Home / General / Our Little Italy has a Bucca De Beppo <i>and</i> an Olive Garden!

Our Little Italy has a Bucca De Beppo and an Olive Garden!

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I fondly recall my most recent visit to bustling Manhattan town, in which I visited an upscale restaurant called “Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company” in the city’s so-called Creole district.

As anyone who’s spent time there knows, New Yorkers can be as provincial as anyone, and the New York Times reflects this not infrequently, particularly in the Styles section. (Cf. also “yoga studios, artisanal cocktails, and women with visible tattoos, whose worldwide availability was limited to Brooklyn until six months ago, have now made it all the way to Westchester County!“)

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  • Atrios

    Sadly our Olive Garden closed, leaving our nascent “Little Italy” neigborhood a bit lacking in upscale Italian.

    I would’ve been fine calling the actual Italian-American neighborhood “Little Italy” despite the fact that no one calls it that, but Maggiano’s is actually right by Chinatown, or as the locals call it “Chop Suey Town”

    • Nah. Would you go around looking for Manhattan’s North End?

      Though I just remembered a conversation with my father where he seemed convinced Boston must have a “Center City.”

      edit: Anyway, the pope should have gone to that tiny place my parents used to take me to that plays Mario Lanza records constantly.

      • There was a brief moment around 1900 when the Bronx was “the North End.” Thankfully, that indigestible lump of lexicography passed, following a fitful night and a lot of glasses of water.

        • mch

          Whah? My family were that North End Bronx. To this day, the Bronx is a wonder. I am offended.

      • Hogan

        Victor’s Cafe has singing waitstaff. Opera mostly, but they can be persuaded to do show tunes.

    • Gwen

      “Our corporate vision is to to leverage the synergies inherent in co-locating the world’s great pasta-consuming cultures.”

      • njorl

        So… would I order Alfredo Lo Mein or Lo Mein Alfredo?

        • Gwen

          I believe it would be a “Lo Mein Alfredo.” Lo mein is the noodle, Alfredo is the sauce.

          • Denverite

            “sauce”

            • DW

              “Gravy”

              • Hogan

                South Philly thanks you.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I’ve heard “gravy” for red sauce in Mass., too, though it was only one person. AFAIK they didn’t have family in Pennsylvania.

          • njorl

            That’s how it would be in an Italian restaurant. In a Chinese place they put the starch last – beef lo mein, shrimp fried rice etc.

      • Malaclypse

        Three words: “Chop Suey Sandwiches.”

        • Be careful you don’t get a chopped suet sandwich. Blergh.

          • Hey! I lost 150 pounds on that diet! I divorced her!

        • Lee Rudolph

          When Elizabeth Warren was campaigning for Senate, we went to her Fall River fundraiser, and some union local or other did indeed serve up the local specialty, chop suey sandwiches.

  • Sly

    “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.” – John Updike

    Yes, we’re provincial. But we pretend that we aren’t, and that’s the important part.

    • wjts

      A number of them, in my experience, believe it openly and volubly. (Though to be Scrupulously Fair, I certainly believe that anyone who voluntarily lives in New York City has to be kidding as well.)

      • Scott Lemieux

        Yeah, Updike was really wrong about “secretly.”

        • Thirtyish

          Admittedly, after living here for a month and a half, I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else at this point in my life.

          • mch

            Yeah. A lot of NYC envy here.You can spot the people who are working off of that envy quickly. They buy into some Frank Sinatra vision of the town or something, not the as-lived-by -the-real-people this site pretends to represent. Gets boring.The NYT is not exactly NYC, sorry, but who in their right mind would have so imagined?. Well, anyway, I do love Philadelphia, too. Not its fault the Erie Canal and the terrible navigability of the Delaware. And of course I love Boston. Let’s count the ways the shores exploit the interiors!

    • Thirtyish

      Pride and joy and greed and sex,
      That’s what makes our town the best!

      • Scott Lemieux

        Are the East River truckers still churning with trash?

  • Philadelphia, to New Yorkers, is just a bad attempt to try to be New York.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Also to other people.

      • This is so wrong. Philadelphians try to be the anti-NY. You have skycrapers? Fine, we’ll refuse to build anything taller than the top of Billy Penn’s hat etc.

        • Manny Kant

          They gave up on that one about 30 years ago.

      • We spit on such New Yorkers.

        To be fair, we can be persuaded to spit on nearly anyone.

        • tonycpsu

          We spit on throw batteries at such New Yorkers.

          FTFY.

          But seriously, New Yorkers are still doing the “LOL Philly wants to be like us but can’t” routine in 2015? Brooklyn alone has about as many people as Philly does. Philly is very comfortable playing Robin to NYC’s Batman to get all the people for whom the “nobody goes there, it’s too crowded” line is actually true.

          • playing Robin to NYC’s Batman

            NYC never never asked Philly to run around in booty shorts.

            • Hogan

              That image would make the top three in a “Too Weird for 1970s-Era Times Square” contest.

            • tsam

              Yes, well, booty shorts without the cape is just beyond comprehension.

              • Halloween Jack

                1970s Times Square laughs at your small-town naivete.

                • Hogan

                  Then blackjacks you and takes your wallet and your watch.

          • We spit on throwspit batteries at such New Yorkers.

            FTFY.

            FIFY.

            I love NY, I really do. I can easily imagine living there happily. But it’d be different than living in Philly or Boston. And some of those differences are valuable and worth a tradeoff.

            I mean, London isn’t NY either! I love London, but it’s different and I miss things about NY when I’m there and about London when I’m in NY.

            • mch

              Yes

          • Chuchundra

            Philly is more like Syndrome to New York’s Mr Incredible.

            • Way smarter and technically inclined but with a big ole chip on his shoulder about NY/Mr Incredible?

              First part yes, second part no. I’ll spot you the moral depravity but it’s sui generis.

        • Origami Isopod

          And their robots!

    • njorl

      You’ve got it backwards. Sometime in the 18th century New York decided it wanted to be Philadelphia – the second largest English-speaking city on Earth. They succeeded.

      • Linnaeus

        I spent a month in Philadelphia about 10 years ago doing research for my dissertation at the American Philosophical Society library. I liked the city a lot.

        • Incidentally, the correct formulation here is Philadelphia is like Queens was about 10 years ago. Small scale and full of interesting things that Manhattanites don’t care about (Catholic schools, hole-in-the-wall ethnic joints etc.) Sadly, just as gentrification has discovered Queens, it’s coming to Philly (and already has in Center City, Northern Libs, and now Fishtown). Since folks choose the ugliest parts of the city to gentrify (seriously, Kensington?) my neighborhood should be safe.

  • Honoré De Ballsack

    As anyone who’s spent time there knows, New Yorkers can be as provincial as anyone, and the New York Times reflects this not infrequently, particularly in the Styles section.

    New Yorkers may or may not be provincial, but reading the NYT Styles section is always sort of like watching a TED.com video. One wonders about the complete and total obliviousness to observed reality that must be necessary to produce such content.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      I love how when the Public Editor calls them on some BS like monocles or other “Brooklyn” nonsense, the reporters and editors say, “Read carefully, we didn’t say it was a trend, we just said it was something we saw.” To parrot Atrios, um, maybe don’t call it Styles then?

      • Just_Dropping_By

        Well, it’s a style!

        • UserGoogol

          I unironically endorse that interpretation. Certainly there are articles where they very strongly imply that this is a trend, or are detached from reality in other ways, but if they want to do an article which is just “here’s something some people are doing which is aesthetically kind of neat” that’s a style.

    • NewishLawyer

      The amount of rage that the Sunday Styles section gets perplexes me. It is called the Styles section, it is not exactly the place to get reporting. The frothiness is there for everyone to see in the title. I am not so interested in the Sports, Business, and Tech sections so I don’t read them.

      Yet there seems to be a preserve pleasure that people read the Styles section just to get angry. And I’d bet money that the Times knows this and baits the hate-readers intentionally at this point.

      • Hogan

        Fluff is one thing. “Maggiano, an upscale Italian restaurant in Philadelphia’s Little Italy,” contains nothing that is true except for the word “Italian restaurant.”

