True Green Cities / Celebrating Three Years – How Green Is Modern Heritage?

Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is a modern masterpiece of town planning and Brazil's specific type of modernism designed by Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa.  Photo copyright UNESCO.

Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is a modern masterpiece of town planning and Brazil’s specific type of modernism designed by Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa. Photo copyright UNESCO.

It’s been three years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected.  Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my new venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one.  This is blog three of my anniversary week.

The Sustainability of Modern Heritage

The Shoreline Apartments in Buffalo, NY were designed by Paul Rudolph and built from 1972-1974.  They are currently threatened with partial demolition.

The Shoreline Apartments in Buffalo, NY were designed by Paul Rudolph and built from 1972-1974. They are currently threatened with partial demolition.

A topic I’ve been spending more and more time on is the sustainability of modern heritage.  In the past six months I’ve been teaching a graduate seminar on “Preserving Modern Heritage,” spoke about controlling humidity in modern architecture at the Docomomo US annual conference in Houston and was invited to speak at Greenbuild Brazil on this same topic in August.  While many of our traditional buildings are inherently green, many of our modern heritage buildings (sites from the early twentieth century to 1975) appear to be inherently “less green”.  Almost 60% of our building stock was built in this period and these buildings were typically the most energy-inefficient ever built.  These are the buildings that may be the biggest contributors to climate change. If we want to manage climate change, we need to address these buildings.  As we begin to acknowledge the significance of modern heritage and look to ‘green’ sites from that era, we find ourselves confronting questions and developing solutions reqarding authenticity, building fabric and energy efficiency that in many cases are the exact opposite of how we approach our traditional buildings. We are entering new territory with these buildings.

Preserving and greening modern heritage presents architects, engineers and preservationists with exciting challenges and fundamental dilemmas. What are the aspects of modernism that make it one of the most difficult periods to evaluate and retrofit?  These aspects include questions of authenticity, the use of experimental materials and techniques such as glass curtain walls and concrete panels, the use of hazardous and toxic materials like lead and plate glass, the ability to build disposable buildings and materials, the construction of the largest buildings and complexes ever built, and maintaining some of the most energy inefficient buildings ever built.

The Pope-Leighey House, a Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and currently located in Alexandria, VA after two moves, was designed originally in 1947 with many passive design features.

The Pope-Leighey House, a Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and currently located in Alexandria, VA after two moves, was designed originally in 1940 with many passive design features.

According to the Department of Energy Study on commercial buildings in 2003, the most energy efficient commercial buildings in the country were built before 1920 and after 1990, which would lead us to surmise that the most inefficient buildings in the country were built in the years in between.  And given the fact that 85% of our commercial building portfolio in the United States was built after 1945, the assumption can then easily be made that buildings from the modern era are the biggest problem we have from a climate change standpoint.  Many would like you to think they’re also the biggest problem we have in terms of aesthetics.  Not only culturally, but also physically, the distance between past and present has become ever shorter, making preservation efforts increasingly more urgent while at the same time appearing far more dramatic because they are often experienced within the same generation as a building’s construction.

Modern Challenges

Do we need more time to appreciate buildings of our own recent past?  We will be confronting these challenges more and more as our building stock ages. Some of the key themes include:

Experimental Materials & Assemblies: 

The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT, designed in 1949 by Philip Johnson is one of the world's modern icons. The replacement of the original plate glass has long been a topic of conversation.

The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT, designed in 1949 by Philip Johnson is one of the world’s modern icons. The replacement of the original plate glass has long been a topic of conversation.

Glass curtain walls, precast wall and ceiling systems, concrete structure and panels – all have one thing in common – they were experimental materials and assemblies.  The excitement of designing and building something completely new often superseded the rigorous research needed to confirm the longevity of these materials.  Now, decades later, they may be crumbling and impossible to restore.  Should we be forced to replace them in kind when they never worked or can we redesign and reinstall replacements that will work better but might look differently?

Sealing Buildings with Curtain Walls: 

The Farnsworth House in Plano, IL, designed by Ludwig Mies van de Rohe and opened in 1951, has one operable hopper window and one door on opposite ends of one another.

