New York transplant bashes Chicago


So Chicago is not Detroit, not yet. But the city is trapped by its location, its past, and what philosophers would have called its facticity — its limitations, given the circumstances. Boosterism has been perfected here because the reality is too painful to look at. Poor Chicago, indeed. (New York Times/Rachel Shteir)

Some people will do anything for money. Greed is their god. Transplanted New Yorkers are the worst when it comes to grubbing money through yellow journalism and the spreading of lies. Rachel Shteir is one of those New Yorkers. She used what was purported to be a book review in the New York times to bash our city.

In what only can be described as pining for her uncivilized savage home town, she insults Chicago.


She could only find three good things worth living in Chicago-

The beauty of Lake Michigan. A former rail yard has become Millennium Park. Thanks to global warming, the winters have softened.

If that is all she sees Chicago being worth she should pack her bags and leave. The sooner the better. Chicago would be better off without her.

Ms. Shteir has lived in Chicago for thirteen years and teaches something or other at DePaul University, one of Chicago's finest institutions. It is apparent that she learned nothing about Chicago while holed up in classrooms and musty ivy towers of academia. Maybe DePaul should have a second look at her contract. She could be replaced in a heartbeat with a born and bred Chicagoan. Some one who knows the history of this city and appreciates it.

While New York was on the verge of a Detroit style Bankruptcy back in the 1970s, Chicago was booming. Chicago has never come close to the precarious brink New York found itself in back then. Even in 2008 Chicago was in better shape than New York.

Contrary to what Ms. Shteir claims, Chicago has more to boast about than New York. Chicagoans are civilized people. We put our trash in containers in alleys. New York tosses their trash on the sidewalks, for all the world to see. Chicagoans are real people. There is no pretense about us. We say what we mean and mean what we say. We do not hide behind affected false pretenses.


We are proud of our blue collar roots, as she describes us. People do real work in Chicago and Chicagoans value that. People in Chicago are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Chicagoans value the plumber over the ad man, the ditch digger over the press agent, and the busboy over the pretentious preening theater director. Chicago is a working city. New York is a fantasy land.

New York has a much larger and visible rat population than Chicago. New York cockroaches are impossible to kill and are almost the size of rats. New York's infrastructure is nothing to brag about either. Building collapses are a regular occurrence in New York City. They are exceedingly rare in Chicago.


Times Square, clad in neon, resembles a cheap rip-off of old school Las Vegas. New Yorkers claim to be "cosmopolitan". That is fancy wine dressing for uncivilized savages. New Yorkers will watch with glee a gruesome murder take place so they have something to talk about over cocktails, wine, and cheese. Chicagoans will try to stop it or catch the murderer. The murderer will be much worse for the wear.

New York is pretentious. They hide their savage incivility behind a facade of snootiness, giving the appearance they are smarter and chicer than anyone else. Behind that ostentatious affected facade there is no there there. New York is an untamed heartless and soulless city where good people go to get ground up and die.

It is evident that Ms. Shteir has never ventured beyond the ivy covered towers of DePaul and the University of Chicago, where she studied. Academics are like that. They never leave their hoary towers but claim to have vast knowledge of places they have never experienced. She probably received most of her knowledge about Chicago from books written by Chicago outcasts and scoundrels from other places.

She opines about Chicago corruption. Really? She should read her hometown papers.  New York is as corrupt as Chicago. She decries Chicago "boosterism". I guess there is something wrong with loving and promoting your own city. Chicagoans are a proud people and we take great pride in our town.

One of her most glaring mistakes is her misperception of Mayor Richard J. Daley. She is not only historically inaccurate, but dishonest. According to Ms. Shteir, Chicago's decline started when Daley was elected. Ahem, Chicago's boom started when Daley was elected while New York was an anvil sliding down an ice covered hill approaching a cliff. New York may be the "Big Apple" but Chicago is the "City of Big Shoulders". Big Shoulders trump Big Apples any day of the week. Apples turn rotten to the core.

Chicago is and always has been a city of neighborhoods, a vast diverse patchwork quilt of humanity. New York City is a city of the wad, the mob, the herd. Is it any wonder why so many who work in New York City live someplace else, even out of state? People are relocating to Chicago. People are leaving New York. Go figure.



According to Ms. Shteir, one of Chicago's glaring holes is its lack of cafes. Chicago is not Paris. Chicagoans work for a living. There is no time to loll about in cafes wool gathering. Only a dyed in the wool New Yorker would call Chicago diners "greasy". Our diner food beats New York's by a wide margin. The diners are also cleaner and the  help is friendlier.


Chicago is also proud of its snack foods. Mayor Emanuel is not trying to ban the joy and pleasure of eating and drinking what we want like Mayor what's his name in New York City.

Does Chicago have problems? Of course we do. All major urban centers have problems. But, our problems are not apocalyptic as Ms. Shteir describes them.

One last thing. Chicago has better newspapers and writers than New York. I would take our papers over the "Old Gray Hag" every time. At least Chicago papers are readable.

Don't get me wrong. New York is a nice place to visit, but why in God's name would anyone want to live there?



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