        For that matter, I wouldn’t call a TED talk comparison “rage.”

        • Manny Kant

          They didn’t even get the name of the restaurant right.

          • Manju

            …not even on the 2nd try:

            Correction: September 28, 2015
            An earlier version of this article misstated the location of Maggiano, a restaurant in Philadelphia. It is located north of the city’s Little Italy neighborhood, not in it.

            • Manny Kant

              Jesus Christ. That’s actually even worse.

            • Hogan

              As one might say that the Chrysler Building is located north of Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, not in it.

              • JMP

                Except that at least there is a neighborhood called Soho in Manhattan, so that would still be technically accurate.

                • Hogan

                  Fair point.

            • joho9119

              What exactly is Philly’s “Little Italy”?? King of Prussia? I have no clue what the NYT piece was talking about.

              Also, Maggiano’s? A local chain? NYT couldn’t try less if they were paid to.

              • DW

                What exactly is Philly’s “Little Italy”??

                Gate A10 at PHL, during the six months per year that USAirways/AA run a Philadelphia-Rome flight.

                • Denverite

                  I know someone once who was taking the return leg of that flight and the radar or communications or whatnot weren’t working properly, so they had to fly the old UK-Iceland-Greenland-Newfoundland route where you’re always within eyesight of land. Said it took about 14 hours.

                • I flew that route when I was coming back from Ireland when the volcano was erupting there in 2010. It was amazing to look over Greenland. Took forever though.

                • Denverite

                  Did you know most geologists now think Greenland is three islands? We’ve just never been able to tell because of the glaciers. It probably won’t be so surprising to my kids by the time they’re middle aged, when they can just look on googlemaps. Global warming and all.

              • Ahuitzotl

                New York. New York is Philly’s Little Italy

      • Jordan

        No one I’ve seen so far is raging. They are somewhat gently mocking something you are sympathetic for. I understand how for most people the former can seem like the latter.

        • LeeEsq

          The mocking of the New York Times style section seems to go beyond gentle and into some real anger at times. The style section does help pay for all the international and domestic reporting though.

          • Hogan

            Usually when they’re doing the “pity the upper-middle-class white people in the $3.5 million brownstone because there’s something they can’t have” thing. But that’s not this.

            • Those are worth a *bit* of rage.

            • The one that sent Mrs_B into a frothing rage was “pity the upper middle class white people because living in a $3.5 million brownstone means they have to go up and down stairs quite often.”

      • Honoré De Ballsack

        The NYT Styles section often evokes something very close to clenched-jaw rage in me. It is also true that much of the output of Matthew Yglesias, Megan McArdle, Antonin Scalia, most of the present GOP Presidential candidates and, as noted above, TED.com– produces a similar reaction. It’s the combination of “wrote-this-in-five-minutes” material with the breezy delivery of someone who’s never, ever been required to actually defend their thinking, that really drives me up the wall.

        • brad

          And not coincidentally self blind children of privilege looking for things to discuss at McMegan’s not at all passive aggressively “cute” themed dinner parties like McMegan herself or Yglesias are the target market for the Styles section.

      • I think it’s not so much rage as bafflement; New York is one of the world’s great cities, but the NYT Styles section could be picked up and dropped into the LA Times without seeming at all out of place. It’s so amazingly provincial that it’s hard to imagine that anyone who writes for it has been any closer to NYC than Albany.

    • The Temporary Name

      New Yorkers may or may not be provincial

      Actual New Yorker quoted: “Do you get channel 3?”

  • Hogan

    But the real action was at Gavin’s Cafe at 26th and Pine, the heart of the city’s bustling Argentine district.

    • wjts

      My brother used to live in Hattusatown.

      • Ahuitzotl

        Was that when they had upgraded from 2-horse to 4-horse chariots?

        EtA: I suppose there’s another meaning to Hattusa than capital of the Hittite Empire?

        • wjts

          Nope. The joke is that there’s a Hittite neighborhood in Philadelphia.

  • Gwen

    Does this work for gays? Can I claim that my neighborhood is a gayborhood / gay ghetto because I live there?

    • LeeEsq

      Maybe not your entire neighborhood but we will give you your domicile as a gayocile.

      • Origami Isopod

        I think “homocile” would be more euphonic.

        • so-in-so

          “Domicile” works as is for some preferences.

          • Gwen

            How about a sublease?

            • LeeEsq

              I think the number of people who are really into kinky sex and real estate and want to combine their two hobbies is going to be on the low side.

              • Honoré De Ballsack

                You’d be surprised.

                • LeeEsq

                  Christian Grey is not a real person. He might not even qualify as a real fictional character.

              • Dealing with NYC real estate is nothing if not masochistic.

                • LeeEsq

                  Its not the good type of pain though.

  • Eli Rabett

    So, you gotta have someplace where the people from upstate can eat.

    • LeeEsq

      Another joy is watching people who never took public transportation in their life trying to figure out the subway.

      • matt w

        Watching Native New Yorkers trying to figure out changes in subway service has its own pleasures.

        My favorite was when, IIRC, the uptown platform at Lower Broadway was closed and the announcement was made, “To go uptown, take the F train to Jay Street.”

        As for the idea that everyone in the chain restaurants is from upstate, LOL.

        • Scott Lemieux

          As for the idea that everyone in the chain restaurants is from upstate, LOL.

          Yeah, the Starbucks, Popeye’s, and McDonald’s near where I lived in Brooklyn were always mobbed. Amazing how many tourists come to look at Borough Hall at all hours!

          The idea that chain restaurants are something only suburbanite rubes visit is exactly the provincialism I’m talking about. (Can I also mention here that the typical Famous Original Ray’s Famous Original Ray’s slice is only a marginal improvement over Sbarro?)

          • Eli Rabett

            The places near where you lived in Brooklyn were always full of you:)

          • Origami Isopod

            The idea that chain restaurants are something only suburbanite rubes visit is exactly the provincialism I’m talking about.

            Well, duh, the only people in New York who count are the food snobs.

            • Scott Lemieux

              The Shake Shack got a goddamned star in the NYT. They always seem very crowded. But that doesn’t count as a fast food chain because something!

              • brewmn

                Chicago going completely apeshit over Princess Di, Dennis Rodman, and recently the Shake Shack proves we are, and always shall be, the Second City.

                • wjts

                  Huh? Shake Shack is fine (no better and no worse than Five Guys, as I remember from the one time I ate there), but it’s not like you couldn’t get a good burger in Chicago.

              • Scott Lemieux

                The salient virtue of Shake Shack is that it improves the quality of food at Citi Field. (Hattie’s is still where to go at Saratoga.) If you’re not at the ballpark, though…it’s good for an overcooked fast food burger with worse fries than McDonald’s, and that’s all it is. (I can’t judge vs. Five Guys because of allergy issues.)

          • NonyNony

            Can I also mention here that the typical Famous Original Ray’s Famous Original Ray’s slice is only a marginal improvement over Sbarro?

            THANK YOU!

          • Just_Dropping_By

            Can I also mention here that the typical Famous Original Ray’s Famous Original Ray’s slice is only a marginal improvement over Sbarro?

            Given that moist cardboard is a marginal improvement over Sbarro, I’m appalled.

          • wjts

            Can I also mention here that the typical Famous Original Ray’s Famous Original Ray’s slice is only a marginal improvement over Sbarro?

            Well, duh. The good stuff’s at Ray’s Original Famous and Famous Ray’s Original. (Original Ray’s Famous should be avoided like the plague.)

          • mch

            Okay, I am going to cut to the chase. All this is so weird. Maybe because I have had family living in NYC since the 1820’s? Anyway, if you want to understand NYC, Scott (for all his many virtues) is hardly the place to go. I am not sure where to send you: to NYC? Maybe start from Jeremiah Moss? I dunno. Let’s do the Roman Empire n a day, that’s the level of this post.

        • Honoré De Ballsack

          My favorite was when, IIRC, the uptown platform at Lower Broadway was closed and the announcement was made, “To go uptown, take the F train to Jay Street.”