The Farnsworth House in Plano, IL, designed by Ludwig Mies van de Rohe and opened in 1951, has one operable hopper window and one door on opposite ends of one another.

In this same period we seemed to decide as a culture that operable windows were old fashioned and unnecessary.  So we started hermetically sealing our buildings, and installing curtain walls and windows that couldn’t open.  How do we remake these features so that they improve our energy use, controllability and comfort but do not endanger the historic integrity of the buildings?

Hazardous & Dangerous Materials:

Hand in hand with experimental materials went materials that were dangerous and toxic.  Floor tiles made with asbestos.  Curtain walls out of plate glass.  Sealants with asbestos and sometimes lead.  The list goes on.  Should we be restoring dangerous materials such as plate glass?

Disposable Approach to Construction:

It was all about excess during this era.  Why build a building to last when we could just replace it when we tired of it?  While most of the primary resources at our historic sites were built to last, that does not mean we may not encounter other resources at current or future sites that just were not built to last.

The Glass House was designed with a radiant heating system and no air conditioning.  The house is ventilated and cooled in warm weather by opening the doors on each of its four sides and lowering the shades as the sun hits the building.

The Glass House was designed with a radiant heating system and no air conditioning. The house is ventilated and cooled in warm weather by opening the doors on each of its four sides and lowering the shades as the sun hits the building.

While many of these questions suggest that modern heritage is unsustainable, more and more research is showing that many of our modern buildings actually were built with passive design features and sustainable approaches.  Future research and case studies will start to dispel the fact that all modern heritage is unsustainable.  It’s how we manage and maintain these buildings in many respects that is the culprit.

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True Green Cities / What Do Our Cemeteries Say About Us?

An Easter Walk Through God’s Acre & Salem Cemetery

God's Acre, the Moravian Graveyard, in Winston-Salem, NC.

God’s Acre, the Moravian Graveyard, in Winston-Salem, NC.

It’s been three years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected.  Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my new venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one.  This is blog two of my anniversary week.

Each Easter my fella and I participate in the Moravian Easter celebration of Easter, although neither of us is Moravian.  Living within a historic and living Moravian town, Old Salem, is a fascinating experience.  Of the European Christian religions that found homes in America, I find this one, one of the most egalitarian and open.  Although the Moravian religion did have its own internal and external battles with the practice of slavery, it was a community that shared and cared fairly among its men and women much earlier than most.  The town of Salem was a religious-based community and government from its founding in 1766 until 1849 when it became secular.  The Home Moravian Church at Salem Square remains the headquarters of the American Moravian Church.

A view across God's Acre.

A view across God’s Acre.

In keeping with the tradition, Easter begins in the wee hours of the morning when the Moravian bands wander the streets of Winston-Salem, playing outside residents’ homes to ensure they don’t sleep through sunrise service. This year they gathered at our corner at 2 am.  Easter Sunrise Service begins in the Town Square where the minister starts the service from the entry porch of Home Moravian Church.  Tens of thousands gather in the square, many of whom are not Moravian. After about a half hour of the service, everyone walks down to God’s Acre, accompanied by the bands. The service continues and finishes within the Salem Moravian Graveyard known as God’s Acre.

Social Justice, Class and Our Cemeteries

The "Married Brother's" Square.

The “Married Brother’s” square marker.

I find God’s Acre one of the most serene and beautiful cultural landscapes I have ever experienced.  Unlike the picturesque Catholic and Protestant cemeteries that I grew up with, where every family tries to outdo the next with the design and scale of their tombstones, the focus of God’s Acre is to be egalitarian.  The cemetery is divided into squares and congregants are buried chronologically according to “Single Brothers,” “Single Sisters,” “Married Brothers,” “Married Sisters,” children,  also separated by squares intended for full caskets or urns.  Each burial spot uses the same size marble stone indicating that everyone is equal under God.  Families are not buried together.

The grave of Christian Sussdorff, a "Married Brother," and the original owner of John's house.

The grave of Christian Sussdorff, a “Married Brother,” and the original owner of John’s house.

