Top Ten Downtowns — Three Jeers for the Toilet!

No, the big surprise is not that Detroit made it into the top ten. In spite of what one’s perceptions may be due to multiple personality media spin, this is a uniquely American city with some of the greatest architecture and general history within US borders. However, what is surprising is that the Eastern Bloc of the United States, the Beltway, came in at number two in spite of the fact that D.C. has no relevant history (that isn’t steeped in idolization of government), no inspiring architecture, and no anything. The description supporting the choice is a hoot.

Due to its lack of skyscrapers, few people consider central Washington when they envision America’s best downtowns. But height isn’t everything, and D.C. more than makes up for it by having a downtown that is both vibrant and clean. Many of the United States’ most important buildings are contained within its limits, including the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. Downtown Washington has office space that rivals New York and Chicago, along with a spill-over residential vibrancy that is perhaps only equaled by Philadelphia.  In addition, it has the National Mall and the Potomac in its front yard, and it is largely bereft of the highways that slice apart all too many downtowns.

Yes, The Toilet – the deification of the state – is #2, and it beats out such amazing downtowns as Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. The most depressing place ever. You couldn’t attract me to this dungeon by tripling my salary. Personally, my two favorites are my hometown, Detroit, and glorious Chicago. Cities that lack vintage history, such as Miami and Seattle, don’t appeal to me beyond a visitation.


Corner of Griswold and Grand River in Detroit.
Photo by Karen DeCoster