Chicago all over the World
June 20, 2019 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Daniel Kay Hertz asks twitter 'What is the most Chicago-like city of every country'? Includes a link to this 2012 Chicago Tribune article.
posted by dinty_moore (101 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Minneapolis is the Chicago of the Midwest.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:24 AM on June 20 [21 favorites]


Seconding Osaka as the Chicago of Japan. Great, yet different food that other cities are jealous of. Massive chip on the city’s shoulder, yet the people are pretty friendly. Long suffering sports team that has become an obnoxiously winning team. More interesting than New York by a long shot. Great bars and restaurants, weirdly long running theater thing (okay, so second city = Takarazuka is a bit of a stretch, sure).

Checks out, really.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:33 AM on June 20 [9 favorites]


What a fun thread!

I always think places have a "Chicago vibe" when the people are efficient and practical but very friendly. A lot of places are either/or -- friendly but slow and inconvenient, or efficient but very brusque.

It's interesting to see what other people key in on as the defining characteristic of "Chicagoness."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:36 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Eyebrows, friendly but no nonsense is a pretty solid descriptor, and fits Osaka well, too.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:40 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Napoli in Italy. I love that city.
posted by vacapinta at 7:43 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


It's interesting to see what other people key in on as the defining characteristic of "Chicagoness."

Al Capone & the mayors Daley.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:49 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


"the defining characteristic of 'Chicagoness'"

Setting for beloved movies from childhood, subject of endless reminiscence from father who went to college there.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:59 AM on June 20


It's interesting to see what other people key in on as the defining characteristic of "Chicagoness."

I'm amused by how many of the twitter responses cite 'EATS LOTS OF MEAT' as a defining Chicago feature. I mean, they're not entirely wrong . .

With the Minneapolis being the Chicago of the midwest - I'm from one city, have lived in the other for a decade, now have an accent that combines the two and means that nobody will ever take me seriously ever again. And I get what that's going for - Minneapolis is sort of the second city for the Midwest, maybe (or maybe Detroit?), my experience in both of those cities is so different my mind boggles.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:02 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


It's interesting to see what other people key in on as the defining characteristic of "Chicagoness."

Having highly idiosyncratic versions (some would say "grotesque parodies") of iconic foods from the "First City". Compare Chicago deep dish to a NY slice or a Chicago-style hot dog to a NY hot dog.
posted by jedicus at 8:06 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Regrettably I can't read the Chicago Tribune article but when I think of Chicago I think of:
-Associated with industry but not necessarily industrial
-Still a global centre of something, commodities trading in Chicago's case
-Not as important as it used to be, but genuinely still economically important
-Locals have a slightly chippy attitude towards otherwise very similar but larger city but critically genuinely do *not* secretly wish they were from that city which they regard as frivolous
-Outsiders always compare it to the rival city

For the UK, I think it's probably Birmingham but that's just based on intuition. I'm not sure it works so well here because London is so ridiculously dominant that there isn't really a "second city" in England for it to have a rivalry with (Obviously Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast are all national capitals but I don't think there's really the same kind of rivalry between the cities). UK city sizes do not fit the power law that seems to match the size distribution of cities in other countries.

In the Netherlands, I think Utrecht. I was going to say Rotterdam but that feels wrong.
posted by atrazine at 8:06 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Buffalo is the Chicago of New York.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:09 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


As a Canajun, I have always thought Chicago was Toronto done correctly. Essentially same age, same size, same climate, same Great Lakes shoreline setting (rotated ninety degrees counterclockwise). Same second city issues and Second City comedy scene.

I visit Chicago and look at Grant Park and I can easily imagine a better Toronto where everything south of Front Street is parkland, not condos.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:10 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Minneapolis is the Chicago of the Midwest.
GenjiandProust, I'm having a bit of trouble understanding this comment, since Chicago is already in the Midwest... Do you mean Minneapolis is the "second city of the Midwest, after Chicago"? But wouldn't that be Milwaukee?
posted by crazy_yeti at 8:12 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Not seeing a lot of talk about the strong ethnic neighborhoods spread throughout the city. I think that gives our city a lot of character.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:14 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


I really hope sarcastic newspaper editors at smaller US cities see this idle civic narcissism gets easy clicks and run with it.