I share John’s very special tradition each Holy Saturday.   We gather flowers from his property and make five vases, which we place on five very special graves.  His house was built by Christian and Louisa Sussdorf who each receive one of the vases.  Then we place flowers on the graves of Samuel and Christina Shultz, the owners of the house that he studied for his master’s thesis and the reason he came and settled in Old Salem.  Finally, we place flowers on the grave of Frank Morton in the neighboring Protestant Salem Cemetery – Frank was one of the founder’s of Old Salem Museums and Gardens and one of John’s mentors.   I appreciate the simplicity of the graveyard’s plan, both architecturally and socially, and appreciate the fact that 300 hundred years later this burial tradition remains.  This lovely annual ceremony of John’s is one that appreciates the beauty and fairness of the graveyard’s design.

Salem Cemetery

The picturesque and colorful landscape of Salem Cemetery, adjacent to God's Acre.

The picturesque and colorful landscape of Salem Cemetery, adjacent to God’s Acre.

We spent Easter afternoon roaming around both God’s Acre and the neighboring Salem Cemetery.  Salem Cemetery is the type of cemetery with which I was more familiar, grand monuments and mausoleums marking family plots, flowering trees and meandering walkways.  What we also came across which is not found in my family’s northern cemeteries is a Confederate plot and an African-American only site.  It was ironic that the African-American site was a stone’s throw from the Confederate plot.  Here, the cemetery’s distinguishing characteristic is one of segregation – segregation by class and segregation by race.  I guess by using the word “segregation” I imply that this cemetery is less fair and just than God’s Acre.  What I do love about these typical picturesque cemeteries is that at every corner you turn you find something new and different, and here the African-American area or the Confederate area each tells an important if not a positive story about our history.  Certainly some religions and some communities were ahead of others with their level of respect for all humanity and what we find in Winston-Salem is that these differing approaches have grown and expanded next to one another so that it becomes less obvious over the decades what the differences were.  Happy Earth Day!   (See more photographs below)

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A Confederate soldier's grave in Salem Cemetery.

A Confederate soldier’s grave in Salem Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The African-American burial ground in Salem Cemetery.

The African-American burial ground in Salem Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graves in the transitional area between God's Acre and Salem Cemetery.

Graves in the transitional area between God’s Acre and Salem Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The serenity of God's Acre.

The serenity of God’s Acre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The grave of Louisa Sussdorff in God's Acre.

The grave of Louisa Sussdorff in God’s Acre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking out over the roofs of the mausoleums in Salem Cemetery.

Looking out over the roofs of the mausoleums in Salem Cemetery.

True Green Cities / Celebrating Three Years – What Does It Take To Make a Neighborhood?

The 600 Block of Main Street which includes the historic Market Arcade (with the arched entry in the center) and the Market Arcade Cinemas, a block from my loft.

The 600 Block of Main Street which includes the historic Market Arcade (with the arched entry in the center) and the Market Arcade Cinemas, a block from my loft.

It’s been three years since I launched Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, PLLC and while many things have changed, my goal to work on “greening what’s already here” continues to be met, often in places I never expected.  Many people are finding new ways to integrate historic preservation and green building practices, which makes my new venture a delightful and intellectually inspiring one.

Given that I am currently living and working in the midst of a construction zone in downtown Buffalo, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to make a livable neighborhood. What do you need to be happy where you live? I know what I need and it may not be what the walkability wonks proclaim. Or is it?

What I Need to be Happy

The Space Needle from my living room window in the Queen Anne High School Apartments. A more glorious view could not be imagined, even when it's foggy or cloudy!

The Space Needle from my living room window in the Queen Anne High School Apartments. A more glorious view could not be imagined, even when it’s foggy or cloudy!

In thinking about the places I’ve lived in the past 20 years, I’ve developed my own list of what I need to make me happiest where I live.  The primary objective of all these needs is that they are within walking distance to my home or readily accessible to efficient rapid transit.  So here’s my list:  grocery store (one that I like!!), pharmacy, cafés, restaurant choices, dry cleaners, book store, gym, park and outdoors access.  And integrated within all of these community features is the fact that there are people out and about and using all of these places which need to be mostly open seven days a week.  And I need to have friends within walking distance too.

Walkability Score

After living in a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan with no view, the move to an apartment in Seattle with views of mountains and iconic landmarks brought me great delight.

