Talk about kicking you when you’re down. To me, that’s what Forbes has done with its second annual list of America's Most Miserable Cities. Don’t we all have enough negative and bad sh*t floating in our heads, hearts, and homes right now? Gee, thanks. *rolling eyes*
To create this list, Forbes looked at the 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., which meant those with a population of at least 378,000. They rated the cities on nine factors: commute times, corruption, pro sports teams, Superfund sites, taxes (both income and sales), unemployment, violent crime and weather.
Granted, I’ll give you weather hands down. And, up until last week, I’d have argued commute times. That’s because the Metro bus system is cutting routes dramatically after a failed sales tax referendum back in the fall. (Luckily, that’s not the case on my side of the river.) But sports teams? Seriously? We are Baseball Town USA! So what if the Rams suck?
Admittedly, I’ve got a horse in this race. I’m plenty peeved to find St. Louis at No. 10. Now, I’m not a Gateway City resident. I do, however, hold a much deeper affinity with the city than I do with the one whose ZIP code I’ve shared for the past two decades. I work in St. Louis. I went to high school there. Most of my friends live there. I like to hang out there. It’s just generally a great place.
It’s home. So, Forbes, you can kiss my butt. Is your city on the list? Did you get a bum rap?
In protest, I’m going to point out what I think some of the greatest things are about St. Louis. Feel free to comment and add yours!
Forest Park – In addition to its beautiful greenery, a backdrop for the 1904 World’s Fair, it is home to the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum, two wonderful establishments you can visit FOR FREE! Not many cities can say that.
The Arch – I take it for granted. I could almost see it from the house I grew up in (could see it from the roof). I now see it at least twice a day. I can even see it in part from my desk at work if I stand in front of my window just right. But I can’t tell you how awesome it is to see tourists gawk at it from the ground or shake each other awake as they drive down I-70.
The Hill – Mama Mia! You want some Italian? They got it!
Soulard – History, architecture, food, eclectic bars.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians – These folks throw one hell of a parade every St. Patrick’s Day in Dogtown without fail. And, on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s, there’s another parade downtown. It’s good to be Irish!
The Cardinals – Great bunch of guys. World Series in 2006. Enough said.
And that’s just a few things. I could go on and on. Just knowing that there is so much more I could say is enough to make me happy.