Wednesday, November 30, 2011
It is no secret that New Yorkers top the list when it comes to arrogance and xenophobia. Perhaps one of the best visual representations is View of the World from 9th Avenue - if you are unfamiliar with it, see the photo and my story here. Even within New York City itself, you will find individuals who rarely go outside their neighborhood. For Village residents, there is a cliche: I never go north of 14th Street.
In today's photo, you can see an example of this thinking in an ad by local storage giant Manhattan Mini-Storage. In a crowded marketplace, the company has been successful in creating provocative ads that actually get talked about. Here are some samples:
"Remember, if you leave the city, you'll have to live in America."
"Oh, yeah, you'll fit right in in Connecticut."
"Your closet's so shallow, it makes Paris look deep." [re: Paris Hilton] "
"In my father's house, there are many rooms." - John 14:2. Clearly, Jesus was not a New Yorker.
And from today's photo: "Nobody becomes famous in Des Moines." Slamming another city will certainly get attention, although the effect is most likely on the other city's residents than on New Yorkers, who already believe that there is no other place worth living in, certainly not Des Moines, Iowa.
I found a response to the ad and comments on a blog called Des Moines is NOT Boring with a story title: Really New York!? As one would expect, the readers of the blog were not pleased with the ad. The writer of the story states, "Apparently, closest [sic] space is at a premium in New York, yet the relation to becoming famous and Des Moines is still pretty unclear." I agree with the writer that the precise thinking behind the statement is somewhat hazy, but I surmise that the implication is that there is plenty of storage space outside New York City, but it would do one no good to live there. Des Moines was a good target since many see the Midwest as a place of pleasant, mild-mannered people but quintessentially BORING.
It is ironic that a blog and name would be predicated on a statement that Des Moines is not boring. Self-proclamations are typically indicative that the opposite is true. People who profess to be easygoing rarely are. And people who have to make preemptive defensive statements usually are what they claim to not be. When is the last time you saw a billboard stating that New York is NOT Boring or that Paris is NOT ugly?
I do respect the quality of life that must exist in small cities. I have often fantasized about moving to a place like Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco, or Portland, Maine. But once you live in New York City, it's hard to scale back. Most of us are here not just for the lure of opportunity but are also trapped by the Sirens of Convenience. It matters not whether anyone becomes famous in New York City or in Des Moines :)
Related Posts: Uptown, Goin' to Jersey