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,552 posts, read 3,640,935 times
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I thought this would be an interesting thread. Not only are these two regions on complete opposite corners of the country, but I can't think of any two American regions more different than each other at eye-level. I thought it may be interesting to compare similarities and differences between the two regions, to see if they are as different as they appear to be, or have more similarities than we might be aware of?

Politics?
Taxes?
COL?
Cuisine?
Lifestyle (common outdoor activities, regional traditions, etc.)?
Culture? (i.e. more emphasis in sports/art, etc.?)
City structure?
History? (how history shaped the areas, so on)
Social behaviors?
Economies?
Demographics?
Really any sort of defining factor or characteristic of these regions

For the sake of clarification, these regions will be defined as NEW ENGLAND and ARIZONA/NEW MEXICO/WEST TEXAS (El Paso region).

Also, this is NOT a which region is better thread. So thus there will not be a poll. Besides I'm pretty sure New England would be more of people's favorites anyway, if I had to take a guess. This is just a similarities/differences thread. I'll make a post after this one outlining what I know of the Southwest to get a discussion going, it may take me some time. Hopefully someone with New England experience (never been there) will be able to make a compare and contrast of my post.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:15 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,094 posts, read 22,952,534 times
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Um, any this vs. that thread is of course, a "which is better" thread.

My take is that the SW wins on weather if nothing else, which you did not include. The NE has humid summers and freezing winters which I would not want to endure. I've traveled there, though I'm from the west coast, and I know that whatever it might have to offer (the East Coast), I would not be happy with the weather.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,552 posts, read 3,640,935 times
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What I will be writing below will mostly reflect Arizona as this is the state I live in. While New Mexico, Arizona, and West Texas are probably more similar to each other than any other significant areas, they do share minor differences, most noticeably in cuisine, demographics, and politics/taxes.

COL: The Southwest, for the most part, is historically cheaper than the nation on average. There are exceptions to this rule, generally the places in the Southwest with the best weather... as the Southwest is very climatically diverse. Cities, off the top of my head that I think have good weather, are Flagstaff, Sedona, ABQ, and Santa Fe... While Albuquerque falls about right at the average COL mark, the other three are very expensive. Cities in the Southwest with HOT weather are usually very cheap, think Yuma, Tucson, Phoenix, Las Cruces, El Paso (I'm on the fence on whether El Paso is hot or not, summers are quite literally at the benchmark for me there) and so on.

Cuisine: As stated previously, the Southwest has very unique cuisine and has plenty of regional variation. While the general concept between Mexican food of these areas are similar, and you CAN find Tex-Mex, Sonoran, and New Mexican foods in all three areas, they do have important differences. The biggest differences between the three cuisines are the use of spices, salsas, and condiments. Tex-Mex is known to be a heavy user of condiments (think cheese, guacamole, sour cream, etc.). Tex-Mex is also known for deep-frying (in Sonoran and New Mexican deep-fried foods are not very common, except for the chimichanga which was invented in Tucson). Sonoran and Tex-Mex are used to using "red chile" rather than New Mexican's trademark "green chile". New Mexican also has more Native American influence on their cuisine, such as Navajo tacos (best thing ever by the way). Sonoran food arguably has beans a lot more common in the cuisine than I have seen in the others, arguably because beans grow very well in the blazing Sonora (hottest of all three regions) and the Tohono O'odham (most prominent NA tribe in southern Arizona) are known for this. Sonoran food, as far as I'm experienced, also has cacti in their meals from time to time (cactus honey--usually from saguaros, prickly pear fruit which is also the best thing ever) and other irregular things like the occasional scorpion (yes, you can eat them) and rattlesnake. New Mexican food also had more pork in entree options from my experience of going to Santa Fe.

Lifestyle: Roughly 80% of the time here in the Southwest, weather is tolerable for outdoor activities. Mountains provide the best recreation and since most of the mountains are of a different climate than their habitable bases, they provide mini-vacations for us desert folk. Tucson has the southernmost skiing resort in North America, so skiing can be done in the majority of the Southwest. Hiking is the best and most common outdoor activity that is done here.

