One of the great love affairs of my life has been with Washington, D.C. It has nothing to do with idealism about democracy or love of history or patriotic fervor; I've been known to exhibit those things, but none of them are the reasons I moved here and they're not the reasons I stay here. I love this city for its own sake.
I love the lack of pollution. I love the free concerts in Farragut Square Park. I love half smokes and chicken wings with mambo sauce. I love go-go music, cherry blossoms, Ben's Chili Bowl, and the Washington Post (which, according to NYU's Jay Rosen, has recently eclipsed NYT as America's greatest newspaper). I love rowhouses with actual front lawns. I love having a blossoming avant-garde art and music scene, an independent filmmaking scene, one of the most respected independent record labels in the country, and the fourth largest theater scene — albeit first in quirkiness — in America. I love that we have a mayor and city council that frequently butt heads with the way Congress thinks that DC should be run. I DON'T love our lack of voting representation in Congress, but I do love the way it galvanizes our citizens.
I love being able to get an 850-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment, with parquet floors and two balconies that offer a panoramic view of a beautiful city, for less than $1000 a month.
So it hurts me a little bit when people like DCist, who are supposed to be touting how great my town is, say things like "We may not have as cool a city" in reference to New York. It's a matter of taste, of course, but I personally like DC better than NY. That's why I live here, not there.
Living in and loving a city does not mean that you have to constantly compare it to the Big Apple and try to emulate it in every way. The District, believe it or not, has a special character all its own, and I think those of us who live here should work to develop that character. We don't need to constantly encourage each other to harness the character of other places.
I have been to New York and I had fun, but I didn't leave thinking, "Wow! I've GOT to move here!" Or even, "Wow! I've GOT to come back and visit again as soon as possible!" I left thinking, "Jesus. That place is filthy and crumbling, it smells terrible, and it's a fucking 7-million-way rat race. What is everyone so thrilled about?"