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Old 07-10-2009, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
305 posts, read 364,294 times
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Why exactly is Chicago called the "Second City?" Is it
A.) because of the Famous Chicago Fire burned down the "first city" and Chicago rebuilt itself into the second city?
B.) or is it the Second City Syndrome? Because Chicago is a big City but not as big as New York. (As well as LA.)

I heave heard both reasons. What do you think?
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:26 AM
 
7,608 posts, read 9,465,582 times
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Default For decades..

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleMathYou View Post
Why exactly is Chicago called the "Second City?" Is it
A.) because of the Famous Chicago Fire burned down the "first city" and Chicago rebuilt itself into the second city?
B.) or is it the Second City Syndrome? Because Chicago is a big City but not as big as New York. (As well as LA.)

I heave heard both reasons. What do you think?
...Chicago was the 2nd largest city in the US, behind NYC. And even though LA has also since passed Chicago in population, it has kept that moniker, probably just for nostalgia. ( Ever heard of The Second City comedy troupe? It's in Chicago).
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:00 AM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,391 posts, read 24,586,165 times
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Chicago still feels like you are in a much bigger city than any other city outside of NY, despite being 3rd in population... As a big functioning city it is still #2 in my mind and experience.

LA is 3.8 million over 498 square miles

Chicago is 2.8 million over 237 square miles...

If Chicago annexed the local population centers to become one with cook county at 5.2 million, would it make it any more impressive???

No...

City boundaries don't always tell the full story.

It also still has the 2nd largest CBD.

1 New York 1,736,900 (note NYC has 2 of these..)
2 Chicago 541,500
3 Washington 382,400
4 San Francisco-San Jose 305,600 (note SJ is not SF...)
5 Boston 257,000
6 Philadelphia 220,100
7 Seattle 155,100
8 Houston 153,400
9 Los Angeles 143,700

see how they stack up? and why those top 6 always get ranked high...?

now lets look at office space

Chicago CBD - 121,324,716 square feet

LA CBD - CBD - 33,151,830 square feet

Last edited by grapico; 07-10-2009 at 11:22 AM..
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:16 PM
 
Location: metro ATL
8,190 posts, read 12,342,712 times
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I've heard the real reason is the first--Chicago having to rebuild after the great fire.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Back home in Kaguawagpjpa.
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I will say it is both:

Chicago did rebuild after that large fire.

And Chicago, for many many and many years, was well, the second largest city in America.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:34 PM
j33
 
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I say both. I've heard the reason is related to the fire. But any long-time Chicagoan knows that the other city in the US we look to either for inspiration or because of neurosis, for better or for worse, is New York (and will then vehemently deny doing so). Although we aren't as bad as Boston about that, I chalk that up to being a bit more Midwestern and laid back about things
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:27 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
7,139 posts, read 9,919,413 times
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Smile Chicago:The Second City

Quote:
Originally Posted by j33 View Post
I say both. I've heard the reason is related to the fire. But any long-time Chicagoan knows that the other city in the US we look to either for inspiration or because of neurosis, for better or for worse, is New York (and will then vehemently deny doing so). Although we aren't as bad as Boston about that, I chalk that up to being a bit more Midwestern and laid back about things
Just a historical guess here.

The Encyclopedia of Chicago credits Abbot J Liebling for coming up with the name "second city" in the early to mid 1900s. Liebling wrote the book CHICAGO:THE SECOND CITY back in 1952 but unfortunately did not say why he called it that.

Liebling however was a New Yorker writing some 80 years after the Great Chicago Fire. It seems way more likely he would be more impressed by Chicago's number two status in a large nation with many great cities, than a fire which destroyed 1/3 of Chicago a very long time ago.

While 1/3 of the city is huge (and it was the business district!) most of the city survived. Also many cities had major fires years ago.

So while the name "Second City" COULD be used to describe Chicago rebuilding after the disaster---it also could be equally used to describe San Francisco, Atlanta, Columbia, Johnstown, PA and above all Galveston, Texas.

So I lean towards "Second City" describing Chicago because of the city's importance and greatness.
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Old 07-11-2009, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
284 posts, read 631,593 times
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It is cause outside new york, Chicago is really the only city that feels like a city like new york. L.A has a bigger population but it still does not feel like a city like Chicago or new york. San Francisco feels more like Chicago or new york than L.A and it has a way smaller population than L.A so population does not make up the city the feel the look and the vibe of the city is makes it a city. New York and Chicago both have similar attributes that make Chicago like a little bro to New York IMO.
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Old 07-11-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: metro ATL
8,190 posts, read 12,342,712 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LINative View Post
So while the name "Second City" COULD be used to describe Chicago rebuilding after the disaster---it also could be equally used to describe San Francisco, Atlanta, Columbia, Johnstown, PA and above all Galveston, Texas.
The way most people talk here, Atlanta didn't even bother to rebuild after Sherman's little party.

You could also add Jacksonville, FL to that list.

Good information though.
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:45 PM
 
Location: New England & The Maritimes
2,116 posts, read 4,205,807 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j33 View Post
I say both. I've heard the reason is related to the fire. But any long-time Chicagoan knows that the other city in the US we look to either for inspiration or because of neurosis, for better or for worse, is New York (and will then vehemently deny doing so). Although we aren't as bad as Boston about that, I chalk that up to being a bit more Midwestern and laid back about things
No Bostonian on the face of the earth has ever "looked to New York for inspiration". neurosis? sure, maybe a little. But for the most part Boston keeps its back to the west and only "looks" out at the grand expanse of the Atlantic and what lies beyond in the east and in the past.

Chicago looks to NY for "inspiration" more than Boston and probably more than any other city in the world (maybe after Philly).
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