          If one has lived here long enough, one becomes resigned to the fact that on some weekends, all subway traffic is going to be re-routed through Jay St/Metrotech and West 4th St.

          • matt w

            Counterintuitively, I’ve found that reading the signs that say what the service changes are can be very helpful.

            I mean, I still wound up going through Jay St. on the way from Manhattan to Queens, but at least I knew I was going through Jay St. I’m pretty sure a lot of those poor native New Yorkers wound up on the J.

        • brad

          Native New Yorkers have mostly learned not to try to use the subway on the weekend anymore. Tho the free shuttle buses can be useful.

      • Ahuitzotl

        pretty much OT, but you reminded me of guests at my first wedding – my wife’s godparents – we had to teach them how to use an escalator and they became entranced, spending a whole morning riding up to the 6th floor and back down again.

    • Gwen

      Where does “upstate” start exactly? Yonkers?

      • tonycpsu

        To most New Yorkers I’ve met, somewhere around 150th.

        • Eli Rabett

          The Bronx can be a strange and wonderful place.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        I’m from there originally. My New Yorker friends from college thought either I must have lived in Scarsdale, or among cows. After moving to NYC I met people who figured if you were white and “from upstate,” your dad probably worked at a prison.

      • LeeEsq

        As I life-long down-state resident, I define upstate as anything north of Poughkeepsie. If you can get to New York city by a transit service run by the MTA than your not living in upstate New York.

        • matt w

          No, it’s Yonkers.

          ETA: I mean, by your definition, Ossining isn’t upstate. When you get sent upstate where do you think you go?

          • LeeEsq

            Who do you trust? Me or the cops?

    • brad

      You mean the people from Jersey and Orange county. The type you mean from upstate, which, sorry, means north of Albany, folks, don’t come down here. There’s black people here who aren’t behind bars. That’s skerrrry.

      • Jackov

        If the tourists stay in Manhattan they should feel right at home.

  • NewishLawyer

    I am as New York partisan as they come but it is questionable if and when I will ever get back to living in or around NYC. I have been in San Francisco for 7 years and have been putting down real roots here with work, friends, family, love, etc. That being said, I still experience intense pangs of home sickness and it is almost certainly a mistake for me to read something like the Talk of the Town section of the New Yorker or the arts section of the New York times. It really hurts to admit that I might not move back to New York for my life for some reason I can’t quite articulate. Some observations:

    1. New Yorkers can be just as provincial as anyone else if not more so.

    2. I’ve always wondered whether the “real New Yorkers” are those who move from other states because they were the ones who had a dream of what life in New York would be like. I am a New Yorker by accident of birth. I grew up on Long Island so it was almost natural that New York would be the city I would move to after undergrad. A lot of my friends from college or other places dreamed of New York while growing up as arty misfits in the Midwest or other places. Bernie Sanders moved to Vermont in the 1960s or 70s (even if he can’t shake the accent) HRC did not become a New Yorker until 2000.

    3. Lots of places have great food cultures. Lots of places have great music scenes (with some variation on types of music). Very few places can top New York for the arts otherwise. San Francisco has a great dance scene but theatre is much more hit or miss here. The Castro is good but I have yet to find something like Film Forum or other great foreign/arthouse/revival theatres. Perhaps the Criterion Collection on Hulu makes places like Film Forum unnecessary. New York also gets really interesting import theatre at Lincoln Center Summer’s Festival and BAM’s Next Wave festival. I might eventually get to see a touring or local production of Hamilton or Fun Home but it will probably be many years away. The touring productions that come to SF tend to be much more mainstream surprisingly.

    4. I am still not used to California weather and miss autumn and early winter.

    5. There is just something in my heart that makes New York home in ways that other places won’t be.

    • Halloween Jack

      New Yorkers can be just as provincial as anyone else if not more so.

      When I worked for the Brooklyn Public Library, I was staggered when talking to some of my coworkers who said that they couldn’t remember the last time they were in Manhattan.

      • Scott Lemieux

        When I interviewed for my job in NYC, I was put up in a “bread and breakfast” (i.e. a room in the apartment of a woman with an extensive photo collection she enjoyed sharing. Like all breads and breakfasts on job interviews but more so, this is the WORST THING EVER.) Whether it was museums, shopping, restaurants — everything would seem to suggest that she rarely left a 10 block radius of the Upper West Side.

      • djw

        I faintly recall a late night interview–Letterman maybe–long ago of someone, probably an author, who was fairly old, talking about growing up on either the Upper West Side or Upper East Side, and making the claim that as teenagers, he and most of his friends had literally never set foot in the other one. (The Wire addressed this too, when Bodey didn’t understand what was happening to the radio on their Philadelphia trip, as he’d never left the station’s range before.)

        • NewishLawyer

          1. Depending on the age of the author, he could have been referring to when the neighborhoods were much more ethnic and/or class divided. The Upper-East Side contained Yorkville which was a German-American working class neighborhood and quite anti-Semitic during the pre-WWII era. This is largely forgotten history but it existed.

          2. Now both the UWS and UES are seen as being wealthy and they are but to New Yorkers they represent different groups. The UWS is supposed to be more artistic, intellectual, bohemian and shabby-chic. The UES especially near Museum Mile is mega-wealth in a displayed manner. If you go further East, it gets more middle-class. Whit Stillman covered this well in Metropolitan.

      • Ronan

        This seems to be a universal truth. I remember chatting to someone in London once who claimed he hadnt left Brixton in two decades, and he must have been in his early 30s at most. I implied he should get a grip and take a day trip somewhere, anywhere!, but he was having none of it.

        • Ahuitzotl

          given the mutual loathing between Londoners and the English, he may be making a good call.

    • sparks

      Eh, what part of “California weather” are you not used to?

      • nixnutz

        The weather is 99% of what I miss about San Francisco and I can say honestly that in 15 years living there I never for a moment missed anything about New England weather. I love early fall and having it year-round is just perfect.

        • NewishLawyer

          The Bay Area’s fall is much more subtle than fall in the Northeast. You miss the brilliant color changes and the air is too damp. Northeast autumns are cool and crisp and I miss the crispness.

          • nixnutz

            I guess, I was just so happy that I could wear wool all year round that I never shared the “I miss seasons” thing. It’s very much like my favorite time of year every evening.

      • JMP

        Personally, as someone who moved from Philadelphia to the Bay Area a few years ago, the very dry air all year round is a big problem, there’s also the danger of fires that last weeks instead of hours and do damage measured in square miles, and I kind of do miss having rain and even snow. And temperatures above 100 degrees are just ridiculous – and no, it doesn’t matter that “but it’s a dry heat”, that is just unbearably hot, yet it comes quite often in the summers here.

        • sparks

          It’s a funny thing, but we had easily distinguishable seasons here in the northern part of CA until global warming and the current drought. I could tell you what kind of weather and how much rain you would have each month with relative accuracy. It really was that predictable. Those 100+ degree temps were always around, and even now there aren’t more than in the 1970s. Having lived here so long, I don’t see what is so horrible about them of course, the humidity is often under 20%.

    • Linnaeus

      5. There is just something in my heart that makes New York home in ways that other places won’t be.

      I can relate to this. I feel much the same way about where I grew up, too.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Nothing, repeat, nothing in my heart makes Cleveland home in any way, shape, or form; much less, Ohio at large.

        On the other hand, economically devastated mill towns in southern New England do feel like home, presumably because they remind me so strongly (despite different architectural traditions and entirely different industrial histories) of the Cleveland Flats that I knew from my earliest childhood (when my parents would get me to go to sleep at night by driving down in my father’s Model A into the flats and around the American Steel & Wire mills) through the summer after my first year of college (when I had my first—of only two, ever—honest summer job, delivering ball bearings throughout Cuyahoga County). Things and people winding, or wound, down.

        • Linnaeus

          I can understand that. This kind of sentiment really does vary from person to person – I know quite a few folks who were happy to leave wherever they were at and keep it that way.

          Me, it wasn’t so much that I was happy to move but that I had an opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of that wasn’t available elsewhere. So, I did and I think I’m the better for it. I like where I’m at now, but I’ll always feel a bit out of place here.

