For those places that syndicate our Monday blog, this would not be one to run on your site. I'll try to catch up with you tomorrow or Wednesday.
Today I am traveling and so I'm not going to be able to put together the standard Monday piece our readers are accustomed to. Actually, to be quite frank about it, the reason is less that I am traveling and more that I spent my evening last night doing something really fun and engaging rather than writing. Let me explain.
On Thursday of last week I left home to head to North Adams, Massachusetts, for a Curbside Chat at the Imagining North Adams community festival. Not only did we have a good turnout and a great conversation that went late into the evening on Friday, but the next day I got a chance to record a podcast with event organizer (and good friend) Jen Krouse along with a second podcast with cyber-friend turned real-friend, cycling advocate Eli Damon. These were really fun and insightful conversations and I'm excited to ultimately share them with you.
I then got on the Amtrak and headed to New York City where, after a brief connection at Penn Station (picture me running through the train station with four bags -- ugh -- leaping onto the train as the door is closing), I found myself at the home of Ian Rasmussen in Forest Hills.
Now Ian -- one of my best friends in the New Urbanism and a guy I could literally see each day of my life and never tire of -- has been building up his neighborhood to me, making all kinds of seemingly unreal claims that he literally lives in the urban version of utopia. Some of the boasting included the standard claim that there is a walkable neighborhood with nice architecture, a mix of uses, etc... He also talked about the proximity of the train station and how that provided quick and easy access to essentially anywhere. We all have some emotional connection to where we live (even if it is like me where it is an abusive relationship), but I suspected Ian's claims were a bit over the top.
Then I arrived and found that, if anything, he was selling the place short. I'm going to do a deeper profile of Forest Hills and post some of the many photos that I took some other time, but I must say that, in all of my traveling throughout North America, I've never come across a place that had these characteristics. Gorgeous architecture, walking distance to the greatest collection of restaurants, bars and retails, fifteen minutes to Penn Station and the heart of Manhattan, narrow streets and virtually no traffic, parks within walking distance....I could go on and on. I now understand why Ian is sometimes baffled by my writings about the choices being made through the rest of auto-dominated America. From his vantage point -- a place this small town, country boy would relocate to in a heart beat -- the vast majority of that we've done literally makes no sense.
The main reason for there being no substantive post today is that we were up really late last night talking and analyzing things. For those of you that subscribe to our podcast, Ian and I recorded three episodes -- around 2-1/2 hours worth of material -- and we easily could have gone additional hours if the early morning train trip had not been fast approaching.
I'm actually writing this from the Amtrak on my way to Washington D.C. where, this afternoon, I am doing a presentation at the U.S. Department of Energy. Shortly after that, I'm headed to the airport where I'm flying to Kansas City and another presentation, this one a joint effort with my friend Joe Minicozzi. Then to Salt Lake City for the Utah APA conference and finally to Naples for the Florida APA. The fall has begun and, while I'm really tired and homesick, I'm also enthused about the opportunities I have over the coming weeks to spread the Strong Towns message to many, many people.
So there is an update, compliments of the free wifi on the Amtrak (bet you don't get that in your normal commute). I'll try to post some new material later this week and, if nothing else, have some great podcasts and new SID.tv episodes to share with you.
Keep doing what you can to build strong towns.