First off, have you noticed the Chicago Metroblog's spiffy new photo header? Instead of a single shot of the city, it's randomly built each day from pictures in the Metroblogging Chicago Group Photo Pool at Flickr. Whee!
So when I was going through my 2004 Chicago pictures to upload some into the group, one I picked was this photo of a sad pile of belongings on top of a mattress out on the sidewalk of Addison just west of Lincoln:
I didn't pick it because I thought it was typical of Chicago, but rather because it was, to someone, a significant moment. In Chicago we have alleys, so a pile of anything out on the sidewalk means something is out of the ordinary. This pile is someone's story of an eviction or a breakup gone wrong or something.
Last week I was in New York all week. New York does not have alleys. So in the middle of a fancy-pants shopping/business district (5th Avenue and 56th Street) at lunch time there was this pile on a sidewalk:
In New York, this is not a story. It's just trash.