City structure: The Southwest is mostly sprawling, as we have plenty of flat land (and without forests, no trees to take down either) to build upon. Santa Fe was the biggest Spanish outpost as far as I know in this region, and DT Santa Fe best outlines Spanish colonial design. Here in Tucson (furthest north the Spanish ever got in Arizona), old buildings have mostly been bungalows from the turn of the 20th century ranging from adobe to craftsman bungalow to Mediterranean design, all on smallish city lots and hovering around 1000-1500 square feet. Roads were traditionally not very grid-like and wasn't until heavy investment in our region in modern times where grid roads became common.

History: I'll have to get onto this one later, it'll take too much time.

Social behaviors: In Phoenix, people are fairly anti-social and not very welcoming of strangers. This isn't the same in Tucson where people are a lot friendlier to strangers. The Southwest, as a whole, is very family-oriented. Even in Phoenix which culturally is not Southwestern at all. People tend to get married and have kids at young ages (early 20s) here and they tend to have at least two kids. Social activities seem to revolve around the family or what can be done with the family.

Economies: Back in the day cities really came about from either farming, logistics, or mining (also I'm noting this because I may bring it up later, led to differences in city structure as well). Arizona follows the 5 Cs (climate, citrus, cattle, copper, and cotton) which is our historical and in many ways still the leading drives of our economy. While Arizona has been moving towards a more service-oriented economy, we still are mostly led by the 5 Cs especially Climate these days because people keep moving here. New Mexico, while having these similarities, is slightly different. New Mexico has O&G in its Eastern side which drives a lot of its economy (O&G is not big here in AZ) along with more government positions especially in scientific research. Southern Arizona is also a big military installment for mostly the Airforce and private aerospace research. While I don't know much about West Texas, what I do know is El Paso is a big logistics hub and probably does more with trading than the other two.

Demographics: The Southwest is minority-majority, except a few places (most of which are in Arizona because of Arizona's history, I'll get to that later). New Mexico has a higher prevalence of Native Americans despite Arizona having more Native American reservation land (25% of Arizona).

I don't claim to be 100% factual on the things I say, it's mostly based on anecdotal experience of living here and what I know. I expect to be argued with on some of things I have said.
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Old 09-17-2016, 12:48 AM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,552 posts, read 3,640,935 times
Reputation: 3625
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Um, any this vs. that thread is of course, a "which is better" thread.

My take is that the SW wins on weather if nothing else, which you did not include. The NE has humid summers and freezing winters which I would not want to endure. I've traveled there, though I'm from the west coast, and I know that whatever it might have to offer (the East Coast), I would not be happy with the weather.
No its not. It is a compare/contrast thread. Therefore being put up against each other for comparison, thus justifying the "versus".

And I did not mention weather because that is obvious. New England is heavily forested while the Southwest is quite literally open desert. Weather wise they are practically polar opposites and so is the scenery. It really does not need to be stated. We all know that the East is humid, the West is not, the Southwest is hot, and the Northeast gets cold.
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Downtown Phoenix, AZ
18,927 posts, read 6,860,994 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
What I will be writing below will mostly reflect Arizona as this is the state I live in. While New Mexico, Arizona, and West Texas are probably more similar to each other than any other significant areas, they do share minor differences, most noticeably in cuisine, demographics, and politics/taxes.

COL: The Southwest, for the most part, is historically cheaper than the nation on average. There are exceptions to this rule, generally the places in the Southwest with the best weather... as the Southwest is very climatically diverse. Cities, off the top of my head that I think have good weather, are Flagstaff, Sedona, ABQ, and Santa Fe... While Albuquerque falls about right at the average COL mark, the other three are very expensive. Cities in the Southwest with HOT weather are usually very cheap, think Yuma, Tucson, Phoenix, Las Cruces, El Paso (I'm on the fence on whether El Paso is hot or not, summers are quite literally at the benchmark for me there) and so on.