I truly can’t wait to read a feature about the most Wichita-like cities across the world.
posted by midmarch snowman at 8:26 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Heck, be the change you want to see, I guess...

Tulsa is the Wichita of Oklahoma and Huntsville is the Wichita of Alabama.
posted by midmarch snowman at 8:30 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


oh, i love this! I love chicago so much. Visited once in my teens and then moved there for a few years in my early 20s, and I have such a hard time telling people how it seems to be different from other big cities I've been to. Eyebrow's comment of efficient and friendly is so spot on! Im from the south (and am very attached to southern culture) and I never felt like chicago was too out of bounds for what I typically like.

What a coincidence that Rosario was the first suggestion. This past winter in the midst of a particularly bad bout of SAD I researched cities with year-round warm weather and, more importantly, year-round long daylight hours. The magic equation seemed to be cities at or around the equator (for sun, obviously) but at a high altitude (to mitigate the heat). Rosario was one of many that fit the criteria, and looking into it it seemed like a city I'd really enjoy. If anyone has visited please tell me about it!

on preview, JoeZydeco's comment about the ethnic neighborhoods is SUPER true.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:31 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


idle civic narcissism

Stop having fun and liking things, immediately, everybody
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:34 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


I don't think I have enough Chicago specific attributes to make this kind of comparison. They have deep dish pizza and put something gross on hotdogs. I think their baseball team isn't very good or is cursed. They steal your Whataburger.

It's a big yankee city and it kind of blends in with all the other not-NYCs out there, at least for me as someone who has never been north east of Louisiana.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:40 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


More interesting than New York by a long shot.

The food scene is much more interesting; I'll give that to Chicago by a long shot. But other than that, ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh I cannot go along with this. Maybe if Chicago were more walkable, idk, I always found that it's really hard to just discover things there. But it is a really brilliant place and a lot more livable than NYC unless you're a bazillionaire.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:40 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


It's a big yankee city and it kind of blends in with all the other not-NYCs out there, at least for me as someone who has never been north east of Louisiana.

Oh my goodness, you really have to go. It's so fantastic and does not have the same downsides as a lot of other cities, so I think it's great for people who don't love cities. Fairly clean, lots of space, fairly affordable. And it's really unpretentious (looking at you, eastern seaboard).
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:42 AM on June 20


They steal your Whataburger.

From Chicago here, I have no idea what that means.
posted by Max Power at 8:47 AM on June 20 [8 favorites]


Okay last comment I swear...but...

Queens is the Chicago of New York City!

---Diverse, with a ton of immigrant neighborhoods;
---Great food at reasonable prices;
---Two airports, one tiny and old; one massive and new(ish!)
---I think Queens may have alleys but I'm not sure
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:47 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Toronto is the city in the world most similar to Chicago, but it's not the Chicago of Canada. Toronto is the New York of Canada, Calgary is the Houston, Ottawa is the DC, and Vancouver is every West coast US city. That leaves Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, and Montreal as reasonable contenders. I could be swayed by arguments for any of these.
posted by painquale at 8:50 AM on June 20 [11 favorites]


Honestly, you can also define Chicago by its political corruption (Alderman Carrie Austin's offices were raided by the FBI yesterday) and deep-set systemic racism just as well and it's still an interesting question.

But yes to the ethnic neighborhoods (in a different way than more international cities - like, I knew fewer young people you were born outside of the Americas in Chicago than in NYC or LA or even Boston, but it still has distinct feeling neighborhoods where the signage is suddenly in Polish or Spanish or there's advertisements for Irish step class everywhere because you ended up in Beverly for some reason).

