Welcome to Atlanta 101. Or should I say, Welcome to Atlanta where the playas play.
(No one could introduce Atlanta better – or make you miss the year 2001 more – than Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri.)
Alright, let’s talk about Atlanta. I never really do this, unless I’m saying bad things.
Or actually I did blog about Atlanta a tiny bit during summer 2012 when I did my Suburban Summer series, but it was a brief and narrow study that I have since decided needs to be expanded upon greatly.
As much as I complain about the traffic, urban sprawl, and close-minded extremist right-wing zealots of my hometown, the fact of the matter is, Atlanta is and will always be just that: my hometown. There are plenty of reasons why I should be proud to claim Atlanta as mine – it’s time to blog about them, starting with some Atlanta basics.
So. What is Atlanta?
Atlanta is the capital and biggest city of the great American state of Georgia.
It’s known throughout the south as a transportation hub – a reputation that has its origins in the beginnings of the city itself. Atlanta was founded in the mid-1800′s as a railway terminus through which goods could be transported from the Midwest to eastern coastal ports like Savannah. As such, the settlement was originally named “Terminus”, but was allegedly changed to “Atlantica-Pacifica” and then shortened to its modern moniker by 1847.
I imagine Atlanta was once probably a really charming mid-19th century town but then General Sherman burned everything down at the end of the American Civil War, so.
A quick look at geography reveals that, like most good things in this world (??), the city of Atlanta is shaped like a circle. The city limits are somewhat defined by a big, beautiful highway called 285 that encircles the city center.
If you live within that circle, you are said to be Inside the Perimeter (ITP) and if you live outside the circle (like me) you are Outside the Perimeter (OTP). Generally speaking, ITP means you’re a city-dweller and OTP means you live in the ‘burbs.
Atlanta is known as much for it’s different neighborhoods as for it’s OTP/ITP division. I’m still pretty unclear as to what makes one “neighborhood” different from another (except for Little Five which is so obviously different from its surroundings). But really guys, please don’t ask me the difference between Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park cause seriously it’s all the same same, trendy really-far-away-ITP place that I have to go through the toll booth to get to.
The neighborhoods are something like this:
The city proper isn’t the biggest city ever – it has around 450,000 residents – but because of urban sprawl we should probably note the population of the Atlanta metro area which is a fairly impression 5.5 million (or something like that. Honestly, I was pretty confused by what was going on in the Wikipedia article on metro Atlanta).
1. Hip hop. Ludacris, Usher, Outkast. Who remembers TLC? They came out of ATL as well.
2. Urban sprawl/highways/traffic/a dependence on cars
4. Coca Cola Headquarters, CNN headquarters, and the big, shiny Georgia Aquarium - our top three tourist destinations. I’m not going to blog about them, not because they aren’t interesting or cool but because they are already heavily investigated.
6. Soul food.
7. Hot and humid summers, but the absolute BEST autumns and springs!
8. A really big international airport. Lucky me :)
9. The 1996 Summer Olympics which I totally went to!!
10. The Braves and Falcons. Go dawgs! Wait…that’s not right…
11. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) – our nation’s top authority on public health (and also the coolest thing ever!!)
12. Diversity. Yes, the aforementioned “close-minded extremist right-wing zealots” are out there, but so are lots of other types of people.
13. Cool nicknames like Hotlanta, The Big A, Atown, and ATL.
And thus ends our introduction to Atlanta. Do stay tuned for more specific posts – I’m thinking some “Best Of Atlanta”, some “Worst of Atlanta”, some Atlanta-related interviews, some “Adventures in Suburbia”…We’ll see :)