After living in a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan with no view, the move to an apartment in Seattle with views of mountains and iconic landmarks brought me great delight.

An organization called Walkable.com (which is primarily a real estate-based marketing company) will let you put in your address and then it will immediately spit out your “walkability score.”  I put in my recent addresses but when I started digging in deeper realized that it’s pretty hard to qualify the score from a blind website.  It might list “grocery stores” within walkable distance but it doesn’t qualify that these are awful convenience type-stores that I would never go in, let alone “grocery shop” in.  Or your neighborhood might have hills so they mark that down apparently for its “bikability” without acknowledging that in Seattle everyone rides bikes because of the hills and the great exercise it gives you! It also isn’t quick enough to acknowledge that in the urban and small business landscape, stores and restaurants close and open annually if not monthly.   So, in the five places I’ve lived in the past 20 years here is my ranked list and then we’ll compare them to the Walkability.com score:

  1. 523 East 78th Street, New York, NY  (1992-2003) TIED WITH
  2. 201 Galer Street, Seattle, WA (2003-2006)
  3. 4607 Connecticut Street NW, Washington, DC (2006-2013)
  4. 448 Factory Row, Winston-Salem, NC (2009-2013 part-time)
  5. 514 Main Street, Buffalo, NY (2013-present)
The view out my curtain wall windows from my Buffalo loft is always a surprise.

The view out my curtain wall windows from my Buffalo loft is always a surprise.

Another interesting thing to note is that the Walkable.com score does not evaluate the actual living place and my score above is rather ambivalent about this.  For example, my Buffalo loft is by far the most spectacular apartment I’ve had. My Seattle apartment was the most inspiring with a view of Mt. Rainier and the Space Needle, my DC apartment had the most glorious sun and a view of Rock Creek Park and our Old Salem house is a National Historic Landmark on an acre of land with a back porch, a “strollway” out front and the biggest magnolia tree I’ve ever seen.  My NYC apartment was also in a National Register and locally designated historic district, but it could fit in one of my Buffalo bathrooms!

Apartments for the Working Class Poor

My apartment in City & Suburban Homes on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is the perfect location for the best in walkability.

My apartment in City & Suburban Homes on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is the perfect location for the best in walkability.

The Walkable.com score for my East 78th Street apartment is a round 100!  And I’d have to agree with that. It’s located within City & Suburban Homes, a complex built for the “working class poor” from 1906-1914.  It is also one of the most significant historic apartment designs, transforming NYC tenements into livable and socially fair places for all (individual plumbing and bathrooms, windows in every room and cross ventilation).  It is located on a full block between York Avenue and the East River, across the street from a city park and public pool, has a walkway across the FDR to provide access to the East River Esplanade so you can run the entire east side of Manhattan, is five blocks from Central Park, three blocks from the subway and 1 block from the cross-town bus. Being on the Upper East Side, every corner has shops, manicurists, wine shops, groceries, restaurants, cafes, pharmacies.  My favorite Italian market was one block away as were 3 gyms and multiple yoga studios.  It goes on and on. And the ten years I lived there my best friends lived three blocks away as well.

City & Suburban Homes, located on York Avenue between East 78th and East 79th Streets, tells a significant story about the transformation of apartment building design in New York City.

City & Suburban Homes, located on York Avenue between East 78th and East 79th Streets, tells a significant story about the transformation of apartment building design in New York City.

While my individual apartment was small and on the 4th floor of a walk-up, it was my own, it was rent controlled, it was a one bedroom and the minute I walked outside and saw my little park I was happy.  The Upper East Side was the perfect place for me to live – it was quiet and residential.   I had easy access to my two favorite museums (the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Natural History).  I preferred to go to yoga studios downtown and my favorite gym was cross-town on 83rd and Amsterdam, but it was all readily accessible without a car.  Those ten years were the most amazing urban experience and exactly what I wanted then.  And I don’t know that I’ve ever been happier. 

A View from a High School

The view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle from my neighborhood.

The view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle from my neighborhood.