Also an interesting interpretation: what's the city in your country where they set all of the cop/firefighter/hospital shows?
posted by dinty_moore at 8:51 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Maybe if Chicago were more walkable
Internet Fraud Detection Squad, next time you visit Chicago, try riding a bike! It's totally flat and we are adding more trails and bike lanes all the time.
posted by crazy_yeti at 8:59 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


GenjiandProust, I'm having a bit of trouble understanding this comment, since Chicago is already in the Midwest...

Mostly, I was being cute. However, Minneapolis is a big, vibrant city with way more going on than people outside it know. It’s definitely overshadowed, from a national perspective, by Chicago, the way Chicago is overshadowed by New York. Milwaukee really isn’t in the running, not since they gave up socialism.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:05 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Maybe if Chicago were more walkable

The idea of NYC as walkable is hilarious to me. Part of my requirements for walkability is you gotta be able to enjoy the walk. Not arguing! this is all in jest :)
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:08 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Still a global centre of something, commodities trading in Chicago's case

I would note that corn futures don't cast an omnipresent shadow on the local culture and real economy the way finance does in NYC, media in LA, tech in SF and Seattle, and energy in Houston. Its eminence in meatpacking and rail long since expired, Chicago's the biggest city in the US that's not obviously a "capital" of anything. (Which isn't necessarily bad! It helps keep the housing cheap and the vibe egalitarian. And we do have small comparative advantages in less commercial fields like theater, comedy, film criticism, and alternative comics.)
posted by Iridic at 9:14 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


GenjiandProust: "Milwaukee really isn’t in the running, not since they gave up socialism."

Plus, Milwaukee just isn't that big. Chicago is the third largest city in the US (50% of NYC), but Milwaukee is way down at the fifth largest city in the Midwest (only 15% of Chicago). Detroit, Minneapolis, even Cincinnati and Columbus are more reasonable options.
posted by crazy with stars at 9:15 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Getting a little more granular, maybe DC is the North Side of the East Coast, and Baltimore is the South Side. The former is more gentrified, far wealthier, and, more frivolously, has a historically poor NL baseball team that's done much better in recent years. The latter was more of a destination for African Americans during the Great Migration, suffers from persistent gun violence and other pernicious effects of institutionalized racism, has a prominent university (U of C/Hopkins), and has a crappy AL baseball team.

Eh, I think it needs a little work, but it's a start.
posted by cheapskatebay at 9:19 AM on June 20


Internet Fraud Detection Squad, next time you visit Chicago, try riding a bike! It's totally flat and we are adding more trails and bike lanes all the time.

I don't know how! Chicago actually has a lot of really lovely public outdoor spaces, given the lake. I just find it less pleasant to walk around the city-city parts for various reasons (no street signs and fast traffic, higher crime rates, lower density---depending on the neighborhood/area).

The idea of NYC as walkable is hilarious to me. Part of my requirements for walkability is you gotta be able to enjoy the walk. Not arguing! this is all in jest :)

Ha! It is true that it takes a certain Type of person to truly enjoy walking in much of Manhattan. But I say to you, try Brooklyn! The sidewalks are leafy and the people are slightly less aggressive!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:20 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Chicago's the biggest city in the US that's not obviously a "capital" of anything

See, but this is unjust! It is the food capital of the US and also the urban architecture capital of the US. By a lot, on both counts! Chicago is being robbed!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:22 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


That leaves Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, and Montreal as reasonable contenders. I could be swayed by arguments for any of these.

All close, but the real answer: Quebec City.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:22 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


"From Chicago here, I have no idea what that means."

Recently Whataburger, the best possible fast-food burger chain in the world and family owned and operated in Texas was purchased by a Chicago investment firm. We're pretty sore about it down here, nothing was ever improved by being usurped by foreigners and downgraded for mass consumption.

"Oh my goodness, you really have to go. It's so fantastic and does not have the same downsides as a lot of other cities, so I think it's great for people who don't love cities. Fairly clean, lots of space, fairly affordable. And it's really unpretentious (looking at you, eastern seaboard)."

