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wolverine

Your first real urban adventure

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As I'm nearing college graduation, I got to thinking about the past four years and how much I've done, and how many places I've been. I had a goal that when I began living on my own starting my freshman year, I would try to travel to as many major cities as possible, and this goal has become pretty close to being realized. I'm not one to plan my trips, rather go someplace spur of the moment when time permits and finances are right. I use no maps, I don't figure out where I'm staying, I don't look up any of the attractions. I'm not worried about getting lost, because I WANT to get lost, and I'm not worried about bad areas, because I've dealt with them before. I think the greatest part of getting to know a city, is figuring it out as you go along. For some reason, its more enjoyable that way.

So I've pretty much grown up in Michigan my entire life. The great part of this is you are just a day of driving from the East Coast cities, and just a few hours from many of the major midwest cities. I've gone to many with my parents as a child, but it was obviously filled with the glitz and glamor of the area's most popular attractions, never the history, character, and culture of the neighborhoods which made a city great as a whole. Getting my drivers license, a car, followed by a digital camera were perhaps the greatest material things I've ever received in life. Like most parents, mine would only let me go so far in high school. Basically anywhere in the state Michigan was fine until I graduated. I went to Detroit a lot, but Detroit was too local to be interesting. I saw a few areas I had never seen before, but for the most part, I was ready to see someplace else.

The perfect opportunity came during my senior year of high school. My sister was done with college around April when I was still in school. She had gotten an internship in Manhattan, and my parents would be gone for over a week getting her moved, and touring the city. Meanwhile, I was enjoying the luxury of senior year with reduced assignments, already being accepted into a good university, good grades and already good attendance. Most importantly, I was 18...old enough to shatter that good attendance without parental consent. After getting the assignments from my teachers, I signed out for an entire week. We were allowed up to 10 skip days without any penalities, but I didn't want to push it. With that, I packed up enough clothes and money for gas, food, and a hotel room if it became necessary. As gross as it sounds, I figured I would use the showers at those travel centers, although they ended up being pretty clean. I began driving down I-75 with intent of going to Chicago. But I had family in Chicago, and we would visit the city twice a year then. The interchange came, and I chose to go East instead. I figured I'd hit up two cities: Baltimore and New York. Little did I realize that in just two months, I would be joining my sister in Manhattan for 3 months when her roomate never showed up. But anyway, I had a good time, it was nice to go places on my own, taking my time to photograph the cities. I was a little nervous that I just might cross paths with my family in New York but it never happened. It was difficult talking to them on the phone at times when we were merely blocks apart and I was supposed to be back in the midwest doing homework. But I can't hold a lie for long, I ended up telling them 3 years down the road on my 21st birthday and they got a good laugh.

It was a great start to what would become my biggest interest: traveling and photographing cities. Visiting uncommon neighborhoods, experiencing the local culture. I'm hoping that after I graduate from college, I'll have the opportunity to travel even more. At least this time, I'll be making more money.

So share your first true urban adventure, I'm sure there are plenty of forumers here with stories to tell.

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Well, i havent really had any good urban adventures. The best i got was driving around a lot of really old and REALLY rough neighborhoods in Flint last summer. It was pretty interesting to me to look at the old houses and old buildings downtown. But, that was just small time stuff, and i plan to do more in the future. Getting lost, all that type of thing would be great. I want to explore Detroit some more, and Chicago.

Anyway, i enjoyed your story, Wolv. It was cool. (Gave me a cool idea)

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Even though my first urban adventure wasn't as epic as yours, it is quite rush to be in a city like Chicago. Back in '98 when I was studying for my Illustration degree, I took a class trip to Chicago to visit the Art Institute. Mornings where spent at the institute while the afternoon where free for my classmates and I to have at it. The part about the city that struck me the most was the endless variety of people I encountered. There was a whole gambit from the bum with a liquor bottle in paper sack to the wealthiest business man along with just about every race and creed of human being imaginable all right there. It was an incredible experience being in the mist of it all and to soak in the overwhelming energy. It was that trip that changed the way I look at cities. While I was there taking all in I felt Chicago was teaching me that the greatness of a city is not in its buildings or shear size. The greatness of a city like Chicago and any major city is the unsegregated mix of people and the incredible swirl of energy unique to big cities that results from that mix.

