What’s So Cool About The City?

Some people love the city, and some hate it. You have many people who live in the county who would rather live in the city, but you don’t often hear young adults saying that they would rather move from the city to the county. Some may think living in the suburbs can become repetitive or mundane, whereas the city is always alive. In the city, especially the VCU area, there is always something to do. Kevin Cross (‘17) said he prefers the city, because there is “less travel needed, and the general atmosphere; there’s always something going on.”

The Fan at night

The Fan at night, captured by Alex Parham.

Once you are in the city limits, there are many things to do. You can catch a Flying Squirrels game at the Diamond, or check out some art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. While there are many districts, and zones in the city, the most well known one is the Fan. The Fan got its name because it is shaped like a fan and extends west from VCU to Boulevard. I wanted to learn more about the Fan, and life in the city, so I travelled to the Fan to ask people about what they enjoy about city life.

Interesting photo of Richmond Police captured by Alex Parham.

Long-time resident of the fan Marina Blough, a senior at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School, said she loves the Fan because it’s the most central neighborhood in the whole city, so I can easily go to the Southside, Northside, downtown, and West End.” Blough said she would rather live in the Fan because “it’s close to everything I would ever want to see, and it’s beautiful and historic. Suburbs are ugly, and there’s nothing special about them to me.”  Like Blough, many of the people whom I interviewed had similar answers. The response was slightly different from Trinity Episcopal School senior Michael Bannon, who said he enjoys living in the city. Bannon said he has been living in the city for ten years now, and his favorite thing about the city is being able to get to Carytown quickly: “Honestly, for me it’s the fact that I live so close to Carytown that it’s so easy to get to and from it.”

Photograph of VCU by Alex Parham.

Peyton Lyons (‘16) and John Cantor (‘16) live in the near West End in the city of Richmond. Cantor said, “I’d rather live in the city because you have food, stores, and pretty much everything at your fingertips.” Lyons also said, “You can walk five minutes from your house to everything you could need. You don’t really need a car.” Overall, it seems like city kids enjoyed the city because of its accessibility. It is very easy to get from place to place, thanks to sidewalks and bike lanes. It is especially easy for people who live in the Fan to commute, because, as Blough said, “it’s the most central neighborhood in the whole city.”  

After talking to people from the city, I reached out to students who live in Henrico County to ask them about their views on the city. Joe Triano, a senior at Benedictine College Preparatory School, said he would rather live in the county: “I would rather live in the suburbs, because there is less of a crime rate and it’s not congested like the city. Also, living in the suburbs it is easier to get around, I feel.” Page Ryland, a Junior at Douglas Freeman High School, said she would rather live in the city because “I love being able to walk or bike to places nearby. Easy access, more street art, and art surroundings. Better, and more original food places. The lights are beautiful at night, and the houses are all different and unique.” Similar to Ryland, Sarah Smithson (‘16) said she prefers the city because “there’s so much more to do, the county and suburbs are a cultural desert!” Ryland and Smithson are correct about art. A bonus about living in the city there is that the VMFA is very close, and, in addition, there is a large amount of street art throughout the city. You can find art on almost every block in the Fan, or Carytown, and the Museum District.  

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Street art in the Fan captured by Alex Parham.

From the research gathered it seems that most of the people interviewed would enjoy living in the city, probably in the Fan or Museum District. One thing people repeatedly said that was appealing about city life is that there is always something to do, and also because it is easier to commute when living in the city. One thing I remember about walking through the fan were the beautiful houses. Just as Ryland said, each house is unique, and the neighborhood is beautiful. I love to walk around in the Fan because it is always interesting to see the new street art, on the side of a building, or a key lime green house. The city always has something to offer, no matter what you are looking for.

About the author

Parham Alex is in High School, and is a senior