I'd love to go anywhere, I do have some friends who moved to Chicago and seem to really enjoy it. Austin is the closest to big city livin I've done myself and that was in a different era, Austin today is very different. I will keep Chicago in mind in the off chance I ever get to go anywhere, I am not a big city-liker but I am a perpetual outskirt-of-city liver anyway.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:22 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


This is such a quintessentially American question, but I don’t think any of you perceive its deep weirdness.
posted by Segundus at 9:26 AM on June 20 [16 favorites]


Rosario was one of many that fit the criteria, and looking into it it seemed like a city I'd really enjoy. If anyone has visited please tell me about it!

Argentina is interesting because it feels a lot like a Latin American/United States fusion to me. Part of that is the 'Nation of Immigrants' mythology behind both of them - Argentina is also the whitest South American country, but also the size and varied climate and cow culture. I haven't been to Rosario specifically, but I'd suggest at least listening to some Argentinian media (or Argentinian youtubers) beforehand if you want to understand folks and are more used to either Mexican or European Spanish accents. It's not as tough as understanding a Dominican the first go-round, but it took me a day or two to get used to it.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:26 AM on June 20


crazy with stars: The population of Milwaukee is 595,351 while the population of Minneapolis is 422,331. How does that make Minneapolis a better contender than Milwaukee, if Milwaukee is already too small? Also, while Detroit has 673,104 people, it's not the Chicago of anything - it is a special case, sui generis. It's the Detroit of the world.
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:27 AM on June 20


Sys Rq: I think Quebec City is way too French/European to be called the "Chicago" of anything. (Although, in the 19th century, people called Chicago "Paris on the Prairie"!). Montreal feels more like Chicago to me.
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:31 AM on June 20


It is the food capital of the US and also the urban architecture capital of the US.

Oh, I agree, especially re: architecture! I guess I was limiting myself to narrow economic/industrial terms in my earlier comment.
posted by Iridic at 9:31 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Chicago is fairly walkable, but not compact. I sympathise with Whataburger fans: Chicago's beloved "Marshall Fields" department store chain was bought by outsiders a few times over the decades, eventually losing its identity to Macy's.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:32 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Montreal feels more like Chicago to me.

Aw, come on. There’s more to Chicago than corruption.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:33 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


Treating Minneapolis as its own city without taking into account St. Paul is folly (especially population-wise), though referring to the Twin Cities as just Minneapolis is a great way to piss off anyone in St. Paul. (St. Paul is the Chicago of the Twin Cities, except in city planning)

And yes, I'm aware that the reason why there's any sort of answers to this involves a great amount of American cultural imperialism and there's something that's solipsistic about wanting to know what traits others ascribe to 'your' city.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:38 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Oh, I agree, especially re: architecture! I guess I was limiting myself to narrow economic/industrial terms in my earlier comment.

I mean, I think you're right on in terms of how other people see Chicago; they'd be more likely to point to SF or NYC for architecture or food. They would be sickeningly inaccurate in a way that offends me (I am teasing) but I think those are the popular go-tos for this kind of thing.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:38 AM on June 20


Sorry, St. Paul!!
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:41 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Wauwatosa is totes the Chicago of Milwaukee.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:43 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


For anyone who thinks this harmless little game is too US-centric, we can turn it around. I claim that NYC is the London of the US, and Chicago is Manchester.
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:44 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


So... Chicago is the Geneva of the US?
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:54 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


In terms of housing being treated as overseas investments, percentage of the population that's immigrants, and climate (sorta), I want to make a connection between Vancouver and London, but cultural perceptions of both of them are so different that my mind's rebelling.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:56 AM on June 20


Buenos Aires is the Quebec City of South America.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:59 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Earth is the Chicago of the solar system.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:04 AM on June 20 [14 favorites]


The problem with analogies like this is that for many smaller countries, the largest city is usually simultaneously its capital, industrial center, financial center, media center, and so on; the capital city is the biggest city and the place to go for every citizen who has ambitions of being at the top of their chosen industry or profession. If you want to be at the top of anything in England, you'll be in London. In South Korea, everything is run out of Seoul.

