The National Trust for Historic Preservation's recently released
list of "endangered" U.S. places contains a startling entry: The
Corner of Main and Main, Nationwide. Small-town America's most
beloved crossroads apparently are falling prey to large chain
stores with big parking lots that the Trust says diminish Main
Street USA's pedestrian friendliness.
I considered this situation today as I walked the streets of my
adopted hometown, New York City. Once considered dark and
dangerous, New York's resurgence as an in-demand destination has
brought to the forefront a quality that native New Yorkers always
understood: When you live here, it is a small town.
During the five-minute walk between my high-rise apartment
building and the bus depot, I waved to my dry cleaner, ordered eggs
from my favorite waitress at my regular coffee shop, glanced in the
windows of a new gift shop and a couple of hardware stores and got
my shoes shined.
If that's not small-town living, I don't know what is. Main
Street hasn't disappeared folks. It's alive and well and living in
New York City.