All 15 of the American cities I know, ranked
Obviously I have been to more cities than this but I'm trying to go with the ones I've spent at least a few days in and am therefore 'acquainted with.'
- Boston. A hideous little city, both two small and too busy. Racist, one of the WORST places to be a bus driver, disgusting suburbs, gentrification, awful property values. I love Boston. I love the Charles and I love wrought irons and I love that the MBTA's mascot is a dude who got trapped on a train eternally due to fare hikes and refused anyone who tried to lend him a nickel to leave. A Bostonian got stranded on an island out past the harbor for several years, and when rescue finally came they saw she had built three Dunks. "Surely you only need one?" said the coast guard. "Not at all! This one I go to on weekdays, this one on weekends, and this one I don't go to under any circumstances!" G-d I miss the little Russian grocery in Brighton that's like 2 blocks from a yeshiva that has its password written on the door in gematria. Their kefir is so thick you have to squeeze it out of the bottle.
- Newark. Technically I am not from Newark in that I have only been there once and I don't remember it, but my cousin IS from Newark and I will go there and marry this awful city some day. I want to see the really long mural and the bridges and the cherry trees in Branch Brook Park. Famous for its racism and riots and being basically terrible and spending all its time in New York City's shadow. For this reason I refer to New York City as part of the Greater Newark Metro Area.
- Philadelphia. I hung out there for a while once and was very impressed by its feelings of anciency. A nice tall city with lots of (presumably racist) monuments. I like the architecture. Desperately wish to go to the American Philosophical Society and press my nose against the glass next to John Swanton's full manuscript of Haida stories in translation and transliteration. Perhaps the most important thing about Philadelphia is its genius loci, Gritty, a truly perfect creature. The people of Philly saw a giant orange monster who lives in the trash and (as a hockey player) loves to injure people, and said, THAT'S OUR BOY. Big 'fuck around and find out' energy.
- Durham. Okay Durham basically rules because of all the work people have put into community resources like the scrap exchange and that great co-op grocery store where they have like smoothie nights? I really want to go there on a smoothie night. That place whips ass. Needless to say Durham is pretty racist but I think their police department is slightly less worse than Raleigh's.
- Chicago. This is a city I have only been to on Google Maps, and really doesn't have THAT much to recommend it beyond being on a very romantic evil lake and its history of labor organizing. Sexy, sexy labor organizing. Known racist city. G-d I want to meet the el-train though. I think Chicago has pretty good public transportation and I wish to experience it.
- District of Columbia. PLEASE give them like, 1 Senator? I think it's pretty racist to not be doing that. DC is a big hot nasty swamp of a city, way too much concrete and way too little of anything else. When I was in DC I was living near Howard University and there was this super cool tea shop with a super cool proprietor who was probably a witch. She made the most incredible jamaica with lemongrass. The DC Metro is like, Okay I Guess? It's respectably grimy. DC on the whole is a nasty unpleasant city who I respect hugely as a large and evil woman. Shoutout to Silver Springs, Maryland while I'm here.
- Raleigh. A perfectly anodyne city, and Durham's much worse twin. It irks me. I'm writing this in June 2020 so I know for a fact that the police department sucks ass, very racist. However, areas south of the University have some INCREDIBLY good Middle Eastern and African grocery stores. Injera as big as your head! No, bigger! Only place I know of to get berbere.
- New York City. Arguably the worst part of the GNMA, extremely evil and so so racist, the gentrification is truly awful, just an all around bad city. So sexy. I have a weakness for port cities with labor organizing and, of course, a lot of crucial Jewish history. I've looked at too many port maps of NYC to truly hate it, but what a stinking black hole of a city, with the worst cost of living and the worst cops. I heard NYPD sends cops OVERSEAS? What are they doing there? Fuck New York City! But also, you know, fuck New York City.
- San Francisco. It's not the worst city in California but the absolute RENT PRICES. I'd be remiss not to mention their racism. Unfortunately, it gets bonus points for being one of the few American cities where it's still practical to run cablecars over light rail because of all its steep hills. And the fog. I like the fog. Went to a very cool Chihuly exhibit there and I think they have some cool parks. All in all though not a very good city.
- Salt Lake City. Really nothing to recommend SLC or indeed any city in Utah (is there more than one?). Downtown is insipid, there's the massive Mormon temple that makes me very nervous, and the architecture sucks. Downtown has some good stuff in it, or did a while ago, but outside of there it's basically car dealerships and refinery flares, but not even the sexy ones, and copper mines or gravel mines or whatever. I like that it's surrounded by mountains but it's not a great city. Not notably racist but they do have a special holiday called Pioneer Day so definitely significant levels of racism. If you gave a group of space aliens a full year to research what human cities are supposed to be like and then let them make one, Salt Lake City is what they would come up with.
- Denver. As much as I want to be like UGH DENVER WHAT'S THE POINT OF YOU, I know that the point is its network of greenways and bike trails. However, downtown is just a boring and mildly rancid place and I haven't been to any of the good parts that I assume Denver has. Shoutout to the Platte, but dark shoutout to the racist, racist Denver PD who I think a couple days ago killed someone again. I can't really keep track at this point. Their Union Station isn't good and their airport is in the middle of nowhere. The only thing to recommend this city is the hell unicorn.
- Seattle. Basically a slightly less worse version of Portland I think. Still racist but not, like, a state literally founded for the purpose of racism. Listen to your indigenous activists you morons. Seattle is only this high up on the list because I'm a sucker and I think Pike Place Market is cute. And I think they have some pretty rad museums.
- Phoenix. It's difficult to think of a city with worse aesthetic cohesion than Phoenix. The architecture is somehow worse than LA, at least downtown--all those nasty glass and steel buildings that are all the crueller because the sun is so strong there. The style of the houses is pretty good, I love a pepperpot roof, but the suburbs have this tired panting quality like they just want to be put out of their misery. And it's all suburbs. This is a city that doesn't know when to stop. I believe it also takes a ton of water that's needed further down the Colorado, which is in itself a damn racist thing to be doing, but it's also racist in other special ways. Its only redeeming features: saguaros, and the small mountain in the middle of the city.
- Los Angeles. UGH. Fuck Los Angeles, and not even in a sexy way. I loathe the architecture and I loathe the dominant culture. It doesn't help that I'm agoraphobic and everything there is just slightly too far apart so the eye of the sun can always find you and pin you to the pavement with its cruel needle. Another city with way too much concrete and not enough trees. Listen, I love the desert but NOT THIS ONE HERE. Also I don't know if you've seen LAPD's budget but they put a truly unbelievable amount of money into being very, very inefficiently very, very racist.
- Portland. Fuck Portland. Fuck Oregon! I hate this city. I hate OSU and I hate Reed Fucking College and I hate everything they got in their downtown except the one pigeon with the wonky foot who was really just trying its best. Racist piece of shit state, racist piece of shit hypocritical image-obsessed city. Fuck Portland!!!