Chapter 2: New Jersey – Tomorrowland
THE SEAFOOD COUNTER alone is world class. Even in the New York area, an emporium grabs one's attention when, for eighty linear feet, it spreads out not only six different kinds of sliced octopus—fresh—but snow crab legs next to broiled eel near Chilean abalone next to geoduck sashimi, adjacent to a display of spiny sea urchins with golden, creamy, sensuous interiors intended to be eaten raw.
The fashion plaza, too, is dazzling. Amid cascades of gold and stacks of high couture, a mannequin sports a sexy red jogging suit with this precise mystery across its chest: "Don't Take It Easy: To Be Frank With You I'm Afraid of You at First But, Now Become Changed We Are Great Member."
The electronics mart sprawls under the name Saiko, which connotes "fantastic" in Japanese, and it is. Amid the televisions with vast screens and camcorders that fit in a palm, there are household appliances so unusual that, like the Zojirushi electric airpot, its very function is unfamiliar. Not distant, there is a display of $149.95 Sony Repeat Learning Systems, designed to teach English to Japanese. Sample sentences: "There's something about him that rubs me the wrong way," and "I'm under a lot of pressure."
But the real show-stopper of this sophisticated megamart is actually out in the Hudson River. It stands on piers, with a panoramic view of the skyline. It is the Chinzan-So restaurant, built in the gracefully curved pyramidical image of Rokuon-ji, a fifteenth-century temple. Amid pools of quiet, reflective water is—inside—a two-story, ten-ton pile of volcanic boulders freighted from the side of Mount Fuji. Its Kaiseki cuisine, developed through the centuries by great masters of the tea ceremony, is the height of Japanese culinary creativity. The Aoi entree is $100. For one.
This strange, fascinating, and wondrous display is the Yaohan Plaza-New York. It is one of the largest such all Japanese hypermarkets in the world. It features everything from a Japanese bookstore to the Pony Toy Go Around toy store, to a Super Health drugstore that offers cotton gauze masks to people with colds who might be riding the subway, to a bakery producing breads shaped like alligators. Tokyo Gardens sells bonsai junipers. The Promotion liquor mart flaunts an astounding variety of sake. The produce market features everything from ohba leaves to pears flown in from Japan in mesh plastic nests. The UCC Cafe Plaza window displays uncannily realistic plastic models of its offerings. One is labeled HAM SANDWICH.
The Yaohan Plaza-New York organization runs twenty-three such malls worldwide, from Brazil to Hong Kong, and ninety in Japan. This extravaganza, which opened in 1988, is exactly the same as would be found in Tokyo, say its founders. Except, of course, it has more variety. After all, it is almost five times bigger than average. The typical sale in the grocery areas alone is over $1 oo. This should come as no surprise. Yaohan Plaza-New York is serving one of the most cosmopolitan metropolitan areas on the globe, right? Why shouldn't it be the height of sophistication?
This leaves, perhaps, only one question. Why is it in New Jersey?
Why put such an exotic creation a full $50 cab ride from the presumed worldliness of midtown Manhattan? In the Edge City of Fort Lee? On the far side of Harlem?
Hiroaki Kawai, Yaohan Plaza's spokesman, seems a little perplexed by the question. The answer is perfectly obvious to him. Forty percent of Yaohan Plaza's business comes from the sixty thousand Japanese working for their global companies in the New York area, he patiently explained. Few of them live in Manhattan. He is startled that anyone would think otherwise. Why would a Japanese come to America to live in a cramped apartment?
They live around here, in Fort Lee, he says, where they can have houses and cars and get around. Or in nearby Westchester County, New York, around the Edge City of White Plains, proximate to the world headquarters of IBM.
Another thing, he says: Look at the size of Yaohan Plaza. It would not be possible to build something like this in Manhattan. Where would you park the cars? A place this large and sophisticated needs support from people all over the region. Even here, the major problem is that there are only four hundred parking spaces, and they are so full now on weekends, what with chartered buses arriving from as far away as Philadelphia and Washington, people sometimes have to wait thirty minutes for a spot to open up. What is really needed is at least eight hundred slots, he says, plus more space on which to build. His consortium covetously eyes the riverfront land next door occupied by the looming Hills Brothers coffee plant, which fills the salt air of Yaohan Plaza's parking lot with the fresh aroma of roasted brew. Knock that flat and you could build a brand-new world out here, with attractions that dazzle the mind, Kawai explains matter-of-factly. A Japanese culture center, a Japanese hotel, amusement facilities, all nice and safe, marked by abundant free parking.