In the US, if you want to be the best banker or trader or theater impresario or writer, New York is a good option, but if you want to run the country your sights are on Washington DC, if you want to be the greatest actor you have to move to LA; if you want to rule commodities trading, aviation, agribiz, the auto industry, or certain fields in marketing, you might be moving to Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Detroit, and so on.

For whatever it's worth, Busan is the Chicago of South Korea; it has some kinda-hilarious second-child anxieties (I've got an official travel brochure from there where it gets hilariously defensive describing its population size and social amenities). It's the primary sea port (Seoul is inland) but isn't really the biggest or best at anything else. South Korea's chaebol in cooperation with the government have spent decades distributing its manufacturing facilities all over the country to avoid making Seoul an industrial wasteland and an easy one-hit kill should hostilities with North Korea or China resume. This means they didn't all coalesce in Busan either. I haven't spent much time there but in less than 24 hours I had a nice long walk along the urban coast, saw a lot of traffic jams and inexplicably tall buildings, crossed paths with a bunch of obviously made men (in this case, Russian), and had a good and ridiculously filling meal at a place that would have been a hole-in-the-wall if it wasn't situated on an upper floor of a multistory shopping mall.
posted by ardgedee at 10:12 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


painquale: Toronto is the city in the world most similar to Chicago, but it's not the Chicago of Canada. Toronto is the New York of Canada

Lol, I came in just say that somehow Toronto is both the NYC and the Chicago of Canada. Sorry, that's just how it is sometimes.
posted by mhum at 10:18 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Canada is the Chicago of North America.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:18 AM on June 20 [20 favorites]


Yeah, Rosario as the Chicago of Argentina/South America doesn't really hold up for me. It's got the industry, but not really the cultural second-city-ness. I think Córdoba is a better candidate. To wit:
1) Amusing accents
2) Odd variation on national dish (slightly sweet beef empanadas, in this case)
3) World-class university often undeservingly overlooked in favor of coastal rivals
4) History of influential political protests
posted by dr. boludo at 10:19 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


San Diego is the Chicago of California. San Francisco is the Boston.
posted by LionIndex at 10:20 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


The dining area is the Chicago of my apartment. The roll of paper towels is the Chicago of the dining room table, while the (unread) Fiction issue of The New Yorker is New York. The mustard packets and coffee cup are New York as well.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:24 AM on June 20 [10 favorites]


Is Ronaldo or Messi the Chicago of football?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:28 AM on June 20


Also, obviously Tacoma is the Chicago of Washington state.
posted by mhum at 10:29 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


The food scene is much more interesting; I'll give that to Chicago by a long shot.

Having been both a Chicagoan and a New Yorker, and loving both cities, I don't see how you can say this with a straight face. Looking at numbers alone, Chicago has more than 7,300 restaurants, while New York has about 27,000. That's not to say that more means better, but you're telling me those 7,300 restaurants are more interesting than New York's 27,000 restaurants?

Then if you look at diversity, it would be hard to claim that Chicago comes out on top. I mean, New York has three different Chinatowns, whereas Chicago has just one small one.

I could see how you could say something like the top 5 most critically acclaimed restaurants in Chicago are more interesting than the top 5 most critically acclaimed New York restaurants, but claiming that the Chicago food scene is more interesting "by a long shot" strains credulity.

Again, I'm not saying that the New York food scene is better than Chicago's, or vice versa. I love both!
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 10:29 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


For anyone who thinks this harmless little game is too US-centric, we can turn it around. I claim that NYC is the London of the US, and Chicago is Manchester.

The US doesn't have a "London" though in the sense of a hyper-dominant city that is *the place* for literally everything. France does as Paris is not just the political but also the financial, cultural, and artistic capital.

