Livable City

I’m twitching. I just pored over some one hundred pages of the Economist’s assiduously researched rankings of the world’s most livable cities. Phheww!

And I can’t believe the venerable Economist’s venerable ranks us 56th in livability out of 140 world cities. It turns out that Detroit (ranking 40) and Cleveland (ranking 44) and Chicago (ranking 32) are better places to live than Manhattan.

Do you seriously believe, as the researchers report, that Detroit has better ethnic restaurants New York? And a world-class city magazine like New York? Furthermore, unlike Detroit’s mayor our Mike Bloomberg’s greeted internationally like a goddamn head of state. And, our museums, including the new MAD (Museum of Arts and Design), just literally next door to me, are enchanting and the best in the world.

The researchers do concede that people might have more money and lead more exciting lives in New York, London or Tokyo, but they claim we face greater challenges in daily living. I disagree.

The generous people at the Economist sent me the Global Livability Survey that explains their rankings. Sort o

Well, it turns out that the first of five categories is “stability”. And according to some of my neighbors and the Economist staff, our prevalence of petty crime is “uncomfortable” (meaning bad). Personally, I almost never worry about petty crime. I was almost mugged in the 70’s when, on 42nd street, a man grabbed my pocketbook. Adrenalin surged. I swerved into traffic, leaving the cowardly would-be thief behind. It’s true that I don’t go into Central Park after dark, but I would behave similarly anywhere.

I can’t believe that in Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit– a tough city– researchers claim there is less petty crime than here.

I take issue with the Economist Intelligence Unit’s view that our threat in New York of civil unrest is merely “tolerable” (not the highest ranking, which is “acceptable”). By contrast, oddly, the threat of civil unrest in Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago is not an issue, and ranked “acceptable.”

Call me crazy, but I always hear foreign languages in the street and give interesting tourists directions to Niketown. Why, then, is New York rated merely “tolerable” when it comes to tourists’ view of our climate?

I protest one obvious survey flaw. For some cryptic reason, Chicago, bitter cold and windy (“the windy city”), is ranked ahead of us by travelers for climate. I bet Detroit and Cleveland, also ranked ahead of us, don’t get our throngs of tourists.

One of the main reasons I moved to the greatest city in the world is great public transportation. But the Economist ranks us as merely “tolerable” for public transportation. I’ve been to Cleveland twice and am perplexed that their public transportation is supposedly better than ours. And why is our road network merely “tolerable” when Cleveland achieves the top ranking “acceptable?”

According to the Brits, quality housing is “acceptable” in Detroit and Chicago, but here it’s only “tolerable.”

Okay, we get a condescending pat on the back when it comes to culture. In Detroit and Cleveland, it’s only “tolerable,” but we’re tied with Chicago with an “acceptable” ranking.

One great reason to have a billionaire Mayor is that he’s not exactly susceptible to bribes. Nonetheless, under the ranking “Cultural hardship: corruption” we receive a ranking of merely “tolerable” as does Detroit. Apparently, there is less corruption in Chicago and Cleveland. Should I blame Wall Street? I do relish Bill Maher’s query: when are we gonna start killing bankers?

I love the hustle and bustle of people in our crowded city streets. A whole other survey revealed that 68% of us have overheard a neighbor having sex. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather overhear or gawk at fascinating pieces of people’s lives than live in the woods anytime.

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