Category Archives: cities

changes in how we talk about cities

At a meeting at a community organization in Boston, we were using various terms to describe local issues and observing that those phrases would not be clear to the people we were talking about–especially new immigrants. That made me wonder … Continue reading

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Ukraine means borderland

This isn’t a travel blog, and my photos aren’t very good, but here are some images that hint at Ukraine’s history as a borderland (which is its very meaning). For instance, a minbar (the staircase a preacher ascends in a … Continue reading

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Dubai, Uganda, and today’s global political economy

My family and I are just back from visiting our daughter, who works in Uganda, with a two-day stop in Dubai, where there’s a change of flights en route from Boston to Entebbe. We chose these destinations for family reasons. But … Continue reading

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a welcome talk for college interns newly arrived in Washington

I’d like to welcome you to Washington. I’d also like to welcome you to DC. To my ear, “Washington” means the official city, the nation’s capital, the seat of power. It’s also the destination for about 20 million visitors a … Continue reading

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roots of crime

Since May, I have been able to spend time in two of the world’s biggest metropolises, Istanbul and Mexico City. They are similar in several ways beside their vastness. Each is the leading city of a substantial and proudly independent nation … Continue reading

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Boston, recovering city

(On the train to NYC) It’s my sense that the second half of the 20th century was hard on America’s oldest city, but Boston is recovering from the wounds it sustained then. Boston entered the 1900s as the hub of … Continue reading

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Detroit and the temptation of ruin

In Detroit, they call it “Ruin Porn”: images of a 35-acre abandoned automotive plant, the 18-story abandoned railway station (modeled, in turn, on ancient Roman baths), and other vast and decayed structures. I can certainly understand why citizens of Detroit … Continue reading

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Israel, day 2

(Jerusalem) I am here on a political study tour; our main business is a large number of meetings with experts and representatives of various sectors of Israeli and Palestinian society. I won’t try to narrate the whole trip but will … Continue reading

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Cincinnati

I am stuck after nearly a week’s travel because the hurricane has canceled my flights homeward. But Cincinnati is a handsome and impressive place in which to be stranded. I am staying in the Netherland Plaza, an Art Deco extravaganza. … Continue reading

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seeing Paris in chronological order

Here is a plan for visiting major sites of Paris chronologically. 1. Roman Lutetia to the high Middle Ages This itinerary can be completed entirely on foot. Start at les Arènes de Lutèce (a Roman amphitheater off rue Monge). Walk … Continue reading

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