The Netherlands doesn't only because the government is in The Hague, otherwise it would be Amsterdam.

Germany doesn't have one, Italy doesn't, both relatively new nation states.

Of course Australia and Canada don't for reasons of geography and China and India are too big and too internally diverse to have a dominant city.

Are there any countries other than the US where the financial / business capital, political capital, and cultural capital are three different rather than two different cities? (Even in the US the role of cultural capital is split between LA and NYC).
posted by atrazine at 10:32 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


(The concept, now remembered, that I was looking for is that of the Primate City)
posted by atrazine at 10:33 AM on June 20


New York has about 27,000 [restaurants]

Yeah, but if you exclude all the Sweetgreens and Joe & the Juices that leaves like three.
posted by enn at 10:36 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


George is the Chicago of Seinfeld
posted by theodolite at 10:52 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Chicago has more than 7,300 restaurants, while New York has about 27,000. That's not to say that more means better, but you're telling me those 7,300 restaurants are more interesting than New York's 27,000 restaurants?

26,000 of those restaurants are dollar-slice places that will give you food poisoning before you even walk in.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:03 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


More seriously, I would argue that Queens and Brooklyn may be starting to give Chicago a run for its (lunch) money but I lived in Manhattan for several years and never had a single decent meal there.

Obviously if you have shitloads of cash you will eat perfectly delightfully in either city but on the "what can an average schmuck have for dinner on a Thursday" scale, I'm sorry, Chicago kicks NYC's ass straight out the door.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:06 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Obviously if you have shitloads of cash you will eat perfectly delightfully in either city but on the "what can an average schmuck have for dinner on a Thursday" scale, I'm sorry, Chicago kicks NYC's ass straight out the door.

^^^^^^ yes this!

But also in terms of "interesting" vs good, Chicago has less competition in a lot of ways (lower rents mainly) so there is just more plain old interesting stuff there. New York is super good when it comes to "is this high quality"; I love that you can go into most NYC places and have a pretty good whatever. But Chicago is just bursting with quirk and charm and "I can't believe they pay the rent with this" for both low- and high-end foods.

In other words: it's hard to have a bad meal in NYC, but it's hard to have a truly interesting meal there, too.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:28 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


I truly can’t wait to read a feature about the most Wichita-like cities across the world.

A Wichita paper would never have such an article because Wichita abjures the outer world and rejects the concept of a city.
posted by fleacircus at 11:31 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Having highly idiosyncratic versions (some would say "grotesque parodies") of iconic foods from the "First City". Compare Chicago deep dish to a NY slice or a Chicago-style hot dog to a NY hot dog

NYers are pretty vociferous about the superiority of their pizza but does anyone seriously think they've got better hot dogs? Chicago dogs are amazing.

Wauwatosa is totes the Chicago of Milwaukee.

This will need some further explanation. First of all, Chicago has a wonderful grid and Tosa has a terrible spaghetti-like jumble. Tosa's not dense enough and too white. There are bits of Chicago scattered all over the place in the Milwaukee area, but I just don't recognize any Chicago in Tosa.
posted by Jpfed at 11:32 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]



George is the Chicago of Seinfeld
posted by theodolite at 1:52 PM on June 20 [+] [!]


No, that's definitely Ellen. George is the New Jersey
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:32 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


I just don't recognize any Chicago in Tosa.

So what’s your candidate for the Chicago of Milwaukee?

