04 March 2013

For Better or for Worst

Minus the color enhancements and the paragon of cloud formations, this is what my first view of New York City looked like. After taking the sky train from JFK to Jamaica to catch the E Subway train, we emerged out of the 50th street station, facing south along 8th avenue. 

The first thing I remember thinking was how impossibly tall the buildings were.
I remember from about the age of 10 that I thought I was a city boy, and by all accounts, that still has held true through adolescence. In fact, I spent most of my afternoon and evening in downtown Salt Lake City today. My love of the city stems from my earlier childhood memories of going to the symphony with my family on week nights. If you want to read that account, it is located here

My first impressions of what a downtown looked like was from the corner of 4th and Cherry street, in downtown Winston-Salem.

Looking back, it is almost humorous to think that this is what I thought a downtown was for the first portion of my life. Although, after visiting cities like Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro, it quickly was apparent to me that downtowns were often much more. Later, I got to visit larger cities such as Atlanta and Philadelphia and my affinity for the city only grew. 

But I still lived in suburbia. The more open spaces of North Carolina were equally appealing to me. Although after I turned 16 when my family moved to Utah, I discovered that I really love the downtown atmosphere.

This is from the corner of Main Street and 300 south. 
Coming back from New York City reminded me how quiet downtown Salt Lake City is. Relatively speaking of course, it is almost placid compared to the initial blast of life that I experienced after emerging from the subway station. Walking almost 7 blocks south to enter Times Square from its south side made the city feel impossibly big that first half hour. My first view of the Center of the western world looked something like this.

I'm not entirely sure why I went on this little tour of my experience with urban centers, but I like where I am going. This certainly wasn't what I was expecting to write. 

I'm really happy with city living. I love having everything so efficiently close, I love the ever vibrant air and the constant movement of life. I love the energy and the sheer human determination to thrive. But I also love having a little time for quiet now and again, which is one reason I think I'm so fond of downtown Salt Lake City. 

It's my kind of city. 

If anything aside from family and friends, I think this is what I will miss the most about Utah if I end up going east for college. Although of my 4 college choices, the University of Utah is just adjacent to this downtown, Philadelphia is 15 minutes by train ride, and Pratt Institute is just a few minutes away from downtown Brooklyn and not too long away form Manhattan. 
Ironically enough, my front running choice, the University of Virginia, isn't at all close to a traditional city center. It has it's down town mall which I'd love to show you.

Oddly enough, I think I like imagining myself going to school here best of all. Maybe it is the southern boy in me calling for home, but gosh darn it, it is just cute. And I can most certainly picture myself here. 

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