          • wjts

            My upbringing was sufficiently rootless that home has almost always been wherever I’m living at the time (Texas being the only exception), though I suppose I’ll always miss Chicago – where I spent my early adulthood – a little bit.

      • Ronan

        Ive come to appreciate home more over the past few years, I have to say, although I didnt live there for a decent while and wont in the future. (Particularly as everyone gets older, and new ones arrive on the scene) I guess this is a sign that the cocaine and champagne breakfast phase of life is over.
        Having said that, I wont be writing maudlin poetry about it just yet.

    • Barry Freed

      Re your #3. NYC has the best art house/revival/repertory cinema culture in the world with the possible exception of Paris. Film Forum, IFC center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Museum of the Moving Image, BAMcinematek, etc. And another one is opening soon (the Metrograph, I think). I used to see anywhere between 8-14 films a week, and almost all on 35mm. It’s the #1 thing I really miss about moving out of NYC and overseas.

      The food is great sure, but I’m living in a city in the GCC with great food culture too. Cinema, not so much.

      • wjts

        Chicago has some great art house/revival houses, though they’re farther and fewer between than in New York City. (Doc Films at the University of Chicago is a particular treasure, but more than a little out of the way for most Chicagoans.)

    • Philip

      4. I am still not used to California weather and miss autumn and early winter.

      I’ve been in CA for 4 years and change after growing up in Michigan and New Jersey, and this. I miss winter in general, really. I love winter. I am weird.

  • The Invisible Hand

    Clearly, Philadelphia has failed. It goes without saying that a “Paint the Argentinian Pope” dinner party can only happen at an “Upscale Italian Restaurant”, that is also surrounded by Italians. Something the City Planners of Philadelphia failed to deliver.

    Thankfully the New York Times has saved yet another American city with this glorious gift of a brand new “Little Italy”.

    Use it well, Philadelphia.

  • NewishLawyer

    All the above being said, there are many cities in the U.S. that I like including the great New York sins of liking Boston/Cambridge/Sommerville and Philadelphia. But I am very mucha Northeast or Northwest kind of guy.

    • But I am very mucha Northeast or Northwest kind of guy.

      I find these two regions share almost nothing in common.

      • NewishLawyer

        The weather is close enough and both have real autumns (I went to Seattle in October a few years ago to check out the city and also because I wanted to experience autumn. Seattle did not disappoint that weekend. The weather was cool and crisp and smelled of roasting potatoes.) I like having seasons.

        • Linnaeus

          Autumn in Seattle is very nice, but doesn’t quite have the color that it does in the Upper Midwest (or Northeast, so I’m told).

          • ColBatGuano

            Yeah, our maples need some colorizing.

      • Antipathy for the South?

      • NewishLawyer

        The cities in the United States I would live in except New York at Boston/Cambridge/Sommerville, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C. No particular order here. Potentially Denver as well.

        I am not really a Southern California kind of guy and am certainly not a Southern guy.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          Given your healthy listing of NE and NW cities, one must ask: which Portland?

          And anyone who makes less than “all the money” who is considering living in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville needs to look at Providence, Salem, and Worcester, which all cost 30% to 50% as much as Boston and have mostly reliable commuter rail service into the city. Lowell too, perhaps. Average one-bedroom in Boston/Cambridge is like $2300/month now, behind just San Francisco and NYC.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I hear the urban planners in Lowell can be a little ornery, though.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              Lowell still has many issues ahead of it, but they’ve turned a lot of those old, solid mills into pretty nice housing stock. For some people, that will be worth the tradeoff of the commute and fewer things to do around where they live. But yeah, Lowell hasn’t quite turned the corner the way Salem and Providence have.

              • joe from Lowell

                Everyone talks about the mills. And the mills are great. I used to live in a mill, right near the National Park Visitor’s Center. It was awesome.

                But what no one talks about is the revitalization of the neighborhoods, which was driven a lot more by immigration than by the historic preservation/industrial history push. All those vacant storefronts being filled is just as important as the mills, at least in terms of Lowell’s health.

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  That’s very true; Lowell has almost indisputably been New England’s best foot forward for “Gateway Cities.” And having occupied storefronts and restaurants is a huge step to revitalization, and likely does more for Lowell than mills where neo-hipsters live for a few hours when they aren’t working in Boston or commuting on the train.

                • joe from Lowell

                  I don’t want to underplay the importance of the more well-known half of Lowell’s renaissance. But it’s just half.

                  There are plenty of locals in the mills. A lot of the mill units are protected affordable housing and senior housing, too.

            • tsam

              SHOTS FIRED!

          • NewishLawyer

            Oregon. Portland, Maine looks charming but a little too small for my tastes.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              It’s very small. Forget the Boston suburbs; there are suburbs of Providence with more people than Portland, Maine – and the suburbs of Portland are basically small villages.

              • joe from Lowell

                In terms of culture, though, Portland a bigger deal than that population suggests. It’s the metropolitan draw for an entire state, as well as an international port. It’s definitely a more sophisticated city than Lowell, which is both closer to Boston and almost twice Portland’s size.

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  Portland is a tiny port, and I’m not sure how much culture it draws from being the winter port for oil shipments to eastern Canada. I’ve personally found Portland quite bland compared to its northern-ish New England seaport kin like Portsmouth and Newburyport.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Portland [ME] is really nice. I strongly considered applying for a job at Bowdoin this year. I’ve only seen Portsmouth briefly but would like to go back.

                  (Portland [OR] is great too, but this is less controversial.)

                • joe from Lowell

                  But it’s been an international port for a couple of centuries, and was a major one once upon a time. That produces a certain character, a certain broader outlook, in a city.

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  Most of the kids I knew from not-Maine who went to Bowdoin/Bates/Colby experienced fairly severe “Maine is way too small-itis.” And those winters! The winter we had in Boston last year is more representative of how long snow is on the ground in Maine. Now just make the temperature 10-15 Fahrenheit colder every day.

                  I don’t think Portland was ever really a “major” port even compared to a Newburyport or Portsmouth, let alone a Salem or New Bedford in their respective heydays.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Portland was a much more important port than it size would suggest, because it was for decades the main port for goods crossing the Atlantic to and from Canada during the winter, after the rail link from Montreal to Portland was built. Their own ports iced over.

              • LeeEsq

                Whose inhabitants are charming but keep murdering each other.

          • joe from Lowell

            Lowell to North Station is about 50 minutes. Worcester to South Station is 1:40. Providence to South Station is 1:20. Those are just the train running times.

            Providence and Worcester are just a little too far out to be good as rail-based bedroom communities for Boston. Lowell is marginal.

            • I know people in Providence who commute into Boston. It’s totally insane.

              • Lee Rudolph

                Well, I know someone in Providence who used to take the train up to Jamaica Plain weekly to babysit a grandchild, and it took considerably less than an hour and 20 minutes. So I suppose one might commute from Providence to JP (or a suburb like Dedham) if there was a job there that paid better than a similar job in Providence. But, yeah, commuting to downtown Boston (or to Cambridge, etc.) from Providence is totally insane.

              • Denverite

                I had a job in northern Indiana for a bit when we lived in the south Loop. It was just across the border. Because of the reverse traffic, it took me less time to commute in the morning than it took my spouse to commute to her job in River North (about two-and-a-half miles away). The evening commute took longer.

              • joe from Lowell

                I think it would make more sense to view those three cities as secondary destination cities, and build/restore rail connections to them.

                The rail from New Bedford to Boston is going to be like 2 hours. It would make a lot more sense to hook that Massachusetts south coast area to Providence than to Boston.

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  It’s an interesting thought, but I’m not sure there are any existing rails for a Prov-Fall River-New Befah commuter rail, or even a corridor for such a thing to be constructed. There already is existing track for most of the way to Boston. And Boston’s economy is significantly larger and healthier than Providence’s, which gives more employment options/possibilities for FR and NB residents.

                • joe from Lowell

                  It would have to follow the eastern short of the Narragansett Bay and then cross somewhere.