Also, Wauwatosa has a grid; like Chicago, a grid interrupted by features. In Chicago, it’s a river and a lake. In Wauwatosa, it’s the whim of developers.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:42 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


near-north is the chicago of minneapolis.
posted by Kwine at 11:42 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I've eaten in both Chicago and New York but I'm loathe to draw many conclusions comparing the two. On the other hand, the greater New York area has gotten expensive enough that it's shedding some really great culinary talents to other parts of the east coast. Even here in North Carolina we have Brooklyn expats setting up restaurants and retail shops with some pretty ambitious experimentation going on under the hood. So, basically, you do you, NYC; we're happy to take your journeymen once they want to hang their own shingles without having to put up with big city expenses.
posted by ardgedee at 11:54 AM on June 20


Toronto was the Chicago of Canada until 1970 or whenever it caught up to and grew past Montreal.
posted by thecjm at 11:57 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Northwest Indiana is the Chicago of Chicagoland.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:58 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I feel like I'm the Chicago of my family.
posted by Fizz at 12:00 PM on June 20 [12 favorites]


I mean, New York has three different Chinatowns, whereas Chicago has just one small one.

Chicago only has one neighborhood that's known as "Chinatown," but there's also Argyle Street, which is a mixture of Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Lao and Chinese; a Koreatown (sadly starting to fade away as families move to the suburbs); and the second largest Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani community in the country.
posted by me3dia at 12:06 PM on June 20 [7 favorites]


atrazine: The US doesn't have a "London" though in the sense of a hyper-dominant city that is *the place* for literally everything.

I think 8,622,698 New Yorkers would argue with you! (Which doesn't mean they are right...)
posted by crazy_yeti at 12:07 PM on June 20


MetaFilter is the Chicago of online discussion communities.
posted by neroli at 12:08 PM on June 20 [12 favorites]


Summary of the Chicago Tribune article for those who can't get to it:

Chicago of Europe: Berlin (because Mark Twain said it)
Chicago of Australia: Melbourne (growth, architecture)
Chicago of Africa: Bulawago (rail), Johannesburg (crime), Kampala (ethnic diversity)
Chicago of South America: Buenos Aires (railroads), Rosario (slaughterhouses, trade), Sao Paolo
Chicago of Sweden: Malmo (crime)
Chicago of China: Wuhan (growth), Chongqing (corruption)
Chicago of India: Mumbai (economic growth, early 20th century comparison)
Chicago of Siberia: Nobosibirsk (industry?)
Chicago of the Balkans: Budapest (grain and meatpacking)
Chicago of the North, Chicago of the West, Chicago of the Northwest: Winnipeg (rail)
Chicago of the West: Like every western US city, I assume for growth and a marketing ploy in the early 20th century.
Chicago of the East: Cairo, Osaka, Hankao, Chongqing, Shanghai, Moscow (no reasons given)
Chicago of the South: Jacksonville (fire recovery in the early 20th century)
posted by dinty_moore at 12:14 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Do you mean Minneapolis is the "second city of the Midwest, after Chicago"? But wouldn't that be Milwaukee?

Milwaukee is the Chicago of Lake Michigan. The Chicago of Milwaukee is... Sheboygan?
posted by taquito sunrise at 12:27 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Buffalo is the Chicago of New York.

I've been to Chicago but never felt the urge to kill myself.
posted by cazoo at 12:31 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Related: LA neighborhoods mapped onto NYC.

Just in case any coastals didn't feel like they were getting angry enough about this.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:32 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


That's not to say that more means better, but you're telling me those 7,300 restaurants are more interesting than New York's 27,000 restaurants?

on one night in Chicago I ate bison sliders on pretzel buns with orange-juniper sauce then went to a speakeasy where ONE drink option is they freeze your cocktail into a sphere of ice & let you crack it with a small hammer, does New York have a that
posted by taquito sunrise at 12:34 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


That leaves Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, and Montreal as reasonable contenders. I could be swayed by arguments for any of these.

It's Montreal.
Less so since the Expos left, but I can't think of any alternative choice.
posted by rocket88 at 12:49 PM on June 20


they freeze your cocktail into a sphere of ice & let you crack it with a small hammer

They do, in fact. It's an import from Chicago. ;)
posted by me3dia at 12:56 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Related: LA neighborhoods mapped onto NYC.

