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Chicago, IL

At your own risk - 3/17/2021
Lived here for five years, right downtown for three, and two at the end of the Brown train line, a close suburb known as Ravenswood, commuting in to the city for work. Like they say, Chicago is a quilt of neighborhoods, and outside of the Loop (downtown), few buildings are above 3 stories. So there are many Chicagos, but the differences have blended. Basically, you have the north (white, hispanic, Asian) and the South (a black war zone, with a few heavily guarded enclaves like U of Chicago and some older white blue collar neighborhoods full of cops.)

There is undeniably a lot of good in Chicago, if you can afford to enjoy it. But the place grinds you down; the pace, the costs, the crime, the corruption, the intensity, the grunge, and THE WEATHER. I was a professor at a very famous museum and art school downtown, and my time in Chicago was spent very much in the thick of things. Moving there I sensed that I had about five years tolerance to it all, so made the most out of it, and sure enough, moved away almost 5 years to the day, exhausted and pretty fed up with the place.

The reputation for corruption there is NO JOKE. This has effects in every aspect of life. The fact that half the city is a war zone more dangerous than Baghdad or Mogadishu, even if you never experience it first hand, has effects. And you can live in the north parts of the city and never hear a gunshot, never get mugged, or worse. It can seem pleasant and peaceful. But the place is still run by crooks, is inconceivably violent, and is still a disaster. The latest mayor is the worst yet, but those that proceeded her were hardly much better. The schools? The teacher's union? Unbelievable.

So of course the food is fantastic, the cultural institutions are second only to NYC and superior in some cases, the lake is nice, the 8 weeks of summer pleasant. I like cold and snow, so the winters didn't do me in like I watched them do to most others, but still, by April you are worn out. I've only watched all the BLM Antifa stupidity there this last year on TV, and its hardly isolated or even worst in Chicago, but there are a lot of people ginning up a race war, and the situation in Chicago is a powder keg. So-called "white" folk are getting assaulted every day just for their presumed skin color; I was more than once stalked and nearly mugged, but for my awareness and taking steps (ducking into stores, jumping off trains last second and sprinting out of stations, etc.) Woke-tardation and Trump Derangement ARE the politics there; communists, blue-haired tattooed feminists, and pride-full gays run every cultural institution, and angry black women and lesbians the politics, so expect to just live among people who are completely out of touch with reality and basic sanity.

Chicago is Chicago. It sprawls forever on a neverending pancake plain, so don't expect to hike or anything. The city is resented by everyone else in the state. Still in my top three cities to visit, to visit the museums, see a show, eat great food, drink in dive bars. I'd warn anyone to never live there.

Dallas, TX

Neither here nor there - 3/17/2021
I lived here for about 5 years, but my family was from the area and I visited north Texas a lot as a kid. There are maybe as many Dallas' as there are residents, and it changes everyday.

If you want nature, hiking, wildlife, that kind of thing, forget it. Dallas not only sprawls for seemingly hundreds of miles in all directions, it sits in a featureless flat nowhere devoid of any discernible geographic and natural markers. The winters are generally pleasant. There is about a week of spring in early March, then you face six months of often excruciating heat and humidity. It is intolerable, so everyone learns to stay inside. A few years ago temps broke 100 for something like 50 straight days, and that didn't even break the record. I was there. It was hell. Then there are the tornadoes and floods...

Dallas is just all about Dallas. I work in the arts, which is what took me there. There is money, so there is patronage. Until recently the rich still went elsewhere to spend their money, but this keeps shifting. Money means good restaurants, good museums, good shopping, many young people, jobs, and action action action. There are bad parts of town, but you learn where they are and steer clear. You're not likely to hear many Texan accents - even people raised in Dallas assume general flat American dialects. It never felt like the "real" Texas I knew growing up visiting smaller town relatives not that far away. Dallas is a generic sprawling, successful American city. It's neither good nor bad, here or there. The politics skew further and further left, and that is the same dumb song and dance everywhere now. You can find affordable housing, especially the further away from downtown you're willing to go. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in your car. It seems like the freeways go forever, and are always crammed. There are a ton of immigrants from everywhere, which means (among other things) great ethnic restaurants of every description.