Cuisine: As stated previously, the Southwest has very unique cuisine and has plenty of regional variation. While the general concept between Mexican food of these areas are similar, and you CAN find Tex-Mex, Sonoran, and New Mexican foods in all three areas, they do have important differences. The biggest differences between the three cuisines are the use of spices, salsas, and condiments. Tex-Mex is known to be a heavy user of condiments (think cheese, guacamole, sour cream, etc.). Tex-Mex is also known for deep-frying (in Sonoran and New Mexican deep-fried foods are not very common, except for the chimichanga which was invented in Tucson). Sonoran and Tex-Mex are used to using "red chile" rather than New Mexican's trademark "green chile". New Mexican also has more Native American influence on their cuisine, such as Navajo tacos (best thing ever by the way). Sonoran food arguably has beans a lot more common in the cuisine than I have seen in the others, arguably because beans grow very well in the blazing Sonora (hottest of all three regions) and the Tohono O'odham (most prominent NA tribe in southern Arizona) are known for this. Sonoran food, as far as I'm experienced, also has cacti in their meals from time to time (cactus honey--usually from saguaros, prickly pear fruit which is also the best thing ever) and other irregular things like the occasional scorpion (yes, you can eat them) and rattlesnake. New Mexican food also had more pork in entree options from my experience of going to Santa Fe.

Lifestyle: Roughly 80% of the time here in the Southwest, weather is tolerable for outdoor activities. Mountains provide the best recreation and since most of the mountains are of a different climate than their habitable bases, they provide mini-vacations for us desert folk. Tucson has the southernmost skiing resort in North America, so skiing can be done in the majority of the Southwest. Hiking is the best and most common outdoor activity that is done here.

City structure: The Southwest is mostly sprawling, as we have plenty of flat land (and without forests, no trees to take down either) to build upon. Santa Fe was the biggest Spanish outpost as far as I know in this region, and DT Santa Fe best outlines Spanish colonial design. Here in Tucson (furthest north the Spanish ever got in Arizona), old buildings have mostly been bungalows from the turn of the 20th century ranging from adobe to craftsman bungalow to Mediterranean design, all on smallish city lots and hovering around 1000-1500 square feet. Roads were traditionally not very grid-like and wasn't until heavy investment in our region in modern times where grid roads became common.

History: I'll have to get onto this one later, it'll take too much time.

Social behaviors: In Phoenix, people are fairly anti-social and not very welcoming of strangers. This isn't the same in Tucson where people are a lot friendlier to strangers. The Southwest, as a whole, is very family-oriented. Even in Phoenix which culturally is not Southwestern at all. People tend to get married and have kids at young ages (early 20s) here and they tend to have at least two kids. Social activities seem to revolve around the family or what can be done with the family.

Economies: Back in the day cities really came about from either farming, logistics, or mining (also I'm noting this because I may bring it up later, led to differences in city structure as well). Arizona follows the 5 Cs (climate, citrus, cattle, copper, and cotton) which is our historical and in many ways still the leading drives of our economy. While Arizona has been moving towards a more service-oriented economy, we still are mostly led by the 5 Cs especially Climate these days because people keep moving here. New Mexico, while having these similarities, is slightly different. New Mexico has O&G in its Eastern side which drives a lot of its economy (O&G is not big here in AZ) along with more government positions especially in scientific research. Southern Arizona is also a big military installment for mostly the Airforce and private aerospace research. While I don't know much about West Texas, what I do know is El Paso is a big logistics hub and probably does more with trading than the other two.

Demographics: The Southwest is minority-majority, except a few places (most of which are in Arizona because of Arizona's history, I'll get to that later). New Mexico has a higher prevalence of Native Americans despite Arizona having more Native American reservation land (25% of Arizona).

I don't claim to be 100% factual on the things I say, it's mostly based on anecdotal experience of living here and what I know. I expect to be argued with on some of things I have said.
COL in Phoenix is above the national average, it ain't exactly cheap here, maybe in the past
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Old 09-17-2016, 10:10 AM
 
Location: In the hot spot!
3,399 posts, read 4,802,516 times
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Born and raised in New England and have lived in AZ for nearly 18 years. I don't even know where to begin to compare the two regions? The Northeast has a lot going for it in spite of the winters. Fall is absolutely gorgeous. The pay and economy in New England is higher and stronger (along with taxes!) and as for cultural diversity it wins hands down. The southwest is more laid back and definitely sees more sunshine on average. The COL is less in the Southwest and the cities are more spread out. The Southwest is also younger and newer.

