7 Things About New York City That Make Phoenix Look Like a Cultural Wasteland

Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2013
Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2013
CS Muncy / Village Voice

Editor's note: We had so much fun over on Chow Bella, pitting New Yorker-turned-Phoenician Nina Gruber against Phoenician-turned-New Yorker Dominique Chatterjee against each other on the topic of food that we decided to do it again -- and this time, we're talking about culture. Today we share Chatterjee's view of things that make NYC tops. Check out Gruber's post about Phoenix props from earlier this week.

It takes an active community to make vibrant culture. With 8.25 million people -- over twice the size of L.A. (and five times that of Phoenix) -- it's no wonder that NYC is the cosmopolitan mega-capital of the country. As the sixth-biggest metro area in the United States, our fair Phoenix obviously also has a lot to offer, but given the vast quantity of stuff to do in the Big Apple, this Arizonan metropolis looks like a small village by comparison -- and we definitely don't mean Greenwich.

Community Gatherings

Name an interest or obscure part of your identity, and there's almost certainly a group of people meeting in NYC to talk about or celebrate it. Everyone knows about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but there's also the Veggie Pride Parade, Village Halloween Parade, and Coney Island Mermaid Parade (with Drunken Mermaid Gala after-party). The city is also home to the annual World Science Festival, which includes fun-filled outdoor demonstrations, and regularly holds creative festivals like FIGMENT, which turns Governors Island into a "a ginormous playground of participatory art" for one weekend every year and has now expanded to Boston, Chicago, and other cities.

See also: - 11 Reasons to Love Summer in Arizona


Metro Phoenix has a few local bookstores, primarily Changing Hands and Lawn Gnome, but small bookstores in NYC are a dime a dozen. City dwellers still order through Amazon (who doesn't?), but bibliophiles can also browse unique used collections to find the books they never knew were written as if exclusively for them. There are also street vendors who hock used books, absurd and popular titles alike, for as little as $1, meaning you don't even have to set foot in a store to find your next subway read. There are also lending libraries and shops where you can barter books for coffee.

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