              • joe from Lowell

                I knew a guy who commuted to Boston from Maine.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Oh, hell. A couple of friends who now live in Portland ME were just here on their way back north from a visit with his daughter on the south-facing coast of MA. They report that there are now not only plenty of people who commute from Portland to Boston (by bus: Amtrak is too slow), but plenty who commute from Portland to Manhattan (by air).

                  Not coincidentally, they report that this will probably be the last year they’ll be able to afford to live in Portland.

                • tsam

                  This reminds me of a story of a dude from out West who went to a class in Forestville, CT. The closest flight (supposedly) landed in Providence. I had to rent a car and drive there, and kept thinking “that’s A WHOLE STATE AWAY!”. It hadn’t occured to me that those states are dinky little guys.

                  Conversely, sometime we have factory bigshots come out West here, and try to plan a day of visiting distributors in Seattle, Vancouver, Spokane and Portland in one day LOL

                • joe from Lowell

                  I interviewed for a job in Portland recently. The guy says their biggest planning problem is keeping up with the crush of development projects.

                • ColBatGuano

                  plan a day of visiting distributors in Seattle, Vancouver, Spokane and Portland in one day LOL

                  By car right? Not hyperdrive?

                • tsam

                  By car right? Not hyperdrive?

                  Yes! We don’t go in for that hyperdrive stuff out here in the pristine West, sir.

                • Linnaeus

                  Yes! We don’t go in for that hyperdrive stuff out here in the pristine West, sir.

                  Just wait until Amazon creates Amazon Teleportation Services.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              I know lots of people who live in Providence, work in Boston, and take the commuter rail or Amtrak (if their employer covers it).

              My personal preference would be Salem. It’s on the ocean, has cheap and plentiful housing, lots of new restaurants, one of the largest art museums in the world (that nobody has ever heard of), and two separate commuter rails run through town (Gloucester and Newburyport) so there are trains going all the time – and it’s about a 30 minute trip to North Station, IIRC. Plus Halloween is a zoo if the weather is decent.

              • joe from Lowell

                The Amtrak line would be a lot faster than the MBTA, but expensive.

                But that just shows what we’re talking about. Providence to Boston in an inter-city trip, not a suburb-to-city commute.

                I never realized Salem was on two lines. Also, I think we may be using the term “cheap and plentiful housing” in a different manner than readers located in other parts of the country.

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  Some of their employees would comp Amtrak tickets, which if you think about it isn’t really more expensive than comping parking in Back Bay or the Financial District. I think the real advantage of Amtrak is that compared to The Who concert of commuter rail cars, riding in Amtrak is very, very quiet. I think the commuter rail cars might be made out of paper for all of the locomotive and wind noise they let in.

                  Yeah, the Gloucester and Newburyport lines split after leaving Beverly, so people in Salem and Beverly (and points south) effectively get twice the number of departure and arrival times.

                  True about housing costs: Salem is a working-class city where an OK 1BR apartment is only like $1000/month and a small house with no yard might be $250k or $300k. These are raging bargains in eastern Massachusetts.

                • Malaclypse

                  Salem also has the commuter ferry to Boston.

              • Origami Isopod

                Salem is cheap to live in? That surprises me.

          • nixnutz

            I’m considering moving back there because my parents are getting older but really the main thing I like about Boston is how cozy the suburbs are. But I grew up with Boston literally next door and I know I’d never afford that again. I can imagine commuting out to some horrid industrial park but commuting from another city to the same place and seeing my family and friends barely more than I do now seems like a shitty deal.

            And I would take Portland ME for sure, lovely town. The train to Boston takes way too long but it’s cheap as hell. I thought Portland Oregon was awesome when I first visited 15 years ago but the longer-time residents seem very angry that economic reality exists and given I probably couldn’t afford one of those cute cottages I’m happy to leave it to the tweakers and neo-nazis.

      • Denverite

        Good seafood.
        Good football teams with overwhelming homefield advantages.
        Overpriced cities with small footprints.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          Large tech clusters.
          The major cities are within two hours of both open ocean and mountains.
          New condo towers full of absentee international owners.

          • Manny Kant

            Not so many of the last one in Philly.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              True enough; I was thinking more along the lines of NYC, Boston, and Seattle.

      • CaptainBringdown

        Portlands.

        • LeeEsq

          If anything is going to lead to the United States to civil war again its going to be some damn foolish thing in the Portlands.

      • LeeEsq

        I’m going to side with Erik rather than my brother on this one. The Northwest has a much more out-doorsy culture than the Northeast. When I had free time to walk around Portland on a work trip, I’ve noticed many more stores selling camping and similar equipment in a few ours than I did in my entire New York experience. From what I hear, Seattle has a strong outdoorsy culture to.

        Fewer residents of the Northeast cities seem to like camping or other wilderness activities as recreation. The choice of entertainment tends to be more urban or homebound. The Northwestern cities seem to have a bit more hippie in them and I mean that in a good sense.

        • NewishLawyer

          True. I am probably a more formal dresser than much of the Northwest from what I’ve heard and read.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          Plenty of people in Boston, Providence, and Hartford positively itch for each Friday to come around to head off into the great outdoors playground of northern (and western) New England. Skiing in the winter, hiking, camping, and watersports whenever there is no snow.

          • Denverite

            I’m unfamiliar with this phenomenon.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              You and I would have hung out in different circles, then.

            • PSP

              I-91 southbound (north of Northampton) is usually pretty empty. On late Sunday afternoon in the fall and winter, however, it is comparable to my New Jersey commute.

              “If it is leaf peeper season, where do I get a license?” is an often repeated joke this time of year.

              • Denverite

                You haven’t seen shit until you’ve seen I-70 east of Idaho Springs on Saturday mornings during ski season. It’s a 20 minute drive from Denver with no traffic. It’s 1.5-2 hours with ski traffic. I had to turn around last year because I didn’t think I had enough gas to make it the last five miles into Idaho Springs.

          • NewishLawyer

            This is true but from what friends have told me about the Northwest, hiking clothing is basically everyday clothing in Oregon. You can’t get away with that in Mass.

            Though you can get away with wearing sandals with socks in Mass until and possibly after first snow fall and this perplexes me. I am not very hippy.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              “This is true but from what friends have told me about the Northwest, hiking clothing is basically everyday clothing in Oregon. You can’t get away with that in Mass.”

              But you can in Maine and New Hampshire and Vermont (VT admittedly has no city-sized cities). LL Beans and all that.

            • Origami Isopod

              Though you can get away with wearing sandals with socks in Mass until and possibly after first snow fall and this perplexes me. I am not very hippy.

              It depends on where you work. The greater Boston area has a markedly more formal business dress culture than most of the country does.

            • This is true but from what friends have told me about the Northwest, hiking clothing is basically everyday clothing in Oregon. You can’t get away with that in Mass.

              You can get away with that. It’s just that your department colleagues make fun of you. Or so I’ve heard.

            • You can’t get away with that in Mass.

              Oh, yeah, in tech you can. Maybe not in Boston and Cambridge and the places that hire young kids, but in the older industries/circles out between 128 and 495, there’s little other choice, actually.

          • Lee Rudolph

            and watersports whenever there is no snow

            and, BANG! that ol’ commodius vicus brings us back to the intersection of Real Estate and Kink.

          • Davis X. Machina

            There are enough of them to keep a whole raft of small ex-mill towns going — Conway/No. Conway, Bridgton, South Paris/Norway, Bethel, Farmington — not flourishing, but ticking over.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              Bethel, Maine? I don’t think that was ever a mill town.

        • The formality point likely puts Boston closer to Oregon too.

          • NewishLawyer

            Yes (Sandals and Socks!!) and no (there is still a good bit of old-school tradition in Boston in terms of when you need suits and such).

            • I think the formality was part of what I disliked about SF. It seemed to be a different kind of formality than in NYC. I’m just talking about what you’d feel comfortable with walking around, going to museums and things, In Boston you stand out wearing “fashion” in a way you don’t in New York, and you don’t look out of place in what the kids in cooler places call “normcore” (though I do dress differently than in the suburbs). But the SF look felt different from the NY look, more conscious of itself as “dressed,” maybe.