If you want big city action and opportunity and don't care one whit about feeling connected to an actual place and culture, Dallas might be for you.

Albuquerque, NM

Old Albuquerqueans do not want you here - 3/17/2021
This is an excellent example of the attitudes that typifies the worst of ABQ, and keeps it mired in dysfunction. You will meet a ton of people who think, talk, and act like this, and who generally run things, in the arts, in business, and in government. They are insular, small minded, bigoted, and provincial. Like Mary says, leave this place to these losers. It's why ABQ was projected to be Phoenix or Denver, but instead remains the third world backwater it so emphatically and demonstrably is.

Denver, CO

Set for a big fall. - 3/16/2021
I was born downtown, and raised in the suburbs. I have lived in Denver as an adult off and on for 30 years, including for the last year. I think it geographically is the most beautiful city in the US, with the best climate. Older intact parts of the city contain some of the best architecture in the country. But the trends aren't good.

It was the very best place to grow up in the '70-80s. It used to have the best museums, a great zoo, relatively peaceful diversity while maintaining social cohesion, and every amenity you could want. I'd say it was truly cool in the late 1990s. That was the peak. It was still affordable, and crime was limited. There has been unbelievable and uncontrolled expansion since then, especially in the last decade, and leftist rioting in the last year caused much of the downtown to board up, there is graffiti everywhere now, and the homeless problem is out. of. control. Before BLM/Antifa took over Denver, like most other cities, the police here would clear out the homeless camps in front of the capitol building and elsewhere. Once they started saying they were "protesters" the problem got worse than ever - thousands of homeless pitching their tents all over downtown. They finally fenced off the utterly destroyed parks in front of the capitol building so no one can enter them. But they allowed BLM to paint a mural on the street there, the entire city is a sea of Biden/Harris/BLM signs and rainbow flags, and homeless are everywhere, just sprawling in the streets, taking drugs, and leaving dumps.

I was a big fan of the legal weed decision years back, but it sure hasn't made anyone smarter or more moral, attracted the best and brightest, or created a more beautiful city. The housing prices are infamously INSANE, and the newer construction is all hideous. The response to the COVID thing has been predictably retarded state wide, worst in Denver, and only slightly saner than dumb blue states/cities on the coasts. If you'd like to move somewhere and see firsthand how Portland became the mess it is today, move here, and buckle up. It's set to get a whole lot worse.

Littleton, CO

Nice for families, if you can afford it - 3/16/2021
I grew up here in the 1970s and 80s, when it was indisputably the best suburb of Denver. The city was close, but horseback riding and hunting were even closer, and of course the mountains are right there. The park system was and still is amazing, and the town is riven by creeks that we kids explored and took advantage of. I still visit to walk the river and highline canal. The demographics were mixed, and class consciousness was very low. People complain about lack of "diversity" there a lot now, but "white" is a recent invention, and if you count diversity of cultures not just melanin (Irish, Italian, German, Spanish, Protestant, Mormon, Catholic, rich, poor, etc etc) there was and is a ton of diversity. In many ways its shocking how stable Littleton has remained and how much the same it appears - how many places in history have looked this much the same for so many decades, free from war, violence, or economic devastation? At the same time, the cute older small town I lived in has been rapidly subsumed by inconceivably rapid urban expansion, and its been devastating at times to come back and see the ticky tacky homes spread out practically all the way to CO Springs to the south, when I remember riding on Jackass Hill when there was nothing but pasture as far as the eye could see.
I have family who've remained and raised families, and while I used to think the place was too conservative, now I'm sad that all of Denver has been utterly deranged by woke-tardation, including Littleton. And the little 3 bedroom, one-story 1950s clapboard house my sister and her blue collar husband bought for $70k in 1980 is appraised today at $500k, with no significant changes to it. That doesn't encourage the kind of young families I grew up amidst. The cute downtown is way more vibrant than it used to be, and if I were loaded and worked in Denver I'd still want to live in Littleton. I can't imagine how anyone else affords it.

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