July 6th, 2009

planet

the city is too big if...

I came to a conclusion this week when we were walking around the country club plaza in KC. I needed to use the restroom, so I popped into the starbucks on the corner and used theirs. There's also a panera bread that surely would have been okay with that, and the Halls department store, and other places.

I decided that I like cities that are big enough to have cool stuff to walk around and see, but when they get so big that they discourage you from going to the bathroom... there's my limit. It just means things have gotten too big. It means the citizens don't appreciate tourists which is crap, because we're there putting money into their economy. It means that a restroom open to the public would be so overused and nasty that they've decided not to bother with it. It means that, as a city, they no longer care about taking care about people's basic physical needs.

In Wichita stores are happy to let you come in and use the restroom, hey, you're IN THE STORE, you get love for that. In Kansas City store clerks will at least point you around the corner to the closest eating establishment. In Austin I had to buy a coffee at a place to use one, once I did I knew the code for that place but I think it's on the line. Las Vegas loves tourists so of course there are gobs of restrooms. Washington DC doesn't have the cleanest, but they're there. Lawrence, KS you just have to pretend like you know where you're going and they tend to not bother you. New York City is useless. I think they expect you to squat behind a bush in Central park, even the restaurants have big nasty NO PUBLIC BATHROOM signs.

There's a line between a cool city with enough stuff to keep your attention, and someplace that's just gotten too big for it's own good. I think the line is somewhere between 600,000-700,000 people, based on my new test, but obviously it takes some personal investigation.