              • nixnutz

                The fashion was one of the most striking things I noticed when I first moved from Boston to S.F. My first job was in the Marina/Cow Hollow area and that was the only place I ever saw people who looked the way almost everyone did in Boston. In the Financial District everyone wore basically the same stuff but the kind of North Face, cargo shorts, ball caps, etc. casual wear that was ubiquitous in Boston was entirely non-existent outside of that one small pocket of yuppiedom.

                Initially this was a very welcome difference but I did become aggressively “normcore” when we got into the “die yuppie scum” years, I couldn’t stand for that.

              • NewishLawyer

                I suppose. The last time I was in Boston/Cambridge/Mass was in September 2014. I found some stores that were selling expensivish to expensive brands like Engineered Garments and VISVIM but the stores would sell them alongside Rockports and Birkenstocks.

                SF is sometimes fashionable but I still feel more formally dressed here than I do in New York and I wear jeans to work (but I try to wear shoes over sneakers).

                What I think makes Boston kind of anti-fashion is that it is more conservative in many ways than NYC, the large student population, and the academics who might very consciously be anti-fashion. If you go to Berkeley in the East Bay, you will see the same sort of thing where you stand out by wearing fashionable clothing and there is an air of “We don’t care with pride.”

                • Now, I was in tourist areas for the most part, but I felt like if I dared to wear jeans into the Macy’s they were going to throw me out. SF is more segregated by class, maybe?

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  “What I think makes Boston kind of anti-fashion is that it is more conservative in many ways than NYC, the large student population, and the academics who might very consciously be anti-fashion.”

                  Also because so much of the professional population still emulates (consciously or not) the old Brahmans who wear old jackets and worn suits and drive 20 year old Volvos and SAABs back to their ancestral estates and gentlemen’s farms in the northern and western suburbs that are worth who-knows-how-many-millions just in the land alone. Bostonians would be loathe to admit this, I suspect, but for all of the 10,000 square foot McMansions built in our nicer towns, as a city and metro area we still venerate old money and look down upon the nouveau riche. And most of the old money still clings to the vestige of the old colonial and Quaker-ish disapproval of outward displays of wealth.

                  The Ferrari and Lamborghini dealerships are only in business because of wealthy foreign students and professional athletes.

                • NewishLawyer

                  @Bianca Steele.

                  I don’t know how to quaintify whether SF is segregated into class more or less than other areas but I wear jeans all over SF, all the time. You can go to the Opera and Ballet and fancy restaurants and see people in jeans. I would say the opposite is almost true and people would look at you oddly for not wearing jeans to many places including upscale ones.

                  My neighborhood in SF is filled with gentrification, students, but also has a lot of Section 8 and/or poorer residents. I live across the street from some sort of subsidized housing for elderly immigrants. My coffee shop is pretty mixed but there are also upscale restaurants and bars. Pacific Heights, the Marina, Ashbury Heights are probably much more uniform in terms of socio-economics and lifestyle. The Marina is known (and not liked) for being the Frat Central of SF. Pacific Heights is where all the really fancy mansions are.

                  @Unemployed.

                  Probably that is part of it as well. I don’t think NYC’s old money ever had the 20-year old tweed blazer ideal. They were very into competition via materialism.

                • LeeEsq

                  Unemployed_Northeastern, I think you mean Puritan not Quaker. The Quakers settled in Philadelphia and the Puritans wore more colorful clothing in actuality than popular history admits.

                  NewishLawyer is right about New York old money. Most of the really wealthy families in New York liked presenting themselves as really wealthy to the world. This generally requires a bit of flash in your clothing, housing, and life style. The Boston wealthy tended to be a bit more stuffy about this.

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  @Newish,

                  Old money in NYC is still new money in Boston. Despite the RAP and other anti-aristocracy laws, there are most certainly descendants of families who became wealthy when John Jacob Astor was still in Germany, who still live in the ancestral estate and don’t really have to work (though most do, either as doctors/lawyers or as board members of museums or whatnot). The first millionaires in America were Salem merchants, after all. I mean, this stuff was old hat when John Marquand parodied nearly a century ago in books like Wickford Point and The Late George Apley. Not for nothing is most of the case law in most of the T&E casebooks from Massachusetts…

                  But again, house/land aside, they tend to be quite conservative with displays of wealth, and this has historically had a stifling effect on the ability of trendy/expensive clothing stores to make any real headway in the city. For a long time, Louis Boston was essentially the only high-end clothing store in the city (now wealthy students and the VC/PE/consultant/executive class can support all of the fancy stuff you would see on Madison or Rodeo or wherever).

                • Unemployed_Northeastern

                  @Leeesq,

                  No, I meant Quaker. Many of the New Bedford whaling and mercantile families were Quaker (Howland,* Morgan, Rotch, etc) and their relative personal austerity when New Bedford was arguably the wealthiest city on Earth commingled with the Puritan restraint of Boston and Salem merchant princes. Many of the older Providence families were Quaker, too, including various branches of the Browns.

                  *The Howland family being probably most famous for their late 19th century descendant Hetty Green, aka “The Witch of Wall Street” and supposed inspiration for the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz. IIRC, she was already 5th generation wealth.

                • In retrospect. I think maybe there was a kind of East Coast/West Coast being out of sync in terms of fashion. mOr maybe what I was seeing women wear for luncheon and shopping or theater in SF resonated for me as what would be office clothes in NYC.

                  When Nordstrom opened near here, around ten years ago, it was full of trendy stuff–I remember a bright orange fuzzy mohair sweater–but it didn’t last.

        • Jackov

          Fewer yes, but there has been an EMS in SoHo for 30 years.

          • skate

            Not quite. Although an EMS store has been in that area for at least 20 years, but it’s moved around. The current site is the third that I know of. The location back in the 1990s was two blocks north on the other side of Houston St and so not in SoHo.

            Me, I habituate the EMS on the Upper West Side. Yes, I wear a lot of EMS clothing to work.

      • PSP

        Puget Sound is the Maine coast without blackflies.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          I’ve always thought of the Oregon Coast as the Maine Coast on steroids. Bigger rocks, bigger cliffs, bigger surf, but the same basic geological features at eye level. Obviously their respective coastlines have very different shapes.

          • Davis X. Machina

            The ocean’s on the wrong side. Very confusing.

            • tsam

              Our sunsets go out over the ocean. West FTW.

              • joe from Lowell

                There are beaches on Cape Cod where the sun sets into the ocean.

                It’s just breath-taking, isn’t it?

                There’s one, in the town of Dennis, where the tide goes out a quarter mile. At low tide, there are rivulets running through the sand bars. When it’s low tide at sunset, the rivulets reflect the glow.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              Do a handstand, and everything will sort itself out.

      • joe from Lowell

        Seaport cities, temperate climates.

        • After experiencing last winter, I would be hesitant to use the word temperate. That was a century’s worth of snow in Oregon.

          • joe from Lowell

            Lol yeah.

            That winter was freakish, extremely atypical.

            • Lee Rudolph

              Gonna be the new typical, I hear.

              • joe from Lowell

                I was in the best physical condition of my life this past March, from all the shoveling. My old pants fit, it was incredible.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    This is really an exercise in “I couldn’t be bothered to leave the 4 square blocks around my upscale hotel, so here’s some made-up shit that sounds real enough to snow idiots.”(Jayson Blair wins!)

    And Maggiano’s is basically flanked by a Chili’s and a Panera*. Calling it “Little Italy” isn’t just dim, it’s through-the-teeth lying.

    * even worse, it’s across the street from Reading Terminal Market, which would have actually given at least a facsimile of local color. This reporter is so lazy I think I even can tell which hotel they stayed at (Philadelphia Downtown Marriott).

    • Manny Kant

      It doesn’t have a dateline in Philadelphia, so I’m not convinced she came here at all.

      • D.N. Nation

        Next thing you’re going to tell me is that David Brooks never actually went to those red state places to try their Red Lobster.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Apparently, Brooks couldn’t even be bothered to look up the menu online before lying about it.

          • Hogan

            Clearly Alyson Krueger has been sitting at the feet of the master. (I hope Moral Hazard doesn’t mind.)

