Friday, December 16, 2011

City Blog, Country Blog

FatherBlog believes there are two kinds of people - those who live and/or work in New York City and hicks.

Back when TigerBlog used to live in Trenton, he took FatherBlog one night to one of the great restaurants in the city's Chambersburg section. His response? "Who would have thought this, a great restaurant in the middle of nowhere."

Trenton, N.J., is many things. The middle of nowhere is not one of them.

TigerBlog has never shared his father's love for the City, or for cities in general. They're too crowded, too dirty, too hard to park in, at least for TB.

He thought Dublin was a great city when he was there with the men's lacrosse team. And he loved Toronto when he was there. He's always liked Boston.

He went to college in Philadelphia and was fine with it back then. These days, he wouldn't choose to be in a city if he could avoid it.

He had no choice last week, when he had to go into Manhattan for a meeting. At the Waldorf-Astoria, no less.

For starters, he drove into the city. Why, people asked him? Well, when they figure out a way to coat the trains in a Purell-like substance, then TB will take the train.

He actually doesn't mind driving in the city. It's parking, getting out, walking around and all.

His meeting began at 9, so he had to make the trip in during the heart of the rush hour. He cannot for the life of him belief that people do that every day.

Seriously, to invest that much effort just to get to work in the first place? It has to make you either crazy or immune to any kind of annoyance, if you simply take that as part of a normal work day.

TigerBlog grew up in the suburbs, and he likes the open spaces, the lack of traffic, the slower pace in general. It's 180 degrees from TB's father, who can't function without the city as his backdrop.

As TB drove out of the Lincoln Tunnel on his way back to Princeton, he knew that the day had been a really strong reminder of all the things he didn't like about going into the city.

It also got him wondering about Princeton's geographical location and the impact it's had on the University's success, athletic and otherwise.

Princeton is actually two towns, one the township and the other the borough, though voters passed a referendum last November to consolidate the two into one, which apparently will happen in 2013.

It's located in Mercer County, N.J., about 10 miles north of Trenton. It's almost the exact halfway point between New York City and Philadelphia. For that matter, the ocean is only 45 minutes away.

Does this help Princeton in any way? TigerBlog thinks it does.

Of the eight Ivy League schools, five are city schools - Harvard (Boston), Penn (Philadelphia), Brown (Providence), Yale (New Haven), Columbia (New York City) - and two are somewhat rural schools - Dartmouth (Hanover, N.H.), Cornell (Ithaca, N.Y.).

Maybe rural is the wrong word, but they are more isolated campuses that are harder to get to, so whatever word describes that, that's what they are.

Princeton is the only really suburban campus in the league. It is the only school in the league that is close enough to a big city (actually two) that it only takes an hour to get there, yet far enough away from the city to have the open space of suburbia.

It's not for everyone.

It's not for those who never want to drive a car or want to be able to walk every single place they go or want to be able to, oh, inhale smoke in the doorway of every single building on every street because the people can't smoke inside.

As TB drove further and further down the New Jersey Turnpike, he was more and more convinced that location is a big factor for Princeton.

Athletically, the suburban campus has enabled the facilities to be more spread out and enabled the school to devote at least what appears to be more space for fields (grass or turf). At the same time, everything is on campus, easily accessible by walking or by bicycles, which are everywhere.

The campus also is attractive to coaches, many of whom have children who grow up in this area.

TB feels like the availability of New York and Philadelphia without the hassle of city life is big for college students. The relative safety of walking around late at night appeals to parents.

The whole package appeals to TB.

Hey, he made his one trip for awhile into New York City. He loves to see the skyline - especially in the rearview mirror.

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