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As a Chicago resident transplanted from elsewhere, I've always been happily amazed how in downtown Chicago you'll find people from all over the city going out to eat, going to museums, hanging out in Grant Park, doing things OTHER than going to work, and doing so regularly and completely at ease. It's obvious that in Chicago people from north, west, and south neighborhoods feel an ownership of the center of the city--they know they belong downtown, that downtown is for everyone and no one is going to stop them from taking advantage of it.

This astounded me coming from New York, because there's always that little undercurrent when you're from outside of Manhattan and go into Manhattan for some cultural, or shopping, or whatever reason, that you don't exactly belong there. That only those of the means or luck to afford to live in Manhattan south of 96th Street legitimately belong there.

I don't know what other cities may have the same feeling. I'd say Philly residents feel a real ownership of downtown, whereas Boston's Hub can feel pretty off-putting if you're not from a downtown neighborhood. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this. The feeling of downtown ownership I think is one of Chicago's (and Chicagoans') greatest assets.
 

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NYC2ORDGuy said:
As a Chicago resident transplanted from elsewhere, I've always been happily amazed how in downtown Chicago you'll find people from all over the city going out to eat, going to museums, hanging out in Grant Park, doing things OTHER than going to work, and doing so regularly and completely at ease. It's obvious that in Chicago people from north, west, and south neighborhoods feel an ownership of the center of the city--they know they belong downtown, that downtown is for everyone and no one is going to stop them from taking advantage of it.

This astounded me coming from New York, because there's always that little undercurrent when you're from outside of Manhattan and go into Manhattan for some cultural, or shopping, or whatever reason, that you don't exactly belong there. That only those of the means or luck to afford to live in Manhattan south of 96th Street legitimately belong there.

I don't know what other cities may have the same feeling. I'd say Philly residents feel a real ownership of downtown, whereas Boston's Hub can feel pretty off-putting if you're not from a downtown neighborhood. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this. The feeling of downtown ownership I think is one of Chicago's (and Chicagoans') greatest assets.
Interesting observation. No place, of course, offers the feeling of exclusion as Manhattan and its view point on bridge and tunnel people. That Manhattan remains "The City" to not only NJ, Westchester, and LI, but to the 4 outer boroughs, as well, offers a separation that is not part of Chicago politically (no subdivisions like th boroughs) or physically (downtown Chicago just blends into the city, unlike Manahattan, an island, always apart.

Still, we do have somewhat of a non-312 attitude towards outsiders (although 713 can still has plenty of panache).

Why do Chicagoans feel an affinity to the core that perhaps New Yorkers don't? Probably there are a lot of factors. I'll offer one: civic investment. The City of Chicago (and the state of Illinois) has a far greater investment in its core than the City of New York has in either downtown or midtown. Downtown is the place where public expenditure is taken to its greatest degree and where the big $$$$'s are spent to enhance the environment. The following are all post-1985 developments:

Navy Pier reconstruction
Creation of a unified Museum Campus
Soldier Field
Millennium Park
civic involvement with Block 37
riverfront reconstruction
DuSable Park (pending)
Cultural Center
retro-design for State Street
streetscaping (particularly Michigan Avenue)
sanitary district fountain
McCormick Place expansion

I'm talking civic development, not private sector. Chicago uses its downtown area as a source of pride and is not afraid to invest in it
 

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i never thought of that becouse i never felt that way about mannhattan. i lived in queens for a few years and was regularly making trips to the city a few times a week and i never felt that mannhattanites were how you described em to be. i felt that in NY as well the people felt a sence of ownership .
true some new yorkers from the other boroughs might feel that since its a separate part of the city and since its so big and overwelming and powerfull that they might find it outside there relm but a small population of the rest of chicago might feel this way as well
 
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