            • Lee Rudolph

              I presume MH still reserves unto himself the right to lick his balls?

          • royko

            Which boggles my mind. He claimed you couldn’t spend $20 on a meal at Red Lobster. They have freaking entrees that are over $20! It’s not Long John Silvers fer chrissakes! Anyone who’d been to one just once would know that $20 would be an easy target to hit. Their main dishes are lobster, crab, and steak!

      • Hogan

        Would be my guess also. 13th and Filbert is “Little Whatever They Knocked Down to Build the Convention Center.”

        • Manny Kant

          Yeah, if she’d actually been there, she might still have missed that it’s a national chain, but it’s really hard for me to see how she would have thought that it was part of a neighborhood called “Little Italy.”

    • I think that’s our Philadelphia layover hotel. It’s very close to City Hall and the Reading Terminal Market.

    • And really, the Italian Market’s not too far from there.

      But not walking into the Reading Terminal is just so stupid. It brings me joy every time I go in.

      • It brings me pickles every time I walk in there. And usually some used books.

        • Honoré De Ballsack

          And usually some used books.

          Thus the name.

  • fledermaus

    I’m really looking forward to visiting the upscale Maggiano’s in Bellevue, WA’s little Italy neighborhood right next to the mall.

    • ColBatGuano

      Much like the Little Italy neighborhood of Durham NC where Maggiano’s located. The Streets at Southpoint, your GGP shopping destination.

  • Unemployed_Northeastern

    Only one Olive Garden anywhere inside of Route 128/I-95 (the smaller circumferential highway around Boston). In Dorchester, far from our ‘Little Italy,’ the North End.

    • Matt McIrvin

      But they’re common in the outer suburbs, despite the fact that these places also have actual good Italian restaurants. And people line up to get in, instead of going to the places that Olive Garden is a big-chain simulacrum of.

      I sometimes eat at Olive Garden, and I know why: my daughter begs to go there because she likes the breadsticks. I think that’s a large part of the appeal.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Yup. My neck of the provinces has many outstanding local Italian restaurants, but the strip outside the city has an Olive Garden, Bucca De Beppo and Romano’s Macaroni Whateverthefuck that on the basis of the parking lots never seem to lack for customers.

        • Unemployed_Northeastern

          Is that strip near a highway? Near an office park cluster? Just trying to think of factors that would keep those places in steady customers.

          • Denverite

            Consistently mediocre food is consistent.

            I’ll take the kids to Hacienda Colorado (mediocre Tex-Mex chain here) because the boys can get PB&J “quesadillas,” the girl can’t tell mediocre cheese enchiladas from good ones, and tortilla soup and a marg is the same everywhere.

            We’ll also go to the Chili’s or Appleby’s by the retail corridor (Target, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, the mall) occasionally when the kids need to eat and we just want to relax and have a beer.

            • Honoré De Ballsack

              I’ll take the kids to Hacienda Colorado

              What? FYI: Casa Bonita still exists! I LOVED going to that place when the family visited relatives in Denver.

              http://www.casabonitadenver.com/

              • Denverite

                I’ve lived here almost ten years and I’ve never been. The food is legendarily bad, though it’s supposed to be awesome for the kids.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  I went there a long, long time ago and don’t remember anything about the food. But we avoided the place when we visited CO recently, for that reason.

                  The big kid-pleaser we visited was The Airplane Restaurant (formerly Solo’s) in Colorado Springs, an OK restaurant whose distinguishing feature is that it’s built partly out of a 1950s KC-97 military tanker. The kids can go play around in the cockpit.

                • Paul Chillman

                  Confirmed. Went there a few years ago visiting my brother’s family. Food: about what you’d expect. Sublimely weird diving show: well worth a visit.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Is that strip near a highway?

            Yup — it’s a commercial strip at the junction of I-87 and I-90 near the airport. There’s a big old-school mall and then an endless succession of chain restaurants and hotels.

            • Unemployed_Northeastern

              And therefore quite well-positioned to serving hungry customers who are traveling from Montreal to NYC or from Boston to upstate NY and onto the Midwest.

              • Mellano

                Wolf Road! The Colonie Mall has seen better days, but somehow that stretch of name brand restaurants has had crowds waiting with flashing tokens since at least the nineties. It’s near the highways, though I-90 is still an exit away; my impression was that it was Capital District families who kept that strip busy, more than travelers (see also the Barnes and Noble and late Borders on the same stretch). The Montreal buses/license plates always seem to stop at the big rest stops on 87, FWIW.

                As is said below, there’s a lot of demand for those restaurants from people with kids.

          • joe from Lowell

            I think we just have to accept that there is a population that likes chain-restaurant eating. They go to the Olive Garden instead of a local Italian place with better food because they like eating there.

            They grew up on the real Italian food, so they like Italian food, and now they can get it at a place that will give their kids a placemat/menu they can color.

            • Lee Rudolph

              A genuine Italian chef surnamed Boiardi, from Cleveland, was responsible for Chef Boy-Ar-Dee. (He used to buy from the restaurant supply house where my father worked, located somewhere on the northern edge of what I learn from Wikipedia is now the Quicken Loans Arena / Progressive Field sports complex [gag me with a kitchen spoon].)

            • Matt McIrvin

              Besides the presence of kid-specific stuff and bland carbohydrate bombs like breadsticks, extreme consistency is a particularly appealing thing to children, and chain restaurants deliver that.

            • Scott Lemieux

              No question. As long as good local options remain doesn’t bother me that they’re there.

        • burnt

          The first Buca di Beppo (sic), http://www.bucadibeppo.com/restaurants/mn/minneapolis/ , is in Minneapolis’ Loring Park neighborhood. Given its location in the gay ‘hood, red-sauce ambiance, and family-style dining we thought the owners were trying to attract the permanently ironic with thin wallets crowd. Only after the second location opened did we learn via the Star-Tribune the Loring Park location was a test platform to help them start an empire.

          • sparks

            Damn lousy empire, too. I have no fond memories, and my mother assured me it is one of the worst “Italian” restaurants she’s ever ate at.

        • Matt McIrvin

          I actually think Romano’s Macaroni Grill is a step up from Olive Garden. But the one at the local strip mall closed apparently for lack of business, and was replaced by an Olive Garden that packs ’em in.

          • Hogan

            I’ve always said if you’re grilling macaroni, you’re doing it wrong.

            • Lee Rudolph

              Yeah, you almost always get further with the nice cop/tough cop routine.

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        In the Boston suburbs, I prefer The Chateau. That toasted ravioli… so good. They seem to have six or eight locations now, but IMO none of them match the original in Waltham.

        • Matt McIrvin

          My parents like The Chateau, but I find their food is a bit much for me to digest. I live in Haverhill and my local favorites are Olivia’s and Joseph’s (which is also an excellent bakery).

          • Lee Rudolph

            Ah, for the old days, when one’s local favorites could be Howard’s and Johnson’s!

        • Origami Isopod

          Nocera’s in Brockton, which is run by the same family, is excellent. I think it might be just fractionally more upscale than The Chateau but not much.

    • UserGoogol

      More specifically, the Olive Garden is in a sprawly shopping plaza between an industrial zone and the highway, so it has a more suburban vibe than “Dorchester” in general would imply. (It’s probably an area which could probably be considered either Dorchester or Roxbury or neither depending on who you ask.)

      There’s also a Maggiano’s in Park Square, which is also definitely not the North End.

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        I feel like I’ve read that developers have huge plans for SouthBay that would basically turn it into another fake downtown mall like Legacy Place in Dedham.

  • Joshua

    When I was in Indianapolis I ate at this fantastic upscale Chinese restaurant owned by one Mr. PF Chang. Check it out if you’re in the area!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Someone with the same name operates one in the Chinatown neighborhood of the Atlanta International Airport!

      • Denverite

        I get concerned around here because the adjacent PF Chang’s and Chipotle clearly are indicative of an impending turf war between the tongs and LDs.

        • Halloween Jack

          We have a neighborhood like that in Peoria, and it’s recently been further destabilized by the arrival of Chik-Fil-KKK.

