New York Not So Bad at Being a City, Finds San Francisco Columnist

golden gate New York Not So Bad at Being a City, Finds San Francisco ColumnistLook, San Francisco Chronicle columnist John King is going to go out on a limb here. He realizes that “for San Franciscans of a certain age and/or mind-set, ‘Manhattanization’ is synonymous with everything bad in urban life.” But a recent visit to New York has led him to rethink this assumption:

Too many buildings there are too big, and often plug-ugly as well. But the most vivid impression these days is the irrepressible street life, ground-level urbanity that allows for the unexpected and, increasingly, favors pedestrians over the automobile.

Parochial San Franciscans identify such traits as unique to this place, but they define today’s island between the Hudson and East rivers equally well. The difference in New York is the sense of adventure — a willingness to explore innovations at a large scale, rather than recoil from anything ambitious or new.

Yes — perhaps, a few hundred years in, we are starting to get the hang of this whole “being a city” thing.

mfischer@observer.com