I've worked in Rosemead and I've worked in Flushing, so this seems about right to me.
posted by betweenthebars at 1:02 PM on June 20


Then if you look at diversity, it would be hard to claim that Chicago comes out on top. I mean, New York has three different Chinatowns, whereas Chicago has just one small one.

Chinatowns are an incomplete measure of diversity; consider as a counterexample that Chicago's Puerto Rican community invented the Jibarito, which is the world's most perfect foodstuff.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:20 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


It's Montreal.
Less so since the Expos left, but I can't think of any alternative choice.


Toronto may have surpassed Montreal and taken the New York title, but Montreal still resists Chicagoness somehow. I think I agree with Sys req, Quebec City is a strong contender.

If nothing else, Quebec City is the Chicago of Quebec (to Montreal's New York).
posted by Kabanos at 1:40 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Is Ronaldo or Messi the Chicago of football?

Ronaldo is definitely the New York. Dominating, smug, oh so punchable.

Wuhan as a Chicago in China feels off to me. I mean, it’s been 20 years since I lived there, but I always felt it was the Detroit of China, or maybe the Nagoya. Or Nagoya is the Wuhan of Japan.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:38 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


George is the Chicago of Seinfeld
posted by theodolite at 1:52 PM on June 20


Speaking on behalf of all Chicagoans, you better take that back asap, Buster.
posted by she's not there at 2:48 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Providence is the Chicago of New England.
Memphis is the Chicago of Tennessee, and probably of the South in general.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:01 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


consider as a counterexample that Chicago's Puerto Rican community invented the Jibarito, which is the world's most perfect foodstuff.

I'm impressed, sure, but New York has the knish sandwich: meat and cheese inserted between two slices of knish. I would posit that the Jibarito is a Chicago-style knish sandwich.
posted by acrasis at 5:29 PM on June 20


Are there any countries other than the US where the financial / business capital, political capital, and cultural capital are three different rather than two different cities? (Even in the US the role of cultural capital is split between LA and NYC).

Yeah, I really wouldn't consider LA the cultural capital of the US. Yes, they have the film industry, but they definitely aren't the cultural center for food, theater, fashion, dance or publishing and it's extremely questionable to say that they dominate music or even television.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:52 PM on June 20


> Minneapolis is the Chicago of the Midwest.
Peoria is the Chicago of Illinois.
posted by Syllepsis at 8:54 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Syllepsis: "Peoria is the Chicago of Illinois."

No way, Peoria is too small. The Chicago MSA is ~50% of NYC's, but the Peoria MSA is only ~5% of Chicago's.

I think St. Louis is the Chicago of Illinois (sorry Missouri).
posted by crazy with stars at 9:33 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Adelaide is the Chicago of Australia. Melbourne is Boston (universities, sports fans, and and an inferiority complex to Sydney/NYC).
posted by emd3737 at 9:48 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


cheapskatebay: "Getting a little more granular, maybe DC is the North Side of the East Coast, and Baltimore is the South Side. "

I like this, but we can go deeper. East of North Cap is the South Side of DC, a boundary that will eventually reach the Anacostia River (in the 80s it was Rock Creek). Logan Circle is, amusingly, the Logan Square of DC. Dupont Circle is Belmont. Georgetown in the 80s was Hyde Park, but now Brookland is Hyde Park. Adams Morgan was once the Wrigleyville of DC nightlife, but has ceded to H St (perhaps eventually Navy Yard will, more appropriately, bear this title).
posted by capricorn at 3:52 AM on June 21


Chicago is the Chicago of stage plays. A Street Car Named Desire is NYC, Cirque du Soleil is the Tokyo.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:37 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Yahoo is the Chicago of the Internet
posted by Mchelly at 9:53 AM on June 24


San Diego is the Chicago of California. San Francisco is the Boston.

Maybe the latter, but San Diego is clearly the Norfolk-Hampton Roads or the Philadelphia of California. Perhaps Oakland would be the Chicago (although if just considering populations, San Jose would get that Second City title.)
posted by Rash at 6:45 PM on June 30


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