Phoenix Rising

Love it or leave us: I was incredibly impressed with your story "Phoenix Has an Inferiority Complex" (Amy Silverman, May 12). Being from New York, and having more recently moved here from Boston, I personally find myself saying more and more that the worst thing about Phoenix is the people who talk shit about Phoenix.

I'm getting sick and tired of hearing the classic (now cliché) tirade from everyone about how much better New York, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, etc., are. My response is that they should then remove themselves from the Phoenix equation immediately and move to the paradise they speak of.

The fact of the matter is, after living all over the country, including some of its best cities, I can say that Phoenix easily holds up against all of them. Simply put, it's just designed differently.

Regardless, I hope this story is a wake-up call to those who are pessimistic.
Joe DiPadova, Phoenix

A rare bird: "Inferiority complex"? So what exactly should Phoenix try to be more like? I'm quite involved in local arts, and I must say that despite all of the whining done and then confirmed in publications such as yours, Phoenix is very supportive.

Our supposed indifference to our own sense of culture is a very, very tired chant. And I'm sick of hearing it. Perhaps the problem is that our community is not so easily caricatured, and we fail to accept the compliment.
Bryan Hughes, Phoenix

It ain't Houston: I am a native Houstonian, and since I graduated high school 20-plus years ago, I have spent many a waking moment devising a plan to move to Phoenix. I have vacationed there twice and still yearn for residency.

What makes your city great are the little things. It's a big city with a small-town attitude (I actually enjoyed watching the news there). Phoenix isn't covered with concrete and buildings. If you feel stressed out, you don't have far to go to escape and get some peace. The art up on your freeway walls. How cool is that?!?

Awesome sunsets. The city is clean. There are few traffic problems. On a weekend, you can actually leave the state or go to a completely different climate in Arizona in a few short hours.

Really and truly, you guys have the best of all worlds. Count your blessings!
Terena Jessup, Tomball, Texas

Art is the key: Great job on the "Inferiority Complex" story! It summed up everything I'd been pondering about Phoenix and why I still live here.

It really hit the mark and brought out thoughts I had been having for nine years -- since I took a step and moved here from my hometown of Boston, only to question if I had taken a huge step backward.

I believe it's a love/hate thing because there is a great creative presence in Phoenix. What Phoenix lacks is a creative cosmopolitan pulse, since it's without a designated downtown location specifically designed for art galleries, playhouses, art studios and retail space.

I wish Mayor Phil Gordon would be more proactive or forward-thinking and develop an arts center near Third Street and Roosevelt, a community that could thrive with such an urban plan. And I'm referring to a true plan, which would be first created by a board of local artists, and second by developers. The city could then take a visual wasteland and turn it into an area of creative synergy specifically developed for artistic convergence.

As a digital artist and trade-show designer, I am just one of hundreds of artists who could contribute ideas on how to define, capture and build on the energy of First Friday. If you know of anyone who could slip this note under Phil's door, I'd be happy to share my thoughts with him on how a proposed arts center could look, feel and breathe life into that area of the city.
Erik Nashawaty, Phoenix

Happier than Michigan: I loved the "Inferiority Complex" story! It really got me thinking, and wanting to explore Phoenix more. A friend of mine is yearning to leave here for Chicago; she says she wishes Chicago were here in this weather. She doesn't dig Phoenix yet. I want to change her mind.

We both moved here in August, from the suburbs of Detroit, where everything is sprawling as well. I took my first real job, and since I teach, I've got the summer to get hooked on this place -- although a trip to escape the heat will have to happen eventually.

I'm optimistic about this city. The people make the place, and out here, people are happier by far than Michiganders. Detroit is a mess. The Pistons and the Wings are our only real inspirations back there.

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