      • joe from Lowell

        the Chinatown neighborhood of the Atlanta International Airport

        LMAO

  • royko

    And over in Philadelphia’s Little Scotland, at the International House of Pancakes, pope watchers can munch on drop scones, known locally as “pan-cakes”.

    In my old neighborhood in Chicago, we had a strip mall that had a Pizza Hut (takeout only) next to a Chinese restaurant called “China Hut”. I called it “The Hut District”.

    I was once staying in Dodgeville, WI, and they had a Pizza Hut there with a sign that said: “Pizza Hut – Italian Bistro”. I had to take a picture of that. (A quick googling finds that the Pizza Hut Italian Bistro was a mid 2000s effort to create “upscale” Pizza Huts. Upscale meaning they used a burgundy instead of red color scheme, and they also served penne pasta.)

    • Hogan

      Taco Bell is trying that now, but they’ve added a key ingredient–booze.

      • royko

        Yglesias on Taco Bell Cantina:

        But it’s just very difficult to simultaneously be the place people think of when they’re thinking “I wish I could have a hard-shell taco with the shell made out of Doritos” and the place where people think “I wish chef Lorena Garcia would whip up some fresh flavors out of high-quality ingredients.”

        • tsam

          Well now that you can get boozed up before you eat, I guess that’s no longer a strange dichotomy, no?

        • Scott Lemieux

          In fairness, the Lorena Garcia menu had neither fresh flavors nor high-quality ingredients.

    • Johnnie

      They definitely had one of the “bistro” Pizza Huts in Madison about that time. Apparently southern Wisconsin was a big market for them to push that concept.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Home of the American Cheese Pizza, I assume.

        • Many pizza huts had/have booze. An old uranium miner trick when pay was running low as to go to pizza hut and order a pitcher of beer. To sneak some nutrition in the miners would then take the powdered fake cheese and pour it on top of their beers to make cheese beer. I have had said concoction and all I can say is: you can’t make Bud taste worse. Different maybe, but not worse.

  • tsam

    You can’t really grasp the concept of provincial until you live in blue state, but border on a state that should have been ensconced between Alabama and Mississippi. We have legal SSM, legal weed, passed a (admittedly weak) gun control bill recently, and border on a town that wouldn’t pass a school bond levy until a kindergartner got ran over by a car walking home in the dark from school.

    Idaho is some next level provincial (egocentric, ethnocentric, anti-science, anti FUCKING EVERYTHING except NASCAR and velvet paintings of wolves and horses).

    • velvet paintings of wolves and horses

      Playing cards? Dressed as Elvis? DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING!

      • tsam

        Oh, yeah–wolves playing poker. They hate wolves so much (there’s been an ongoing, heated debate about saving or exterminating wolves here for the last 30 years or so)

        bspencer, are you listening? We just found you a new niche market for …art.

    • Denverite

      Ditto Wyoming, only with fewer people.

      • tsam

        I think Idaho and all the square states except Colorado are pretty much stuck in the 1830s.

        Doesn’t Colorado have the same dynamic as Washington? Big cities that liberal/progressive, and the rural areas are full of crazy bastards that want to nuke the big-city liberals because reasons?

        I suppose that dynamic applies to all of the states to some degree.

        • Idaho doesn’t really have that Washington dynamic because Boise is much more like Spokane than it is Seattle. Which is to say there are liberals and they do live there but they don’t have the political power by any means that Seattle provides in Washington, nor do they define a state’s society in the same way.

          • tsam

            Boise is much more like Spokane than it is Seattle.

            I’m sure that’s true, but then I’ve had more than one gay person tell me that Boise is a bit of a gay Mecca in the Inland Northwest, which I found incredible. That’s North Mormontown, and they’re anything BUT gay friendly. Of course this is anecdotal, so I can’t confirm the validity of it.

            Spokane is really not very gay friendly. We’re still pretending there aren’t any here, like we do with the black people.

            • I’ve had plenty of layovers in Boise and it seemed relatively liberal – by Idaho standards anyway.

        • Denverite

          Doesn’t Colorado have the same dynamic as Washington? Big cities that liberal/progressive, and the rural areas are full of crazy bastards that want to nuke the big-city liberals because reasons?

          Colorado’s weird. The eastern plains is agricultural and VERY conservative. It’s really West Kansas or Southern Nebraska.

          The western slope is also pretty conservative, but it’s more a libertarian, western-style conservatism.

          The Front Range, where 80%+ of the people live, is odd. You’ve got Denver and Boulder, which are notoriously liberal. But you also have Colorado Springs — the second biggest city — that’s a conservative mecca. Then you have Ft. Collins up north which is probably pretty mixed.

          THEN, you have the high country, which is its own creature. I don’t know if the cities are necessarily conservative or liberal. They’re just rich. (For example, Aspen is probably liberal-rich, whereas Vail is probably conservative-rich.)

          • What you are describing isn’t so different than Washington, Oregon, or California, it’s just that the population balance is different. But the politics of rural Oregon are basically that of rural Nebraska.

            • Denverite

              I was just thinking there’s probably no equivalent to Colorado Springs — a big, urban area that’s a conservative bastion.

              • No, although the defense industry suburbs of southern California served that function for a very long time.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  San Diego? Or has that changed?

                • Denverite

                  San Diego doesn’t even remotely compare to Colorado Springs in terms of political bent. (If only because it’s massively bigger and more diverse.)

                  Also, in addition to the USAFA, Ft. Carson is about 30 miles away, so there’s a huge Army presence there too.

                • Jackov

                  Within 70 miles of LA you have Lancaster/Palmdale (300K) to the north, Ventura/Simi Valley (250K) to the northwest and at least 300K complete wingnuts to the southeast in Orange County

                • Denverite

                  This is fair enough, and in fairness to me, I was mostly describing CO as compared to the non-California west. It’s a lot more complicated than “all of the liberals live in the cities and everyone else is conservative” here. As it is in CA, where as you and Erik note, there are wide swaths of Orange County that think Nixon and Reagan were commies.

              • tsam

                There are probably others–maybe bigger areas with a huge military presence like CO Springs maybe?

                And to Erik’s point about rural Oregon–precisely the same in Washington. Spokane is markedly more progressive than most of the Eastern side, but that’s a very low bar.

                • ColBatGuano

                  The funny thing about Eastern Washington is that many of those “conservatives” are completely dependent on the federal government for their livelihood. From dams for irrigation for farming to Hanford, basically it’s all Uncle Sam for those rugged individualists.

                • tsam

                  That’s right–that’s what makes it all so laughable–in a maniacal laughter emanating from a padded room sort of laughable.

              • Matt McIrvin

                It’s the direction Virginia is evolving in, with Virginia Beach and environs as the Colorado Springs (Navy rather than Air Force).

    • njorl

      “You can’t really grasp the concept of provincial until you live in blue state, but border on a state that should have been ensconced between Alabama and Mississippi.”

      In a sense, Pennsylvania does border itself.

  • KadeKo

    I wondered how the Phily Maggiano’s we went to about a decade ago, because it was the closest decent looking thing to our hotel in a snowstorm, had all the stuff around it torn down and a 120-year-old Italian neighborhood built.

  • Gareth

    Interesting that you chose that video. Someone was complaining that it made no sense for Michael to have the meeting in New York. In the real world, the company headquarters would be in an office park in some flyover state.

    • Pseudonym

      I guess it’s just one more reason the company went bankrupt.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Piggybacking on the “what do the Northeast and Northwest have in common?” – rowing.

    • Is rowing that big of a deal in the Northwest? It certainly wasn’t in my experience.

  • Lee Rudolph

    Report from an outlying province: this morning, the ad at the top of Atrios’s place (just under the current top post) is for

    MAGGIANOS COUPONS
    Coupons for Maggianos Little
    Italy. Print Your Free Coupons
    Now!

    Take that, latte-sipping scoffers!

  • Unfortunately, New York has been forced to concede to tourists’ tastes and open a large, annoyingly large, number of eateries that cater to a…less sophisticated palate.

    If you guys ate only where natives ate, you’d die of over-nutrition and lack of processed starches.

    • sharculese

      None of this is true; all of it is carelessly crafted fiction.

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