Cityscape

Weird, Wonderful Austin (With a Dash of Texas Bravado for Good Measure)

Mark Bizzell

This is not in California, but springtime off Burnett Road in Austin, Texas.  No cowboys in sight, people arrive to this particular site -- one of the many farmers’ markets that dot the city -- on bicycles and in hybrids to fill their cloth bags with fresh, local produce.  Progressive-minded Austinites embrace their uniqueness just as fiercely as the rest of the state does the cowboy myth, guns and religion.  After all, the city’s unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” can be seen in graffiti, and on T-shirts and coffee mugs.

Hell’s Kitchen, New York’s Most Eccentric Neighborhood, Is Another Victim of Overdevelopment

David Barwinski

Hell’s Kitchen, circa 2000, was perhaps the quintessential New York neighborhood.  It lacked the pristineness of the Upper East Side, the stroller barrage of the Upper West Side, the fratiness of Murray Hill, the socioeconomic gap of Chelsea, and the tourist hordes of the Village. More than 10 years later, things have changed.  And its story is New York’s story.       

Vietnam Promises ‘La Dolce Vita’ Only for Those Who Can Afford It

Nguoi Viet

It has been months since Le Thi Nu has had breakfast. A street vendor who travels around Hanoi on a bicycle selling plastic slippers, high prices have forced her to cut spending on eating, even though a baguette would cost 15 cents. Standing outside a crowded restaurant on Quan Su Street, where a bowl of soup would cost more than half her monthly income, she finds it difficult to come to terms with the spending of the rich.

New York's Ever-Changing Character: Creating a New City Experience

Carol Berens

New York City today can shock those who remember the 1970s or 80s, or even the early 2000s. Viewed as a crime-laden center, it now boasts swaths of green and corner cafés. Several decades ago, the difference between suburbs and cities was stark. Suburbs had fancy shopping malls and were perceived as clean and safe; cities, slathered with graffiti, were dangerous. The flight of the middle class from New York, as well as many urban centers, was staunched. Today, parks ring the waterfronts, bike paths parallel auto lanes, and Whole Foods and Sephora nestle in every neighborhood. After complaining about dirt and crime for so long, are we really ready for the “suburban city”?

New York vs. Chicago: Rating the Charms of the Big Apple and the Windy City

Beth Kaiserman

Two cities. One a thriving metropolis of Midwestern opportunity, the other a concrete nexus of humanity searching for answers. Chicago and New York City. Both bustling with young people full of hopes and dreams. Both attracting hoards of newcomers eager to drink craft beers in the “up-and-coming” neighborhoods on the outskirts of downtown. But each city boasts its own charms, and at least one reason why its born-and-bred citizens won’t call anywhere else home.

Why Tourists Are Flocking Back to Mexico

Louis E.V. Nevaer

Despite relentless coverage of the Mexican drug war by U.S. news media over the last several years, tourism to Mexico is rebounding strongly. Following three years of sharp decline that began in April 2009, when fears over H1N1 – the virus commonly known as “swine flu” -- effectively shut down most of the nation to foreign travel, visitors arriving in Mexico by air jumped to 22 million in 2011. That number is expected to increase again this year.

A Walk Into Brooklyn

Anna Elizabeth Mazzariello

Typical tourists rarely visit all five boroughs that comprise New York City; sightseers ascend the Empire State Building or stroll through Central Park.  Only the genuinely curious, however, will cross the East River into Brooklyn.  For some, the decision to explore Brooklyn feels overwhelming: the most populous of New York City’s boroughs and the second largest in area, with an ethnic milieu representing virtually every culture.

Welcome to (That Other) Spanish City

Alyssa Avallon

Valencia offers a perfect balance of city and beach, as it lies right on the east coast of Spain (it’s sunny an average of 300 days per year). Although it has received mixed reviews from visitors who claim that it pales in comparison to Madrid and Barcelona, the city still offers a unique blend of charms.

 

Moscow vs. St. Petersburg: A Travel Guide with Literary Aspirations

Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya

Moscow or St. Petersburg? If you’ve ever found yourself a foreigner in Russia, chances are you’ve been asked this question. After taking in the perfectly proportioned boulevards and neoclassical facades of St. Petersburg and the congested highways and architectural indecision of Moscow, you may have even attempted to answer it. In this country of “two capitals,” an outsider’s opinion provides valuable justification for a city-dweller’s pride.

The Most Underrated City in the U.S.?

Luke Lavoie

A resident praises Baltimore’s charms.

When you think of Baltimore, what comes to mind? It could be sports as Baltimore is home to both the Orioles and the Ravens. Maybe it’s films and TV shows like Hairspray and The Wire, both set in this Maryland mainstay.  Or perhaps crabs, the city’s trademark cuisine.

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