Formerly a victim of the rust belt blues, Cleveland’s on a roll. It now bills itself as “the remake on the lake.” The evidence? An arts resurgence — a recent French masterworks exhibit visited Cleveland first, New York second. Expanded shopping. Excellent dining — hearty German fare still abounds, but now Cleveland has outposts of nouvelle cuisine. A beboppin’ night life (Cleveland’s the future home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) and bars where fans can toast their faves with hundreds of different kinds of beer. But, most importantly, Cleveland has rediscovered its pride. Natives can now claim their city is a lot more than “the walleye fishing capital of America.”
It’s Frank Sinatra’s kind of town. It’s also home base to millions of fiercely loyal Chicagoans devoted to a brawny mix of city life at its best (top drawer cultural attractions, super shopping, a terrific night life) and the breezy informality of down-to-earth mid-western living. It’s a sports town, a smoky jazz town, an ethnic town (if it’s made in America, you can eat it in Chicago), a family town, a political town (Chicagoans vote early and often), and yes, a windy town. From atop the Sears Tower (the USA’s tallest building), gazing out at toddlin’, tough-but-tender Chicago, one cannot help but be impressed. Chicago is America.
To those who don’t know Boston well, it’s a city of the past, a place to reacquaint oneself with America’s origins and18th century charm. To those who do know Boston well, it’s America’s grandest survivor, a city enjoying an eighties boom after decades of bust. Boston now boasts a liveability that’s an addictive mix of European sophistication and New England savvy. Boston’s big drawback? Its winter cold. But both natives and transplants have discovered that even on the dreariest February day the cold Boston air carries the unmistakable sting of intelligence.
Baltimore’s no Boston, however — its more funky, live-it-up spirit is reflected in the smiling faces of locals eating crabcakes while strolling through the spectacular Inner Harbor complex. The search for solutions to perplexing urban problems often leads city planners to B’more, where, somehow, everybody got it right.
Most visitors come to Atlanta looking for the Old South stereotypes–white-columned mansions surrounded by magnolias and owned by slow-moving folks with accents as thick as molasses. What they find is a lot more cosmopolitan and a heck of a lot more interesting.
Long known as the “Capital of the New South,” Atlanta has benefited in recent years from a booming economy, the 1996 Olympics and a baseball dynasty. Any town that survived both General Sherman’s March and Ted Turner is obviously made of sterner stuff than just cotton-pickin’ and hoop skirts. Hot’lanta is filled with high energy and big business while traces of genteel grace can still be found there.
“Underground” Atlanta has been a success for nearly twenty years. fully meeting the needs of nightclub hoppers. Rhett and Scarlett wouldn’t recognize the place, but they would have a ball!