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Old 04-26-2007, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Fly-over country.
1,765 posts, read 6,377,947 times
Reputation: 907

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The NOVA, DC, Baltimore area, where I've spent a combined total of about 9 years can't be defined very well.

You have the self-important, guilt-ridden elite who don't see the problem with driving a hybrid 50 miles to work, one way, so their kids can get in "good schools." They don't comprehend the hypocrisy of the McMansions combined with looking down their noses at people who they see as wasteful. These are the folks that spend over $100 USD a week on Starbucks. That's only half the story. The other half of the self-important suburbanites with homes far too large are much more self-absorbed. They also make the big money, but have zero guilt about it and like to show it off.

You've got the service industry folks, mostly immigrants, who, in spite of all that's going on around them seem genuinely happy to be here.

You've got the power set, currently right-leaning, mostly from out of town that's been fortified by a two-term guy. What people forget is that for all the presidential appointees, you get the underlings too.

You've got the downtowners who, by most accounts, are well-adjusted artsy types with money. They normally lean hard-left, but unlike the suburbanites, they are probably actually doing something. I'm not sure what, but they're doing it within the various city limits.

You've got the young activist crowd, mostly in college (perpetually it seems) reveling in their extended childhood while attending the demonstration of the week.

You've got the military and civil service crowd. Many of them keep their out of state plates as long as they can. It's sort of like a show of resistance to the beltway culture. (I drove with expired TX plates as long as I could, honest). They're diverse. You can't pin them down. Within that, there is a sub culture of 50-something civil service workers. I think they run the country. I don't know where they live around here really. They appear at about 0700 and are in a rush to beat the HOV cut off in the afternoon. If they get stuck in the office until 4 or 5 pm, they do the incredible hulk routine.

Sadly there's an inner-city crowd that is either fighting to get out or reveling within the system.

Then there's the silent majority. The folks who keep the region going. They do their work. They don't complain too much. They live all over. They come from all levels of income, various races and different educational backgrounds. You can't spot them in the mix, but when you meet one, you'll probably know.
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Old 04-26-2007, 07:16 AM
 
Location: NJ
12,284 posts, read 31,756,657 times
Reputation: 5220
Quote:
Originally Posted by caution View Post
These are the folks that spend over $100 USD a week on Starbucks.
How on earth can one spend $100/week on Starbucks? Say $4 twice a day during the work week - $8/day * 5 = $40. Are you exaggerating for effect? I scratch my head at the popularity of Starbucks and cannot fathom why someone would pay $4 for some joe, but $400/MONTH? I can't see it.
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Old 04-26-2007, 07:17 AM
 
Location: NOTfromhere, Indiana
341 posts, read 1,368,301 times
Reputation: 203
I spent almost 15 years in Phoenix AZ. Thought I'd toss one in on that city.

Southwestern says it all.

Alot of homes are designed interiorwise with beautiful SW pottery, Navaho rugs, ladders, etc.

Despite too many track homes it works. They're neat and managed nicely. A new influx of Tuscan has been enhancing the area. Custom and semi-custom homes are readily available.

The metro area is amazingly clean for so many people. The medians are landscaped & malls beautifully designed. The gutters aren't littered with cig butts & trash.

Traffic can be heavy however with construction 24/7 (literally) I give the area great credit for trying to keep up with the population & demands.
Alot of the area's roads run N-S and E-W so that makes getting from point A to point B a cinch!

It's NEVER boring! Concerts, waterparks, mountains, zoo, tubing, lakes, pools everywhere, festivals, art, shopping, resorts, you name it!

You're outdoors year round. Yes it is hot. But low to no humidity and no bugs! People are slim, tan and energetic. Emphasis on health! Drive 2 hours and you're in cool mountains. Great skiing in Flagstaff!

Lots of SNOWBIRD winter visitors bring money & stories with them. We wave bye bye to them in April!

Great economy & schools! Boeing, Motorola & lots of large corps.

Did I mention sunshine? Tons and Tons of non-hazey turquoise skies SUNSHINE! And it smells incredible after a rain.

I love the people. Perfect mix of locals & imports. No, the population is NOT hispanic. Go to Ajo for that. Locals are use to imports thanks to the flow of people moving to the area thanks to weather and jobs. Terrific melting pot.
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Old 04-26-2007, 07:22 AM
 
Location: NJ
12,284 posts, read 31,756,657 times
Reputation: 5220
Here?

