A Tale of Two Cities

Geographically different, New York and Rome actually have a lot in common. The beauty, the monuments, the division of fans for particular teams  and some neighborhoods: in Rome there is Monti, In Rome you have Monti, in New York you have the Lower East Side; the Upper  West Side to Flaminio; Pigneto to Bushwick.  And the similarities are surprisingly not surprising (Leggi in Italiano)

   New York city and Rome. Geographical they bear no resemblance, New York City is an island (unto itself), while Rome is located centrally at the heart of Italy. That being said, the two have many similarities that are worth noting. These parallels have only come after getting quite comfortable with both metropolitan surroundings, having both been thoroughly explored. The societal representations bestowed to each are prolific, in that each is it's own capital. New York city in the world's eyes is the capital of the U.S., and the apex of a lot of it's beliefs and founding. Much of the Mid-west population (and South) are beginning to groan at this statement. But this opinion is not just some of the perspectives of the U.S., but many opinions from people outside it. Rome is a capital of historic proportions and also authentically the capital of Italy.

   Within the walls of the two, common subjects appear frequently. Both have world famous noted structures of architectural and natural beauty. One river, the Tiber, slices through Rome, while two, the Hudson and East river, straddle the island of NYC. The Pantheon in one column (pardon the pun), the Flatiron in the other. San Pietro, the Empire State building. The Colosseo, (Old) Yankee Stadium. Famous Statues, both bountiful with museums, etc. etc. ? How many world metropolises have these similar traits?

   The people make up the living foundation of these meccas. Both New Yorkers and Romans are stereotypically known for being rude. The rest of the countries population tout this, but having lived in each, this can't be further from the truth. People from all over the exterior of each country go to great lengths and extents to call either their home, creating stiff competition to take up limited dwelling space of each city. Along with this competition come remarkable stories from every inhabitant, with vibrant personalities to match.

   The general pace of the people vastly differ. While New Yorkers tend to articulately scurry, Romans tend to meticulously “stroll”. In all inner aspects of city like this perhaps unintentional formula is applied. New Yorkers Happy Hour is comprised of limited time, discount priced, Martinis and appetizers, while Romans keep dinner at bay with Negronis and aperitivo. Both different, yet both the same. Sports are taken as seriously as politics in each, with the edge going to Rome. Seriously, Ultras, less espresso more Marco Mengoni and Yankee fans, less beer, more cheer. Even the division of fans for particular teams echos. You're either Yankees or Mets, or SS Lazio or AS Roma (Dickens's, A Tale of Two Cities, chimes faintly in the background.).

   The neighborhood structure of each is broken down even further, looking at the division between them. In Rome you have Monti, in New York you have the LES; UWS to Flaminio; Pigneto to Bushwick. The resounding characteristics between the microscopic breakdown is surprisingly, not surprising. Humans act and interact quite the same no matter what they're dressed in or what sea embraces their country's coastline. I can attest the beliefs these individuals practice and seek out are a common bond as well, whether it's a down for whatever attitude and wide range acceptance of Pigneto and Bushwick, or a growing family seeking more space and a more routinized life in the UWS or Flaminio. An observational side note; both also have a neighborhood within itself, that has its own physical borders, while they also have their own social borders. Governing their residents with their own dress code, and laws are the Vatican City in Rome and the borough of Brooklyn in NYC.

   The reason for this comparison isn't for the sake of competition, well maybe a bit of a sibling rivalry, for me anyway. But just as a father loves his children equally and for different reasons, so too is my love for each of these marvelous, inspiring meccas. There is a new addition to my family of cultural explorers. A member that is already equally inquisitive as me, and maybe more so at only a month old. She is the most important member of this team and her future is most influential. So of course a question looms overhead. The eternal city, the ultimate metropolis, or perhaps a new horizon awaits us…..

Poi vediamo…


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