After living in NYC for 20 years, with no view from my apartment other than the light well “courtyards” and my neighbors’ living rooms, suddenly living on the top of the highest hill in Seattle, with curtain wall windows and a balcony and direct views of Mount Rainier, the Space Needle and the Seattle harbor, I truly thought I had entered paradise.  Every morning I would run to the window to see the mountains and the Space Needle.  Even if it was raining or foggy, the view of mountains or the Space Needle peering through the clouds was just as exciting.  Queen Anne is one of the most glorious neighborhoods anywhere and I lived in the old Queen Anne High School, which had been converted into apartments. Queen Anne was filled with Victorian, Queen Anne, Arts & Crafts and Modern houses all with amazing views wrapped around Queen Anne Avenue North which was lined with cafes, tea shop, restaurants, a gym, two yoga studios, pet shops, flower shops, a fantastic book shop, Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Metropolitan (a Whole Foods-like grocery shop no longer there).  My Saturdays in Queen Anne were perfect – I’d walk down the hill to yoga, then go across the street to the tea shop for tea with my girlfriends. Followed by a ramble back up Queen Anne Ave with stops at the flower shop, grocery, and bookstore.  I sure do miss my weekends in Seattle.

The Seattle Central LIbrary designed by Rem Koolhaas was only a 15 minute walk down Queen Anne Hill from my apartment.

The Seattle Central LIbrary designed by Rem Koolhaas was only a 15 minute walk down Queen Anne Hill from my apartment.

So I find it strange and amusing that the walkscore from my building, which was perched above our little “main street,” is only an 83.    For me, hardly any place could be better.  The major negative about my stint in Seattle was that my office was in the suburbs 30 miles south of Seattle. With no public transit there to speak of, I had to drive back and forth which was really torturous. I-5 is the major and only highway connecting all the communities in between the mountains and the water.  The traffic was awful, accidents all the time.  If my office had been downtown that would have been a much more civilized experience. The good thing was I had a schedule where I worked Mon-Thurs 10 hours so I could have Fridays off, which gave me more time to enjoy my neighborhood of choice.

A Bookstore is the Center of the Neighborhood

The only Richard Neutra house in Washington, DC was just two blocks from my DC apartment on the edge of Rock Creek Park.

The only Richard Neutra house in Washington, DC was just two blocks from my DC apartment on the edge of Rock Creek Park.

My Washington, DC neighborhood of Forest Hills was a lush and fabulous place to live.  My building, a 1929 art deco 8-story apartment complex was just four blocks to the Metro with a great bus line that stopped in front of our building.  Connecticut Avenue was designed to have shopping center/main street strips at each neighborhood node.

The heart of our neighborhood was Politics & Prose, one of the grandest bookstores anywhere in America.  In either direction we had pizza shops, restaurants, grocery stores, a famous car wash, a pet store, a frame store.  There are Trader Joes’ and Whole Foods in DC. and while not in my home neighborhood, they were within walking distance from my office in Dupont Circle so that worked well.  I had a gym in my building and my favorite yoga studio was several blocks from my office.  So the walkscore for DC at 75 befuddles me.  If any neighborhood defines “walkable” this is it.

Living in a Historic Town

The Old Salem Strollway connects downtown Winston-Salem to the Salem Reservoir and runs in front of our house.

The Old Salem Strollway connects downtown Winston-Salem to the Salem Reservoir and runs in front of our house.

The most unusual residence among the five, where I live part-time, is in Old Salem, a historic living town, in Winston-Salem, NC.  My fella is the Vice-President of Restoration at Old Salem Museums & Gardens, and lives in an 1839 historic late Federal style house.  It is a joyful place with amazing sun and quiet on almost an acre of land.  It is the one single-family house I’ve lived in since moving out of my parents’ house in the suburbs.  Walkscore.com gives it a 72; I’d probably give it closer to a 90.  There is a strollway in front of the house that takes you downtown (a 10 minute walk) or to the bike path which heads out to Salem Lake (a park and reservoir) and the YWCA, which is a fantastic gym and fitness center, is along the strollway.   Old Salem has a variety of terrific little museum shops and the best farmers’ market that I have ever been to. While the farmers’ market is only open six months out of the year, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are only a 5-minute drive away and the ten-minute walk downtown leads you to Washington Perks, a specialty market.  Downtown also has one of the best small art and first-run movie houses in America, a/perture; a great variety of very good restaurants, a theatre, a convention center and a nice collection of small-scale skyscrapers.  All in all Winston-Salem, and Old Salem in particular, is a well-served small city.