Wealthy, McMansion living, involved parents, mostly families with a SAHM driving the obligatory large SUV (with the soccer, cheerleading, baseball, football magnet) back and forth to school and sports. Majority are "Money" Republicans (as opposed to "religious" Republicans). Everyone seems to know everyone.
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Old 04-26-2007, 07:32 AM
 
3,042 posts, read 8,087,759 times
Reputation: 1154
Arts and theatre, galleries, lots of restuarant culture, going to a phillies or sixers or flyer match, lectures, jazz shows, not alot, museums
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Old 04-26-2007, 11:40 AM
 
6,764 posts, read 19,754,557 times
Reputation: 4688
Well, shopping seems to be the cultural event here. That and eating out at some chain restaurant. And being overly obsessed with your child's social life (is he in 5 or 6 activities? If NOT you are a failure as a mom..).

Of course, you can opt out of all that and do what we do (go to the library and get free books, movies, tapes, whatever), use the beautiful park system for free or little money.
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Old 04-26-2007, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,179 posts, read 67,320,481 times
Reputation: 15825
Default Scranton---Tale of Two Cities

Actually, Scranton is noticing a societal and generational gap that just continues to grow wider, and wider, and WIDER with each passing year. It's almost a case of the "haves" vs. the "have-nots" except both of the groups I'll be referencing are what I'd consider to be "middle-class."

INTELLECTUALS/CHICS: There's a new "hip" vibe in Scranton these days. It is becoming "fashionable" to mention the words "latte", "loft", "gallery", and "PDA" in the same sentence amongst a growing portion of our twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings. You know the types I'm talking about---thick-framed glasses, dabblers in yoga, vegetarians and/or organic foods purchasers, hybrid vehicle drivers, "pro-choice", pro-gay rights, goofy hair styles, popped shirt collars, etc. The mayor himself is in his 40s, but his "vision" for the future of our city includes helping it to become the unofficial sixth borough of nearby New York City, regardless of the cost it may have in terms of the city losing its cultural identity. There are currently a half-dozen mixed-use projects that will be initiated shortly in the downtown, including a market, book store, artists' studios, condos/lofts, sidewalk cafes, etc. The most recent project, St. Peter's Square, features condominiums that will start at around $330,000. For a city where most residents earn around $30,000 per year and live in homes valued at around $120,000, concerns have arisen over just who will be filling all of the new higher-end units coming to the city. It is my understanding that these developers are latching onto flimsy hopes that Scranton's "hip" vibe that has emerged in the past five years, partially as a result of NBC's "The Office" and the new film office, will continue to attract young professionals from NYC to Scranton. On the contrary, I've fielded no inquiries about downtown living options on this forum while I've fielded DOZENS of New Yorkers/New Jersians who are seeking information about the suburbs. I think the first project to be completed will fill up in a hurry, but what about all of the others? There obviously is some demand for upscale living options in the city, as evidenced by the success of "The Lofts @ The Mill", which is an old silk mill converted into loft apartments with rents that are supposedly around $1,100/month! However, I think there's only so many of these "hip urban eccentrics" to go around, and I fear that these developers aren't factoring in the fact that they're all vying for the same piece of an already small pie. The members of this group enjoy hanging out at Northern Lights Espresso Bar, checking out ethnic eateries, walking their dogs around the Hill Section, attending lectures/seminars at the University of Scranton, Marywood University, and Lackawanna College, and watching an off-Broadway show or seeing the Philharmonic perform at the Scranton Cultural Center on occasion. They also are much less likely to have children and are much more likely to give money to the arts as opposed to a women's shelter or a soup kitchen. You'll likely see them tooling around in VW Beetles, Mini Coopers, Scions, PT Cruisers, hybrid vehicles, and other cars that are head-turners and eye-catching. They're probably just one step below what most people in this nation would consider to be "snobs" and aren't far from what is depicted on "Frasier."

