Sunday, October 5, 2014

Urbanism: Why I Am Fascinated By Large Cities - A Photo-Essay

(Drivebycuriosity) - I am fascinated by large cities, the larger the more they impress me.  I grew up in a small and sleepy town in southern Germany. A trip to London in my late teens opened a new and exciting world for me. It kindled my desire to live in a metropolis. Later travels to Rome, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Mumbai, Singapore and other big cities amplified my crave.

Now I am a resident of New York City. The place is expensive, extremely loud and very dirty - especially when compared with the clean and tidy German town Bonn, where I had lived before for more than 2 decades. The US metropolis is also very crowded and might be more my dangerous. But there are so many advantages that I prefer a huge city to tiny towns and the countryside.

The biggest plus in my eyes is the huge variety. Metropolises like New York or London give you  ubiquitous choices. I believe that the huge selection raises the quality of life. It increases the chance to find exactly what you want and makes your life more entertaining.

                                                         Variety Is The Spice Of Life

New York has more of everything. You find there myriads of groceries, shops for clothes, furniture, kitchen equipment - ore anything  else - and the next shop is much much closer, a benefit from the high density. New York City is full with restaurants which cater almost any taste and serve every cuisine of the world in different varieties. Going there is almost like travelling thousands of miles to very far regions.

Metropolisis also are universes of culture & entertainment. New York City for instance has a impressive accumulation of gorgeous museums like MoMa, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Museum and other collections.  Recently I enjoyed Berlin´s awsome museums, including gems like the Pergamon, Neue National Galerie, Hamburger Bahnhof, Altes & Neues Museum. London impresses with Tate Gallery & Tate Modern, National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum and more. And in uprising places like Shanghai and Dubai new museums are popping up like mushrooms.

There are  clusters of art galleries which offer a huge spectrum of mostly contemporary art. There are plenty ocassions to discover artists and experience the pulse of the art world. In New York City almost any day somewhere is an opening reception for a new and interesting exhibition. Often these events  are parties where you can meet a lot of cool people.

Metropolises like New York, London and Paris also present opera houses and myriads of theater stages to satisfy almost any taste for ambitious entertainment and mental enrichment. Every day there some dozens of music events from operas over philharmonic concerts to different strands of jazz, rock music and pop. And there are many cinema theater which not just play the latest block buster, you also can see a lot of independent & foreign language movies which are neglected in the countryside.

There are plenty of nightclubs, cafes, bars, cinemas and other leisure places. The high density of the city - and the short ways - also makes it easier to host and to attend parties.

                                                                    Hustle Bustle

I also enjoy the architecture. Ok, New York City cannot compete anymore with the skyscrapers of Shanghai or Dubai. But the US metropolis has a fascinating mixture of old and new and there a legions of buidings with interesting styles.

Part of the fun are the huge billboards which you can spot almost everywhere in Manhattan. Global companies are investing huge sums to be visible there. Therefore the gigantic advertisements - which dwarf cars and pedestrians - are the makeup on New York City`s face.

Metropolises like New York have sex appeal because they are full of life. Woody Allen praised - in the begin on his movie "Manhattan"- the "hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic" and claimed that "New York meant beautiful women". Once I talked in a New York bar with an Mexican who told me that he comes frequently to Manattan because of the girls. He praised their variety: mango, vanilla, chocolade and more. No wonder that  metropolises are meccas of fashion and global magnets for models from all over the world.

You can see there millions of people who are very different from each other. The diversity of cultures is one of the most valuable assets of the metropolis. "In a village you don’t bump into the stranger who changes your life; in a city you might", said someone. No wonder, that I met my wife when I was on vacation in Manhattan.

In case you have had enough from all the "hustle bustle" and the often bemoaned concred canyons, New York City has enough  parks and gardens to escape and to relax.

Metropolises are full of surprises. Enjoy.

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