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Small town blues

Some folks who have gone away and taken holidays in the Big Apple have nothing but fondness for the city that never sleeps.

This is not surprising.

After all, besides being one of the world’s financial capitals, the city has something for everyone — literally.

While Broadway shows and museum exhibits are among the city’s many tourist attractions, New York features establishments so specialized and esoteric that not even the most parochial-minded Manhattanites — who believe that Times Square is the center of the universe — know that these exist.

Despite being temporarily incapacitated by the September 11 attacks, the city and its residents have moved on, showing the world that its sense of community remains unshakable.

To further emphasize that the city will not be content to rest on its laurels, Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006 unveiled an ambitious plan during the US’s Earth Day celebrations.

Besides vowing to plant a million more trees in the said metropolis, Bloomberg said his administration will impose fees on cars during rush hour, a plan which aims to cut emissions and reduce traffic congestion.

Moreover, the mayor, famous for establishing a financial news service bearing his name, said his administration will raise an estimated $30 billion to improve mass transit.

Although the city’s legislature has already pooh-poohed Bloomberg’s programs, it is at least nice to know that the mayor cares enough about New York to actually even spend time thinking about such plans.

Unfortunately, this is not exactly something which Metro Manila city officials are famous for.

Although many well-intentioned experts have long proposed programs to make the metropolis a little bit livable — to use the term loosely — appeals for urban renewal and upgraded infrastructure have either fallen on deaf ears or rarely strayed beyond the confines of the drawing board.

For instance, even as far back as four years ago, has any Metro Manila resident heard of programs with real, practical benefits to improve city living?

Save for painting the whole metropolis pink and implementing a program called “Metro Guapo” — ask yourself, is that even world-class? Seriously, Metro Guapo? — no such programs for Metro Manila (except for cities such as Makati) exist.

And let’s not get started on traffic regulations across the whole megacity — they vary across the metropolis’ 16 cities and municipalities.

So unless we choose local and national leaders with coherent, sensible platforms on May 10, our small town blues aren’t going to fade away very soon.

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Text above was salvaged from an editorial I once proposed to write more than four years ago when I was working as a deskperson for a newspaper.

From And the Credit Goes to Dept. Rebus of I (heart) New York designed by Milton Glaser from Wikipedia.

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