BLUE-COLLARS/TRADITIONALISTS: The other 3/4 or so of the adult population in the city are the "hard as nails" types who helped the city to rise during the Industrial era and continue to toil hard behind the scenes today to keep the city moving forward. People in this demographic feel as if the mayor has forgotten about them as he instead focuses all of his efforts on wooing the aforementioned rival group with wasteful spending (that is now costing the city dearly in terms of tax increases, which has hurt the blue collars even more). This group is unlikely to have an education beyond high school or a vocational-technical school and are likely to feel trapped in unrewarding and unfulfilling careers as a result. Since they generally earn less money than the intellectuals, they're impacted much more severely by looming tax increases and are much more likely to vent their frustrations and anger as a result. A group of these blue-collars, "The Legion of Doom" regularly attend weekly city council meetings to lash out at a city that they feel is becomingly increasingly detached from its nitty-gritty roots and is spending too much money for its own good. Another similar crowd, "Doherty Deceit," was formed by an ex-city employee with a beef against the mayor. His web site has gathered a following of roughly 1,000 of these blue collars, all of whom light up the message boards with frustrations about the conflicted path the city seems to be headed down. As evidenced by a new message today on a local media message board in which a blue collar lost his job to a young college graduate and lashed out at college-educated individuals as a result, this divide between the intellectuals and the blue collars just continues to grow interminably. These types are most likely to be found spending what little discretionary incomes they have at bowling alleys, billiards halls, high school football games, corner bars, Wal-Marts, city council meetings, and fast-food restaurants. They're also the most likely to have multiple children, and they're also the most likely to volunteer with services to cater to those of lower incomes, since they're more "in-touch" with people like that than the intellectuals, many of whom were born with silver spoons in their mouths. They're also quite fond of Ford Explorers, Ford Tauruses, Jeep Grand Cherokees, Dodge Caravans, and Ford F-150s from what I can tell. I feel that their concerns are very valid; as Scranton's percentage of intellectuals/chics continues to gradually rise, so will its cost-of-living. Since most blue-collars rarely receive raises in their hourly wages, their ability to budget remains fixed, with or without a sharp increase in the cost-of-living. They have every right to be worried and concerned about the possibility of Scranton losing sight of its working-class roots as it pursues a false sense of security in trying to mimic successes similar to those of SoHo and TriBeCa in Scranton.
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Fly-over country.
1,765 posts, read 6,377,947 times
Reputation: 907
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahiti View Post
How on earth can one spend $100/week on Starbucks? Say $4 twice a day during the work week - $8/day * 5 = $40. Are you exaggerating for effect? I scratch my head at the popularity of Starbucks and cannot fathom why someone would pay $4 for some joe, but $400/MONTH? I can't see it.
Yeah mostly for effect, but I know two people who had at least two per day, plus they'd often get those expensive cakes/scones/buy coffee beans etc. We could not go anywhere at any time of the day without stopping there.

But, what I see more often that is probably more disturbing than the Starbucks habit is the amount of money spent on eating out -- it's really more noticeable here than anywhere I've lived.

I think it's a just status thing in an image conscious region. Nothing wrong with it.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:16 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,983 posts, read 102,540,351 times
Reputation: 33045
Doing outdoor activities and talking about doing outdoor activities (mostly the latter). At least 1 person per couple working in telecom or other IT job. Talking about saving the environment while driving SUV. Gosh, I'm feeling cynical tonight.
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Old 04-27-2007, 03:27 PM
 
766 posts, read 2,269,390 times
Reputation: 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by caution View Post
The NOVA, DC, Baltimore area, where I've spent a combined total of about 9 years can't be defined very well.

You have the self-important, guilt-ridden elite who don't see the problem with driving a hybrid 50 miles to work, one way, so their kids can get in "good schools." They don't comprehend the hypocrisy of the McMansions combined with looking down their noses at people who they see as wasteful. These are the folks that spend over $100 USD a week on Starbucks. That's only half the story. The other half of the self-important suburbanites with homes far too large are much more self-absorbed. They also make the big money, but have zero guilt about it and like to show it off.

You've got the service industry folks, mostly immigrants, who, in spite of all that's going on around them seem genuinely happy to be here.

You've got the power set, currently right-leaning, mostly from out of town that's been fortified by a two-term guy. What people forget is that for all the presidential appointees, you get the underlings too.

You've got the downtowners who, by most accounts, are well-adjusted artsy types with money. They normally lean hard-left, but unlike the suburbanites, they are probably actually doing something. I'm not sure what, but they're doing it within the various city limits.

You've got the young activist crowd, mostly in college (perpetually it seems) reveling in their extended childhood while attending the demonstration of the week.

You've got the military and civil service crowd. Many of them keep their out of state plates as long as they can. It's sort of like a show of resistance to the beltway culture. (I drove with expired TX plates as long as I could, honest). They're diverse. You can't pin them down. Within that, there is a sub culture of 50-something civil service workers. I think they run the country. I don't know where they live around here really. They appear at about 0700 and are in a rush to beat the HOV cut off in the afternoon. If they get stuck in the office until 4 or 5 pm, they do the incredible hulk routine.

Sadly there's an inner-city crowd that is either fighting to get out or reveling within the system.

Then there's the silent majority. The folks who keep the region going. They do their work. They don't complain too much. They live all over. They come from all levels of income, various races and different educational backgrounds. You can't spot them in the mix, but when you meet one, you'll probably know.
That pretty much describes the Chicago area, too, in terms of what types of people live in different places.

Also, I would not be surprised at people spending $100 per week on Starbucks at all. There are tons of places in the city where they have locations across the street from each other (for example, the State Street Marshall Field's... er, Macy's, has 2 separate full-service Starbucks in the building alone and yet another is across the street). I mean, Chicago is the hometown of McDonald's, but Starbucks puts them to shame in terms of locations around here. There are plently of people buying more than 2 cups a day - I've worked with those who have been addicted to this caffeinated crack. I'll admit to enjoying a number of their drinks on occassion, but I can't imagine making it into a daily (or multi-daily) habit.
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