His English is quite fluent, but Kawai nonetheless occasionally stops to ask his listener if he is using the right words to get his points across. He seems to find it curious that anybody would find the Yaohan Plaza's location curious. Oh yes, he says, we've already opened several such hypermarts in North America, and have plans to open ten more in the next ten years. He starts ticking off the locations. Costa Mesa1an Edge City in Orange County, south of Los Angeles. San Jose—an Edge City in Silicon Valley. Arlington Heights, near Schaumburg—an Edge City of Chicago. "In old downtowns it is very difficult to find enough space for us," he says. "So we go out to new towns, where there is plenty of space." Kawai is so engrossed with his Edge City locations around North America that I finally ask, "Who did your site location research for you? Did somebody coach you on this, or did you figure it out all by yourself?"
We figured it out all by ourselves, he says. Japanese people who were familiar with the States because they had gone to school here were a big help. But to him the logic of locating in an Edge City rather than an old center like Manhattan is patent. If you look at the way people live in this country, the land of opportunity is New Jersey.
Joel Kotkin is the California co-author, with Yoriko Kishimoto, of The Third Century: America's Resurgence in the Asian Era. Kotkin is bullish on America's future because of its ability to be flexible and innovative and because it is capable of assimilating waves of immigrants who supply immense entrepreneurial energy—especially, in this era, Asians. But even he guffaws when told that the Yaohan Plaza-New York is actually in Edgewater, NewJersey. "When I was growing up," says the transplanted New Yorker, "being from New Jersey was a social disease."
But it is no surprise that Hiroaki Kawai feels at home in New Jersey. New Jersey is, in many respects, America's urban future. It is the first state in the Union to be more densely populated than Japan. It is also the first state in the Union to be more urban.
And in countless ways, if this is America's urban future, the future is bright. Not only is New Jersey headquarters to dozens of Fortune 500 companies, as well as thousands of entrepreneurial start-ups; it is a place of immense diversity, from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, which cradled Albert Einstein, to ethnic neighborhoods like Trenton's Chambersburg, with memorable restaurants on every corner. New Jersey is a kind of California of the East Coast. It gave birth to fiber optics, the transistor, the solar cell, sound movies, the communications satellite, evidentiary proof of the Big Bang hypothesis of the origin of the universe, and Bruce Springsteen. It has 127 miles of beaches. It is the home of the NFL's Giants, the NBA's Nets, and the NHL's Devils. It is lavishly blessed with jealously guarded natural beauty, from the backpacking country of the Delaware Water Gap and Ramapo Mountains in the Appalachian Highlands to the pristine and solitary Atlantic shores of Cape May. New Jersey is not called the Garden State for nothing. Its truck farms supply local supermarket chains with 35 percent of their produce in season. It is laden with extravagant rolling estates. More than 40 percent of the entire state is still in forest. At one million acres, the spooky and beautiful Pinelands, with peat-stained water the color of tea, is by far the largest such horizon-to-horizon wild area north of the Everglades and east of the Mississippi.
Yet all this variety, beauty, economic prowess, density, and urbanity has been achieved without New Jersey's having within its boundaries what most people would consider even one major city. Whatever their virtues, Newark and Elizabeth are rarely described as big time. All this proves, however, is that most Americans' idea of what makes up a city no longer matches reality, because it doesn't encompass the central reality of New Jersey: Edge Cities.
An old-fashioned downtown—sporting tall concrete-and-steel buildings with walls that touch each other, laid out on a rectangular grid, accented by sidewalks, surrounded by political boundaries, and lorded over by a mayor—is only one way to think of a city. In fact, it is only the nineteenth-century version. These sorts of cities, epitomized in the United States by Manhattan and San Francisco, are proud places that will always be cherished. But they are relics of a time past. They are the aberrations. We built cities that way for less than a century. Those years, from perhaps 1840 t0 1920, were by no means unimportant. They encompassed both the Industrial Revolution and the era of America's Manifest Destiny. Thriving old downtowns that have bright futures because they continue to be rejuvenated still bear their stamp, from Chicago to Seattle.
