When I was living in New York, I regularly read Gothamist. When I moved to Austin, I began reading Austinist. Covering a good mix of national and local news, I try to check in when I can. Blogger Michael Corcoran recently penned what appears to be a hate letter to the city of Austin on his blog. Unfortunately, any valid points lurking within the post were discounted, if not negated, by a slew of commentary not well received by many readers. Summing up Austin as “mediocre” and discrediting the merits of live music in the city, Cocoran probably hasn’t won over a lot of fans with this bashing rant. With all of this said, I was more or less indifferent toward the post when I read it. Cocoran doesn’t like it here in Austin – a lot of people don’t. I certainly have my own gripes with Austin. Fine. But what took me surprise was the response Cocoran’s blog received via Austinist contributor Terry Sawyer. Sawyer came to the defense of Austin in light of Cocoran’s remarks in this post. Sawyer’s response-post highlights much of what is good about Austin as well as much of what is wrong with Cocoran’s argument against Austin. It’s one thing to admit that the grass is always greener. It’s another thing to proclaim that the grass isn’t green at all. If you’ve been to or live in Austin, read these posts back to back and comment here with your thoughts.
When you’re stopping over for a few days in a city you’re not familiar with — assuming you’re not interested in the tourist traps — it’s hard to know what to check out. Even locals, overwhelmed with the responsibility of giving “good advice” to an out-of-towner, usually revert to the old standbys — recommending the same old places you could’ve learned about from a quick trip the city’s tourism website.
Enter the IST sites. This network of blogs was started in NYC under the name Gothamist. The New York site is fiercely energetic and opinionated, written by local scenesters, and covers arts, culture, politics and local oddities in the five boroughs. In the wake of Gothamist’s enormous success, there are now similar sites in many U.S. cities — and even a few international options — offering a plethora of information about their respective local happenings.
So if you’re traveling to Austin, Boston, Chicago, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Seattle, Toronto, or Washington D.C., start reading the corresponding IST site three or four days prior, and you’ll arrive ready to fit in like a seasoned local.