Each region has unique offerings depending on one's taste and desire.
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:20 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
9,425 posts, read 18,327,828 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirebirdCamaro1220 View Post
COL in Phoenix is above the national average, it ain't exactly cheap here, maybe in the past
For a metro area of 4+ million, yeah Phoenix really is pretty cheap. Compare the cost of living of Phoenix to any of the metro areas of 4+ million in the Northeast and perhaps you'll gain some perspective. Heck, even compare Phoenix to Denver, and it still looks very affordable.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:27 AM
 
1,586 posts, read 1,540,553 times
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Maybe this thread should have been titled "Desert Southwest vs. New England."

This is a very easy call to me, considering New England has always been my favorite region, I now live there, and I can't really see myself living in the Southwest. (I suppose there are circumstances where I'd try Arizona. Scottsdale was nice.)

But this isn't "which region is better," so let's do the criteria.

Politics? That's a matter of personal opinion, but for me, by far New England. The Southwest has Joe Arpaio. Yeah, New England has Paul LePage, but he's not at the same level, and he also represents one of the more sparsely populated areas.

Taxes? Definitely better in the Southwest, but it says something that the OP, despite being a "left-winger," listed this second. The attitude of taxes being the first or second most important thing about a place is connected with the sort of politics I don't really like in the Desert Southwest.

COL? Southwest, the end.

Cuisine? The Southwest kills on Mexican, but I'll have to go with New England overall. More diversity, better ingredients, and the Desert Southwest probably doesn't have anything to match the restaurant cultures in places like Portland, Providence or even Boston, which is sometimes maligned for its subpar food scene.

Lifestyle (common outdoor activities, regional traditions, etc.)? People don't want to be outdoors in New England in the winter, but they don't want to be outdoors in the Desert Southwest in the summer. I'm not quite sure about this one, but I'll give it to New England based on the population being healthier on average. According to this article, four of the six New England states are in the top 10 for health.

Culture? (i.e. more emphasis in sports/art, etc.?) I take it "sports" refers to spectator sports? You've got to give this to New England on Boston alone, though. I understand there are great art scenes in New Mexico and Marfa, Texas, has a ton of buzz. But there are loads of smaller scenes like that in New England. I was in Provincetown, Massachusetts, recently -- more art galleries than I've ever seen in one place, and I've lived in New York.

City structure? Of course New England here.

History? (how history shaped the areas, so on) Some interesting history in the Desert Southwest, but the New England stuff is what kids nationwide learn about in history books. Newport, Rhode Island, which I live nearby, has more extant colonial-era buildings than any city in the United States. Even in some otherwise bland suburbs and small towns, you can feel the history.

Social behaviors? I'm tempted to give this to the Southwest, but New England is all about community (see the culture of town meetings and such), while the Southwest is famous for individualism. While I'm a bit of an individualist myself, I like being in a place where people are more apt to help each other.

Economies? This is a tricky one. New Mexico is one of the poorest states and Arizona is in the bottom half, while all but one of the New England states (Maine) are doing significantly better. And Boston is booming. But smaller New England cities tend to be be beset by high unemployment and are struggling to recover from deindustrialization. I guess I'll judge this one a push.

Demographics? In terms of ethnicity? Both regions have diverse cities, but large swaths of New England are the whitest places in America, so I have go give it to the Southwest.

New England: 7
Desert Southwest: 3
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:42 AM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
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Originally Posted by boulevardofdef View Post

Politics? That's a matter of personal opinion, but for me, by far New England. The Southwest has Joe Arpaio. Yeah, New England has Paul LePage, but he's not at the same level, and he also represents one of the more sparsely populated areas.
Fun Fact; that old coot was born and raised in Springfield, MA.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:11 PM
 
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I like the Southwest better than the Northeast.
-WT
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