Sunday, November 25, 2007

Worlds apart


We live 10 minutes from where this picture was taken.
Ten minutes by car.
In my town you will have too look hard and long to find a home for under US$ 700,000.
Perhaps closer to US$ 800,000.
Most homes are over a million dollars.
Monthly taxes from about US$2,000. and up.
Garbage collection not included.

It's not that our town is an example of a well managed town.
It's more likely that it's become a nice town because a lot of people
with good jobs in New York find it convenient to live here.
And it's pretty as a postcard.
Last year it was named one of the ten best towns in America to live in.
Maplewood, New Jersey. A half hour train ride to New York Penn station.
Or, on a weekend, you're downtown Manhattan in less than half an hour, via Holland tunnel.
By car.

In between lies some of Americas worst towns.
With Newark as a center of what's gone wrong with many
once grand American cities.
Corruption, crime, drugs, poverty, misery.
Just ten minutes away from what's perhaps as close to the American dream you can get.

Newark, and the surrounding towns, have got potential.
There's a new stadium, where the New Jersey Devils play hockey.
An attractive almost new opera house.
And it's just a hop and a skip from Manhattan after all.

That potential may still take light-years to materialize.
Especially now since the economy seems to be turning for worse again.
If law enforcement looks after its property as badly as this photo shows,
there might not be much business for a laundry washing your best garment.
In years to come. If ever.

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