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Well, I wouldn't live in either Ann Arbor or Madison for any amount of money, but if I had to choose between the two, I'd take Madison. I've been to Ann Arbor. Many times. That's why I'd choose Madison.
As a long time Ann Arborite, I have to say... I don't know, as I haven't been to Madison! But as described by our bloggeress on many occasions, it seems pretty cool -- Art Fair is on now here, so getting around town is like there's a big lake in the middle of things...I need a proper invite!
Ann Arbor, like Madison perhaps, has a serious "smug control" problem that is at its acutest during the current sidewalk cafe lotus & latte season. . . .
I also prefer Madison to A2. I'd rather live here than in any other town/city that holds a Big 10 school -- although the Twin Cities are a close second.
I have never been to Madison, but Jacques nailed it with the smug problem in the arrogance capital of Michigan. For full disclosure, I went to Mich St., so part of my view of Ann Arbor is influenced by that, so I am not unbiased. I do have to say that some of the worst drivers I have ever had to deal with were in AA. If you see a hippie in a subcompact with a "You can't hug your children with nuclear arms" bumperstickers (along with 10 other bumperstickers), treat that driver as you would a drunk driver.
where is east lansing in all this or is the contestant contest for second place?
Aren't you the Arbor Ann of the blogosphere?
Both seem like fairly boring places to live - provincial and homogeneous white, upper middle class lib. If you're a liberal law prof. with some juice, you're better off setting your sights on Berkeley, or at the very least, Cambridge.
Actually, Ann Arbor is quite diverse. More diverse than the NYC suburb I used to live in. Now that was WHITE. I prefer Ann Arbor to the icky East Coast 'burbs. Kids can walk to town. Have paper routes without worry. And take courses at UM during high school.I've been to Madison too, and it is also a great place to live.
Having grown up in Ann Arbor and lived therein for quite a bit of my life - I now find Grand Rapids home by way of Chicago.Ann Arbor is cursed by the U of M and the people who work there and attend school there. The supposition that it’s a “rich and diverse” environment is only true if think that university towns represent that. When I drove cab in Ann Arbor, I used to say that people who love Ann Arbor grew in up New Jersey or the like. It’s a place you go to get away from where you grew up.Ann Arbor is adult day care for the East Coast. It’s where rich send their kids to get away from them. People who live in Ann Arbor proper are usually looking to retreat from the real world. It’s Disneyworld for intellectuals.I like Grand Rapids just because it's a lot more real than Ann Arbor. It's also easier to live in than Chicago.
I've only ever lived in three places: small town Michigan, Ann Arbor, and DC. Ann Arbor is the clear winner of the three. They have actual smart people there. Sure, they're smug, but it's way better than completely and totally uninteresting, which seems to be par for the course in the big cities.I'd love to see Madison, though. Milwaukee is fun and Wisconsin is generally underrated.Anyone who went to Michigan State should probably step away from the keyboard here. East Lansing is a hole. Grand Rapids is nice, though.
One more thing: the guy who writes Ann Arbor is Overrated is pretty much a douchebag. He should be ignored at all costs. People who dedicate a substantial portion of their free time to telling everyone else why some place is crappy are obsessive and weird.
I actually have a lot of ties to Ann Arbor (ann althouse thinks the town was named after her). both parents graduated from there, i've performed a lot in Hill Auditorium over the years and most important if you go to "The Brown Jug" on I think S. University...well may dad and his brother owned the place in the 30s. It was a gas station before that and I have menus from then. You can go in the managers office and the ownership sequence is posted or at least it was...
Ann Arbor struck me as basically just a left-wing version of Memphis or Atlanta or some other tree-filled medium-sized American city. Pretty, in a generic sort of way, but not all that interesting.Never been to Madison, though.
Nice places to visit, but, in winter, too damn cold to live there.On the other hand, the Charlottesville, Virginia environs are delightful, especially if you have a pool for the summer.
People who dedicate a substantial portion of their free time to telling everyone else why some place is crappy are obsessive and weird.Where is Dave (TM)?
What about people who devote a substantial amount of their time to praying that Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson are executed for treason?Because, Wison and Plame are one step closer to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg status, now with this latest Judge's ruling against them.Love, Maxine
I love the way Maxine's mind works...something like that old game "frogger"....couple jumps forward...veer to the right. back. left left left. squash.
