Old suburban dreams

click on images for full-size:

A small slide show of pictures of Garden City

Placeholder for images from my next trip to Garden City

I grew up with the older pattern for what counted as a suburb, with a downtown and walkable services, with its own railroad stationto reinstate today.

But there were other aspects of that old pattern: I thought commuting to the city center was natural, and that people above a certain class did not work where they lived. I took for granted residential areas that had uniform populations divided by income and ethnicity and race. I didn't expect to find in the suburbs important cultural or medical facilities, or speciality shopping and ethnic restaurants, or glitter and excitement and themed places. Those were in the city, a railroad ride away. I expected general social order within a fixed framework of civilized arguments and fierce sports rivalries. (As a child I didn't notice the tax fights, the exclusive real estate practices, and the fierce disputes about building new public facilities.)

Then the agricultural land a bit further out Long Island from us began sprouting developments containing only housing. Levittown was not far away, and I remember wondering at its all-at-once newness and visual homogeneity. Such places didn't seem like real towns.