This does not begin to exhaust the idea of city. From ancient times, what made a city a city was how it functioned, not how it looked. And this is especially true today, for we have not built a single old-style downtown from raw dirt in seventy-five years.
The Edge Cities of New Jersey, instead, represent our new standard. If New Jersey was described by Benjamin Franklin as "a barrel tapped at both ends"—Philadelphia and New York—suddenly New Jersey is the right side of the rivers. In the late 1980s, New Jersey's Edge Cities grew more rapidly and generated more jobs than the entire state of New York. These Edge Cities now rise as their own commonwealths, from the one in the Route 1-Princeton area to the office tower forest emerging along Interstates 80 and 287 near Whippany and Parsippany. New Jersey's Edge Cities exemplify the new mix of urbanity, demonstrating what people want, can afford, and can stand. These Edge Cities, in fact, are the fruit of our attempt to strike a delicate balance between the advantages and disadvantages of 19th-century cities and the opportunities and challenges of the coming age. As such, they are being copied all over the world.
Making sense of an Edge City requires the following leap of faith: any place that is a trade, employment, and entertainment center of vast magnitude is functionally a city. That is true no matter how sprawling and strange it looks physically, and no matter how anarchic or convoluted it seems politically. If it is sufficiently diverse, vibrant, and specialized—which mainly is to say huge—it is a city. Conversely, any place that isn't, doesn't qualify: Fort Peck City in Montana is not urban no matter what it is called by its six hundred proud denizens.
Libraries have been written about why humans ever built cities in the first place, but most historians agree that, for the last eight thousand years, cities have been shaped by seven purposes:
Edge Cities function along exactly these lines, although the emphasis has shifted provocatively over the centuries. Take the New Jersey Edge City an hour west of Wall Street, around the intersection of Interstates 287 and 78, in the area from Bridgewater to Basking Ridge and from Warren to Bedminster. Tracing the effect of these seven historical forces on the shaping of this Edge City helps reveal what it is this civilization values.
Industry, for example—the creation of jobs and wealth—is the very point of Edge Cities. AT&T's world headquarters is in this "287 and 78" world. It is universally referred to as the Pagoda because it is vaguely Oriental in a Frank Lloyd Wright kind of way. Its tiled, cascading tiers of heavy-lidded roofs and hanging gardens are massive and lavish enough to be the envy of any Chinese emperor.
The Pagoda opened in 1976 in the 287 and 78 neighborhood of Basking Ridge because AT&T thought that was the best place to grow and make money. Although AT&T was founded in Manhattan in 1885 and still uses that as its corporate address, not a single top executive is permanently located there. In the 1930s, Bell Labs-AT&T's renowned research and development armcustom-designed for itself an elaborate 1.7-million-square-foot, high-rise headquarters employing fifty-six hundred people on less than four acres of Manhattan. The plans were shucked in 1939. Corporate archives show that even fifty years ago old downtowns were thought to have competitive problems. "High costs of land in Manhattan," "high living costs," and "the urban noise and dirt," as well as the inefficiencies of skyscrapers and the commuting woes on the ferries and tubes, were already major issues, according to corporate documents.
So in the opening days of World War II, Bell Labs moved out to a grandly christened "campus" in Murray Hill, near what is now Interstate 78. AT&T never looked back. In 1977, the Long Lines division-the long-distance operation that is now the bulk of the company's franchise-pulled its headquarters from the bowels of lower Manhattan. It, too, moved to 287 and 78-in Bedminster, near the Far Hills fox-hunt estates of boxer Mike Tyson, the late Malcolm Forbes, and the king of Morocco.
This is no small deal. The two-story Strangelovian "videowall" control center for AT&T's network linking 146 countries is in the foothills there today. If the future belongs to whoever controls the glass-fiber networks of the multibillion-dollar information marketplace, 287 and 78 someday may erupt like a historic boomtown-Chicago in the heyday of railroads or Detroit when the automobile was new or Houston when oil approached $4o a barrel.