I worked for a defense contractor headquartered in Ann Arbor for 10 years... talk about cognitive dissidence issues...anyway, I only traveled there 10-15 times, but thought it was a pleasant town, with good wine lists... :)
oh, and an overrated football team... I'm from PAC 10 country :)
More diverse than the NYC suburb I used to live in. Now that was WHITE. Why is it diversity must always be an issue of race? How much in common culturally do you have with a Pole, Russian, Brit or a German? I always found that those who sought 'diversity' in their neighborhoods were cool with it as long as the person next door was the Huxtables. We are all 'diverse'. The fact that I have the same skin color as my neighbors means squat. They're good people and my life is no more 'enriched' due to their skin color but rather to their good nature.Sorry for the rant but that kind of stuff bugs the crap out of me.
Ryan is pretty indicative of the typical Ann Arbor attitude. The people in AA are interesting, if you find a bunch of East Coast snobs telling you how smart they are over and over is your idea of an interesting conversation. I may be a Spartan, but I think I can hold my own here, so I won't be stepping away from the keyboard here.
Camden has a nice children's discovery center.But don't overlook Newark.That is, when you're thinking of relocating to New Jersey.In Michigan, what about downtown Detroit?
Doug, the good people of Ann Arbor don't tell you how smart they are; they just ARE smart and act like it. I'm sorry if they didn't teach you to differentiate those things in East Lansing, but we can't all go to land grant schools.
Smug control's also a problem in Cambridge the Lesser (AKA the Dear) in a naggin' nanny-state like Massachusetts , where I lived mostly at Harvard's incomparable libraries while finishing a book. Mass motorists in Boston and Cambridge the Lesser are as rude and homicidal as Michigan's (zebra crossings for pedestrians are usually ignored--even at my Vets hospital in Ann Arbor medical staff felt compelled to run across them to avoid cars speeding through the crossings). The Hunter S. Thompson solution to this perilous situation for walkers always seemed quite reasonable to me: allow the fleeing car a range of twenty-five yards or so, then drop to one knee and squeeze off three or four rounds into the petrol tank. They'll never do it again. . . .
Probably changed, but as of 1991 the jail food in Ann Arbor was way better than Dane County's.
Ryan, many of the fine people of Ann Arbor not only openly brag about how smart they are, they often go out of their way to tell outsiders how dumb the outsiders are. While at a party in AA, someone was mentioned who attended Western Michigan. One classy Ann Arborite dismissed it as a "compass college" and told the whole party his high school was more challenging than WMU. And I learned the difference between humility and extreme conceit long before my collegiate years
I've lived in both Ann Arbor and Berkeley, and if you don't think Berkeley has a "smug control" problem, you've got another thing coming.
The Drill Sgt:Oh, you are so right: my brother, who was a conscientious objector during the last stages of the 'Nam thing (supported by my dad, who worked in Los Alamos where I was born while he was making hydrogen bomb triggers), now works for General Dynamics, formerly ERIM, doing uh, satellite type stuff...You gotta love Ann Arbor. If you want good comedy, look up the news reports of when the neo-nazis demonstrated and the anti-neo-nazis trashed city hall.Good times, good times...
People who dedicate a substantial portion of their free time to telling everyone else why some place is crappy are obsessive and weird.You say "obsessive and weird" like it's a bad thing.
Ryan-Don't be a hater. AAIO's blog is a social club. Some people don't have the world's best social skills and coming together with others to complain allows for them to actually make friends.In Tokyo the English blokes would go to the English themed pub and whine about the metro being closed after midnight and how everything closed early in Tokyo and how the local girls didn't want to jump in the sack with them. In Chicago griping about the L is a way to start up conversation. Need an ego boost and quick hit at the poetry slam? "The train is late, it's late today. G - D - F'n CTA." A sure crowd pleaser. Don't deny AAIO his social life line. As for Madison, I love the place. At twice the population of Ann Arbor, it SHOULD have a wider range of things. The cheese is awesome and it is really easy to meet people. On the downside, it is significantly colder than Ann Arbor and a pain in the A$$ as far as air travel is concerned.
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