An Oasis in Main Street’s Desert

The current view out my front window in downtown Buffalo is not pleasant but potentially suggests progress.

The current view out my front window in downtown Buffalo is not pleasant but potentially suggests progress.

So it is with great curiosity, if not disdain, that I see that the walkable score for my loft on Main Street in Buffalo is a 97.   If you’ve read any of my blogs over the past year, you’ll know that I am quite torn over my Buffalo living.  I have a glorious 2-story live-work loft overlooking Main Street. With 10-foot ceilings and over 2000 square feet, I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful urban residence.  I get amazing light and I love every square foot of my place, as do my three cats.  But despite what the Walkable.com score suggests, the downtown community amenities are sorely lacking.  They say there are two “grocery stores” within walking distance without clarifying that they are barely convenience stores that I wouldn’t go in if my life depended on it (truly).  Downtown is seeing a lot of development – more restaurants, more living spaces, but I think I was probably five years too early here. The challenge will be to see if I can make it through the next year.  Most cafés and coffee shops close after 3 pm and are not open on weekends. There just isn’t yet the density or capacity to warrant keeping them open. And as a small business owner I understand how every hour you are open you need to pay staff and overhead costs.  And the Walkable.com score also doesn’t identify the fact that a Methadone clinic, parole office and Health & Human Services offices are all located on the same block I live in.  It’s a hard call.  I understand we need these services, it’s just really challenging to live so close to them and the unease factor it brings.

Perks

Perk’s Cafe & Market directly across the street from my loft is like an oasis in the desert of Main Street even if I temporarily have to go around the construction fencing to access it.

There are some terrific amenities though that I can walk to – Shea’s Theatre for the once or twice a year I go to the theatre; Market Arcade Cinema (which sadly from a financial standpoint is always empty but from a patron standpoint is fantastic because you can go to opening night of “The Avengers” or “The Hobbit” and never have to worry about buying tickets ahead of time or getting sold out) which also sadly is up for sale; the Central Library and City Hall – both of which I visit regularly for work research; a handful of restaurants, and two pharmacies which are borderline acceptable.  A fantastic second-hand book shop is a few blocks from me and the one metro line is outside my door.   No dry cleaners (although our building has an agreement with a dry cleaner who picks up our clothes twice a week so I can’t really complain there!), no gym I find acceptable, and no grocery store.  There have been rumors that a two-story building across the street from me has been bought with the intention of turning it into a grocery store but the owner made his money from a Dollar Store dynasty so I’m not hopeful. The only thing I would hate more than Dollar Stores would be a two-story Dollar Store.

One of the joys of living in Old Salem is the gardens sprinkled throughout the historic district.  Green space is one of the major things missing in downtown Buffalo.

One of the joys of living in Old Salem is the gardens sprinkled throughout the historic district. Green space is one of the major things missing in downtown Buffalo.

The best thing to happen to my 500 Block of Main Street in the past six months has been the opening of Perk’s Café – a coffee and tea shop with breakfast pastries, soups, salads and sandwiches.  I cannot stress enough how much it has improved my life to be able to run across the street, chat with the staff, meet other neighbors and get a great reasonably-priced bowl of soup.  (Sadly the current construction fences mean I can’t just run across the street now but have to go down to the corner and back again – but this is temporary.)

Where Would I Live?

Easy access to the National Mall and monuments like the Jefferson Memorial are one of the joys of Washington, DC-living.

Easy access to the National Mall and monuments like the Jefferson Memorial are one of the joys of Washington, DC-living.

So, I think the moral of my tale here is that no place is perfect.  I have loved every place I’ve lived for various reasons and they each have very-site specific pros and cons.  If you made me choose one place right now, it would be NYC.  NYC is really one of the great loves of my life.  Although, if I could move my sister and fella out of Buffalo and North Carolina respectively, I might just take them to Seattle.  The reality is I have been incredibly fortunate to live in each and every one of these glorious places.  If only we could be beamed places like I always expected we’d be able to when I was growing up watching Star Trek, then I wouldn’t have to choose just one at any given time!

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