If I had an opportunity to take another trip to Chicago, I would do it in a heart beat.

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I grew up in Hartford, CT and I know that city like the back of my head. I know the good areas and the bad areas and it never gets old to me. But I do like to explore new cities. This past summer I went down to Philadelphia and Baltimore. I explored the usual tourist areas like the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and Center City in Philly but also went into other neighborhoods like Mount Vernon, Canton and Fells Point all in Baltimore.

I have traveled to Providence numerous times and been to the mall downtown, the convention center, hotels, restaurants, etc. all downtown but never explored the city. Last year I traveled to the city and went onto College Hill right next to downtown which is a beautiful neighborhood reminiscant of Nantucket and the Back Bay thats home to Brown and RISD. I traveled over to Atewells Avenue which is the citys Little Italy which rivals that of NYC and Boston. Olneyville is an neighborhood with many factories that are being converted into lofts, stores, office space, etc.

Just last week I drove down to New Haven and explored the Wooster Square neighborood, the city's little italy that is just minutes from downtown and is home to the famous Frank Pepes and Sallys Apizza. A little bit down the road is Fair Haven and East Fair Haven both neighborhoods sitting on the water with historic homes.

Right now I go to school in NYC and love entering new areas in the city including the boroughs. Everything is so differant, each neighborhoods has its own feeling, its own character, its own vibe and thats great.

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Oooh, story time!!!! My first urban adventure was Atlanta, Georgia. One night some friends and I (I was about 18 or so, which would been 1999) decided to head up to the big city. Now, like most people in Georgia, I had been to Atlanta hundreds of time, but this was different. Immediately after getting into the city, we turned off and started driving and ended up in Little Five Points. Hung out there walking around, and then took off heading towards the city, ended up on Peachtree Street, then Buckhead, and then somehow we ended up in the West End (kind of scary).

We went all over that city, by car and train, just going anywhere. It was a great trip and will always count among my favorites, and just solidified in my mind my love---yes, I said it, love :o ---for Atlanta. It's funny, now that I'm presented with moving there as an option, it seems different. :(

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I like your style. I envy your ability to go out spur of the moment and not worry about directions. I'm too instinctually logical to do that <_< . I'm not overly worried about bad neighborhoods, either, though.

First real adventure was when my GF and I went to Chicago. I'd had an idea to go out to West suburban Oak Park to see Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio there on the corner of Chicago Ave. and Forest Dr. Somehow, we got off the El train two stations early in Cicero. Folks, this was definitely the wrong side of town. When you see abandened factories (in this case, the original Brach's candy factory), iron bars on all the windows, and Hennessy bottles littering...everything, you know you've landed on the wrong field. We went the half mile up to Chicago Ave., thinking it was just around the next corner in an oasis, but it wasn't to be. We saw a pregnancy clinic, where just outside, loitering at a bus stop, was a snaggletoothed lady who offered us some rocks and blow (crack and coke). I should add that my GF looked pregnant, too, because she hid her purse under her jacket. We then back to the El train where we boarded the next one headed west. We ended up having a great time at the FLW house and the gorgeous surrounding neighborhood, but I'll always remember that day.

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I like your style. I envy your ability to go out spur of the moment and not worry about directions. I'm too instinctually logical to do that <_< . I'm not overly worried about bad neighborhoods, either, though.

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I never considered providence much of a city especially an adventure when going through. That has changed recently, but I would say my first time was freshman year in college when I was in boston, it was a fun and long experience.

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Talk about taking the subway to the wrong part of town, I was a kid, forget how old, and my mom and I were visiting DC, seeing all the usual stuff. One of the planned stops was for Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate. On our way back from I think the Smithsonian (back on the subway now) we noticed a stop for Mt. Vernon, so we decided that was terribly convenient and to go right then. Turns out Mt. Vernon was (is?) simply a stop in the ghetto, which we realized after walking around confused and quite scared for a few blocks, and not Washington

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