Another Reason Why Not to Live in New York City

As I’ve stated in the past, I have the utmost respect for people who move to New York City to see what “the big city” is like (i.e., the girl in Coyote Ugly). However, for every reason there is to move to NYC (great foreign food, vibrant social scene), there’s a reason why not to move to NYC (most everything’s really expensive, many people are really obsessed with the idea that they live in New York).

And now there’s this:

I would have posted a photo of the Cloverfield monster, but I can’t find one online. But yes, there is a monster, and it’s big. At least, I think it is. It’s barely shown in the movie (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on who you are).

Back to my point. In almost every natural disaster movie, alien movie, and monster movie, the primary target is New York City. Given the choice to live in the city that is the target of tidal waves, asteroids, aliens, and Godzilla or any other city in the world, why would you choose the former? I just don’t get it.

Due to the first-person viewpoint of the camera in Cloverfield, when I walked out of the movie yesterday (opening night! First time I’ve done that in a while), I fully expected to see a monster stomping across Forest Park as I drove home. And why film a monster movie in St. Louis? You could instruct the monster to tear apart our marquee landmark, the Arch, and our new wannabee marquee landmark, the Lumiere Place Casino. It could smash its tail through Busch Stadium, crush the biggest Amoco sign in the world in its jaws, and then visit historic St. Charles for quaint window shopping.

And what about other cities? Why doesn’t a monster crawl out of Lake Michigan and destroy Detroit? Why doesn’t a Rocky-Mountain avalanche cover Denver in 1,000 feet of snow? Why didn’t the Signs aliens attack the arid plains of Albuquerque, where they don’t have to worry about someone spilling water on their sensitive skin?

As for the Cloverfield movie itself, it’s all about the camerawork. I came out of it feeling a bit dizzy, but it was cool to have experienced from a human angle. The cameraman successfully mimicked the actions of someone who simultaneously wants to film something for the world to see (or for his voyeuristic tendencies) and to survive the monster attack. The one inconsistency was that he rarely kept the camera on the monster for longer than half a second. If I’m fifteen blocks away from a giant monster, I’m going to keep my camera on it for a few seconds, not look around to see my friends’ reactions to the monster. However, the monster was constantly moving, so the cameraman rarely had a clear view of it—that seems pretty reasonable.

When I was in sixth grade, I did a report on the safest U.S. city to live in based on deaths per year. I wanted to live in the city where the fewest people died from unnatural causes. I factored in a number of statistics, like deaths by snake bites and bear attacks, murders, hunting accidents, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. The end result? Fargo, North Dakota. I would have moved there by now, but it’s too cold for me.

One final note: I saw these statistics the other day that list the best U.S. cities for jobs in 2008. At the top of the list is Salt Lake City, followed by Wichita and Austin. You’ll find my hometown Richmond at #44, and St. Louis at #57. Guess which city St. Louis barely edges?

New York City.

What’s up with that, giant Cloverfield monster? The next time you decimate a city, do your research. Attack the city with the higher job growth rating. That’s what audiences want to see.

Tomorrow:

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