Friday, November 03, 2006

The Great Beaches of Upper Sandusky, Ohio

So, not only did thinktank-thumbsucker Julia Vitullo-Martin describe a Center City that no longer exists in her Oct. 20, Wall Street Journal opinion piece(see post below), she describes an Upper Sandusky, Ohio that NEVER existed. She praised the "sheer excellence" of the city's port. Turns out the place is landlocked!

For your enjoyment, here are the rebuttal letters that appeared in the Journal on Wednesday. (For the record, the Sandusky mistake was corrected in Vitullo-Martin's on-line version on the Manhattan Institute site.)

Are You Sure You Were Really in Philadelphia When You Wrote That?
November 1, 2006; Page A19

In her Oct. 20 essay "A Tale of Several Cities1," Julia Vitullo-Martin is so anxious to recycle Digby Baltzell's 25-year-old thesis about "Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia" that she trashes Philadelphia in a way that bears no resemblance to reality (Taste page, Weekend Journal). She writes that "Downtown Philadelphia seems to be a bleak postindustrial landscape" with "the few good buildings that are still standing routinely visited by street people begging at their entrances." I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that her zeal for literary license, combined with her ignorance of Philadelphia, made that colorful language too good to pass up, true or not.

Here's an offer, Ms. Vitullo-Martin. Take the train to Philadelphia -- from your cocoon in New York it's less than an hour and a half trip, even without spending the extra money for the Acela -- and I'll give you a walking tour of Center City. We'll start off with some new office buildings and public spaces, and some existing "good buildings still standing." But mostly we'll concentrate on all the burgeoning neighborhoods with both gorgeous old homes and new apartment and condominium buildings, going for prices that would not have been dreamed about in Baltzell's time. These neighborhoods are bustling at all hours with both visiting suburbanites and a resident population that has grown remarkably in recent years. (Sort of like the Boston neighborhoods that you said "look like Hollywood's idea of a hip, fabulous place to live.") That's the real downtown Philadelphia, and I look forward to showing it to you.

Darryl May
Wynnewood, Pa.

What an absurd description. Yes, there are street people begging here and there in Center City Philadelphia, as there are in all large cities. But Ms. Vitullo-Martin must not have been in Philadelphia for many years. As a resident of a nearby suburb, I go to Center City once or twice a week because it's a great place -- restaurants, coffee shops, book- and music-stores, cinemas, public squares and other green spaces, wonderful fountains, churches, historic sites, etc. The place is booming! It's full of people day and night and, for better or worse, with much new construction going on. I cannot imagine what Ms. Vitullo-Martin was thinking.

David M. Barrett
Political Science
Villanova University

I suggest that a hurried walk to just one neighborhood cannot possibly give anyone a clear view of what is happening in this great city. Anyone who has been to our city, which National Geographic Traveler magazine recently called "America's Next Great City," knows this city is hot. That's why so many people are moving here, from the young professionals coming down from New York and elsewhere, to empty nesters moving into our hot downtown condo market. Come see for yourself. We believe you'll love what Philadelphia has to offer.

Stephanie W. Naidoff
City Representative and Director of Commerce
City of Philadelphia

Ms. Vitullo-Martin's article gives praise to the "sheer excellence" of the harbor in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Ohioans are justifiably proud of the acclaim but hope that Wall Street Journal readers don't all flock at once to our 38-acre, man-made reservoir. If you find our single- launch ramp too busy, you might consider the other Sandusky, downstream (and hence lower) at the mouth of the Sandusky River. The Sandusky River, like the Nile, flows south to north. That puts the Upper Nile south of the Lower Nile and Upper Sandusky south of the Lower Sandusky. The other Sandusky's little harbor (miles across), minor facilities (many marinas and dockage for Great Lakes boats), and dregged channels (for the freighters) may accommodate the overflow. However, if you do choose Upper Sandusky for your boating pleasure, please respect the "electric motors only" regulation.

David L. Skinner
Fredericktown, Ohio


Blogger Deborah Woodell said...

Be careful what you wish for. Yes, downtown is pretty fantastic, but she's sure to experience a real downer by looking outside the window of the train as it enters the north side of the city. Unless, of course, she uses the Acela, and maybe she'll arrive at 30th St. so quickly, she won't have time to notice all the despair and neglect along the tracks.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad EnJay is in NJ. She/He is a real downer. It was nice to see people defend our city. EnJay is hopefully a remnant of times gone by. It's time to stop complaining and work towards making things better and appreciating what is here.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great to see the rebuttals in the WSJ. The fact that they printed several letters probably means there were numerous more letters in that same tone.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This lady won't give up. Vitullo-Martin has an article on the Manhattan Institute's website where she continues her rant against Philadelphia: What does she have against our city?

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I somehow just stumbled upon this blog and read the article everyone is talking about. I must say, I live in "upper sandusky". We have no harbor. We are a wonderful small town where people still say hi to everyone as you walk down the street but i think she must of been speaking of the sandusky by the lakes. the home of cedar point the well known amusement park. I thought i would give my two cents.

6:01 PM  

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