I was recently in Des Moines Iowa and while driving through a kind of run of the mill neighborhood, these two African girls came wandering down the street in the most beautiful, traditionally colored dresses. Floating amongst that kind of very “Americana” scene, it was stunningly surreal. Many smaller cities across American have been the first hosts to these new immigrants. How does a city help acclimate these people to such foreign settings? And do you feel the immigrants find these smaller American cities appealing in some ways over an NYC or LA sized metropolis? Or are small places lonelier?
The immigrants, just like my Italian ancestors would do in the Lower East Side tenements, really stick to their communities, when they are forced to resettle in such a different, distant environment. That said, I believe that today big cities like NYC could offer a lot to foreigners, because they have already written in their DNA how to accept and how to integrate immigrants. In small cities the contrast is starker, more evident. But at the same time, people from small communities are less cynical, maybe more apt to open their doors to foreigners than we city people are.