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John Cloud’s “New York Fetish” (8/1) disturbed me a great deal, and not because he so thoroughly engaged in what one might understandably call “D.C. bashing”; it disturbed me because so much of what he has said about my hometown is true.

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I often wonder if we would feel somewhat better about our place in the urban pantheon if we scrapped all this pretentious talk about being a “World-Class City,” because while there are a lot of good things about the place, a town whose subway closes at midnight, that only has two car inspection stations, and a government that could frequently make a dadaist scream with its surrealistic decisions is as far from that as we are at getting another major-league baseball team.

Face it, we are a big small Southern town—otherwise why would these downtown businesses with names like “New York Deli” close at, oh, 6 p.m.?

Some people undoubtedly take comfort in the fact that in, say, a few hundred years, they could emerge from their graves (or urns, if they prefer) and probably still find the cab commission fighting a conversion to meters (which will by then be basically relegated to the Smithsonian), Barry still at the helm, and of course, those two inspection stations. But as native son Marvin Gaye (whose voice is probably our Chrysler Building) once sang, “it makes me want to holler.”

And sigh, sigh, sigh.

Dupont Circle

via the Internet