Cities: The Beautiful and The Ugly

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Cities: The Beautiful and The Ugly

Cities: The Beautiful and The Ugly 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Being from the country and having lived in Columbus, Ohio, not one of the most beautiful cities in the world – especially in the 80’s, I always have had a dismal look on city life. However, having lived in Boston now for about fifteen years, I must admit, the city does have its beauty that others might not see.


The heartbeat of Boston

The city is a world completely created by man, nature pokes its head out here and there but overall, it’s a living breathing beast all it’s own. It has its own heartbeat that beats quite fast during the day and although it slows down at night, it doesn’t really stop like a small town does.

It’s not unusual to be in Boston (or any major city) and see pigeons, hawks and owls. The occasional bat is frequently seen as well as squirrels and raccoons. Nature is a funny thing, no matter how populace a place becomes, there are always signs of nature around.


Walking through the city early in the morning, there is a peace as the sunlight slowly filters through the buildings on the concrete and brick landscape. On rainy days you can sit by the window and watch as people walk by with their umbrellas and the  puddles fill up, creating streams along the pavement, gutters and sidewalks. Green grass takes on a brilliance that is seldom seen.

Boston draped in snow

In the winter as the snow falls, it brings a silence down upon the city like a blanket. Instead of echoing sirens, it is much easier to hear the birds, people talking and the wind blowing. Also, there is a strange beauty to it. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love the country more than the city – I have a strange fear of being around large masses of people, I’ve never liked it (demo-phobic?).

However the city definitely has its own beauty as well. There is also something innately solid to the society of a city. You do not just have a small group of people with a small group of talents. There are tremendous amounts of greatly talented people; from the musicians in the subways to the doctors in the hospital to the actors in the theater district. It is a true honor and privilege to see the culture of a city like Boston.


Beacon HillNothing is more fascinating to me than history, where we have come from, what existed long before I was around. Boston is steeped in a great history dating all the way back before Europeans came to the area. Walking through the brownstones on Beacon Hill you can really feel the history as everything has been so well preserved, gas lamps along the walkways and cobblestone streets. It is all part of the city’s memory and it’s a wonderful thing to explore.


The Night

Boston at nightNight life has a whole new meaning when it comes to the city. I went to the Museum of Science not long ago with my children and we stuck around all day until they closed at 5:00 pm. Well, in December, that basically means night has fallen of course, so we went up to the top floor of the parking garage – where incidentally; they have an observatory where you can see the stars, and we stood looking at the city. From our vantage point we could see trolleys going by on the elevated Green Line near the Museum, Bunker Hill bridge lit up and all of the buildings, it was a beautiful sight. We stood there for a long time, just enjoying the scene.

I think all in all, living in the city has helped me to appreciate the beauty despite the lack of greenery. Don’t get me wrong, there are still the ugly things, poverty, crime and in the dead of summer, sometimes the stench, but overall there is a life in the city that few country people might understand.

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