7 Things About New York City That Make Phoenix Look Like a Cultural Wasteland

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CS Muncy / Village Voice
Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2013
Editor's note: We had so much fun over on Chow Bella, pitting New Yorker-turned-Phoenician Nina Gruber against Phoenician-turned-New Yorker Dominique Chatterjee against each other on the topic of food that we decided to do it again -- and this time, we're talking about culture. Today we share Chatterjee's view of things that make NYC tops. Check out Gruber's post about Phoenix props from earlier this week.

It takes an active community to make vibrant culture. With 8.25 million people -- over twice the size of L.A. (and five times that of Phoenix) -- it's no wonder that NYC is the cosmopolitan mega-capital of the country. As the sixth-biggest metro area in the United States, our fair Phoenix obviously also has a lot to offer, but given the vast quantity of stuff to do in the Big Apple, this Arizonan metropolis looks like a small village by comparison -- and we definitely don't mean Greenwich.

Community Gatherings

Name an interest or obscure part of your identity, and there's almost certainly a group of people meeting in NYC to talk about or celebrate it. Everyone knows about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but there's also the Veggie Pride Parade, Village Halloween Parade, and Coney Island Mermaid Parade (with Drunken Mermaid Gala after-party). The city is also home to the annual World Science Festival, which includes fun-filled outdoor demonstrations, and regularly holds creative festivals like FIGMENT, which turns Governors Island into a "a ginormous playground of participatory art" for one weekend every year and has now expanded to Boston, Chicago, and other cities.

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Metro Phoenix has a few local bookstores, primarily Changing Hands and Lawn Gnome, but small bookstores in NYC are a dime a dozen. City dwellers still order through Amazon (who doesn't?), but bibliophiles can also browse unique used collections to find the books they never knew were written as if exclusively for them. There are also street vendors who hock used books, absurd and popular titles alike, for as little as $1, meaning you don't even have to set foot in a store to find your next subway read. There are also lending libraries and shops where you can barter books for coffee.

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valleynative topcommenter

It seems to me that every "advantage" that New York City has to offer is related to the fact that there are so many people crowded together into a small area.

Not for me, thank you.


NYC is a dump. Oh yeah, we still believe in the bill of rights in PHX... no stop and frisk here. If you see Jewberg, tell him the next time he sends a couple of under cover cops to a PHX gun show, to come with them.

Brett Denton
Brett Denton

I know the answer. This rag of a newspaper


Anyone who thinks Phoenix culture compares to NYC has been out in the sun too long.

Joshua Hahn
Joshua Hahn

Thanks for clarifying! Maybe a better title next time?

Joshua Hahn
Joshua Hahn

Cultural Wasteland? Not cool Jackalope Ranch.


Didn't lil ole' New TImes Media of Phoenix purchase (rescue) the "highly influential" but finacnially struggling Village Voice in 2005. Imagine that, a lil ole' media company from Phoenix owning the highfalutin cultural paper of record in NYC. hhhmmm.

allanbartlett topcommenter

do you do ass to mouth with arpaio? teabilly moron

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