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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.


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