Monday, March 18, 2013

"Wasn't I Lucky to Be Born in My Favorite City?"

That little quote from the beginning of Meet Me in St. Louis always makes me smile, because that's how I feel, for the most part, about Fort Wayne. I really do believe that I was born in my favorite city, although maybe it's because it's the only place I've lived.

Please pardon my following rambling.

Boston was the first place that ever caused me to want to move away from Fort Wayne. I'm not sure if it was because I really wanted to go to New York but Boston seemed more manageable, or if it was just the first big city I ever really spent more than a few days in, but Boston kept me coming back for years. The Public Gardens, strolling through Beacon Hill, making the quick trip to Cambridge and seeing "Dewey, Cheathem, and Howe" in the window of a building in Harvard Square, or going out to explore Mount Auburn Cemetery. Boston was the first big city I really got to know on a personal level. Later visits where it was quite like living a real life in Boston (if a real life means getting around the city, doing what you want, and not having a job). Boston was, and is, the lovely old dowager of New England, beautifully faded in a way that makes you wonder about all that she has seen.

Then I went to New York. Big mistake. It was exactly as I imagined, only better, and I seemed to know that city like the back of my hand. Subways were a piece of cake (though I think I owe that to cutting my teeth on the T in Boston), I knew how to get to where we were going, and after one night out in the East Village I was beginning to shift my love, as I knew I would. It didn't help that my first glimpse of the skyline was looking south from the George Washington Bridge, and an enormous full moon was hanging over the World Trade Center. That first time seeing the skyline, no matter how many times you visit, that first time is really something. My last trip I walked from Grand Central up Park Avenue over to Fifth Avenue at the Guggenheim Museum, down Fifth Avenue to Rockefeller Center, then Southeast through Chelsea, down to the West Village and into Greenwich Village, down Broadway to shop at Century 21...and then realized I was almost at the tip of Manhattan. I just took it all in all day. My legs were almost unbending when I returned to the Golden's Bridge station in Westchester.

Los Angeles was in there somewhere. Pass. I need real Seasons. Oh wait...then I went to Charleston. Oh, Charleston...you stole my heart. What can I say? I'm very disloyal in my love affairs with places. Charleston is beautiful. Elegant. Charming. So very European. And the gardens! And Charleston is a survivor! She has survived bombardment, burning, and the Great Earthquake of 1886 which measured a 7.5 on the Richter Scale (the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 was a 6.7). I really do love Charleston, and if I had my wish I would have a home there...but could I live there year round? Is there enough bustle? It would be much easier to grow my citrus. Hmmmm.

Then there is Chicago, that rough and tumble upstart of a Midwest metropolis the old, East Coast cities looked down their patrician noses upon. I always took their snobby lead and thought "why not just move to New York if you are going to spend THAT much money?" However, you get the hustle, you get the bustle, you get the four seasons and great shopping and nightlife. And it's close to home.

I'm not saying I'm packing up the Penthouse to make a move somewhere by any means. I am just saying it's nice to know that one does have options close to home, because I think being close to home is what I've learned is the most important thing to me, and Fort Wayne really, truly is home.

Wasn't I lucky to be born in my favorite city?


Sometimes a fresh view is all you need. I mean, Fort Wayne can look like a much larger city from a higher vantage point.

At the top of the Hancock Tower the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago quickly give way to vast, rolling Midwestern land. It just happens a bit faster in Fort Wayne.

There is definitely not a replacement for the Gas House anywhere else.

I do love this sky line. 


And the jumble of old and new.

The Penthouse lies just beyond St. Joe Hospital's red brick tower in the center of the pic...right where everything begins to flatten out.