Meanwhile, more than fifty years after Bell Labs made its move-which was back when high technology was a phone you didn't have to crank-New Jersey's Edge Cities have proven sufficiently useful that AT&T has 225 facilities in them. They include the headquarters of each major division. AT&T located enough facilities in the New Jersey Edge Cities in the mid- 1970s alone to overflow one of the World Trade Center's 110-story towers. AT&T now occupies twenty-two million square feet of space there. That is more than exists in downtown Seattle. More than fifty-one thousand people are employed by AT&T in New Jersey's Edge Cities.
This is increasingly common. Edge Cities are headquarters to such diverse giants as Motorola (Schaumburg, Illinois), K-mart (Troy, Michigan), Black & Decker (Hunt Valley, Maryland), and -the Greatest Show on Earth-the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (Tysons Corner, Virginia).* Sears, Roebuck and Company recently pulled its headquarters out of that symbol of old downtowns, the world's tallest building, the 110-story Sears Tower on Chicago's Wacker Drive. After a nationwide search, it located in the Hoffman Estates neighborhood of the Edge City centered on Schaumburg, thirty miles to the northwest. Sears' move illustrated what these corporations are trying to do: heighten competitiveness by consolidating entire operations, save a few bucks, and, it is hoped, enhance the quality of the work force and the living and working environment.
That is why these Edge Cities are hardly one-company towns. A lot of outfits have the same idea. The 287 and 78 area flies the corporate banners of TRW, NYNEX, Chubb, Allstate, Prudential, Beneficial, Bristol-Myers, Hoechst Celanese, Johnson & Johnson, Chase Manhattan, and Dun & Bradstreet. It contains more than sixteen million leasable square feet of office space full of white-collar jobs. That's larger than downtown New Orleans. This Edge City not only has a corporate jet airfield fifteen minutes away in Morristown; it has achieved such stature that its heavy hitters recently started to feel put upon. It seems that when they returned from Europe and Asia, the federal government had the annoying habit of forcing their private jets to first land at Teterboro, forty miles east. That was the nearest strip with a customs facility. Only after that stop could they fire up the turbines for the five-minute hop to 287 and 78. So the high rollers bought themselves their own customs office for Morristown. This is an airport with no regularly scheduled commercial flights, but it is now in effect Morristown International. They pay for this customs shed, they use it, it's theirs.
(In fact, the rise nationwide of satellite airports with surprisingly high levels of full-blown commercial service is a direct result of Edge Cities. In the orbit of New York's Edge Cities, for example, there are now six airports with serious, scheduled, national-airline jet service. That is because a lot of people in Edge Cities don't want to fight their way into La Guardia, Newark, or JFK. The newly important outer airports include MacArthur in Islip, halfway out on Long Island; Westchester; and Stewart International, in Newburgh, New York, seventy-five miles up the Hudson from Manhattan.)
Although nationally known corporations get a lot of press when they relocate to Edge City, they are not the quoin of capitalism there. It is the young, fast-growing entrepreneurial start-up-especially in high technology-that is the mark of Edge City. Inc. ("The Magazine for Growing Companies") in 1989 specifically made the connection. "One lure may lie in the basically unsettled nature of life on the edge," Inc. reported. "The people who like the status quo stay downtown where the old elites are. People who are out there redefining themselves, like entrepreneurs, are attracted to places that are new, where things are more flexible."
The creation of enterprise and jobs, and thus cities, has not changed much through history. It's always required a great deal of raw material drawn to one location, to which is added people to shape the material into something different and useful. The result is then shipped back out to an eager world. Today, that location is Edge City.
That's because the raw material has changed. Now that stock is made up of problems. There are so many of them that they come to places like 287 and 78 via huge satellite dishes-the heavy haulers, the railroads of the future. In Edge City, the offices are the factories of the Information Age. That is where problems are accumulated and the information of which they are made is mined for valuable nuggets. There it is digested and decided on by the work force, transformed, and repackaged.
The finished product shipped back out, essentially, is cleverness. It includes everything from decisions to buy and sell, to designs and redesigns, to software, to reports, to legal opinions, to television advertising. The worth of this cleverness can be thought of as independent of the physical object in which it may be embedded. Take the price of a telephone, for example. No one buying one cares about the cost per pound of this lump of plastic and silicon. The value of the phone is in how ingenious it is-how many features it has, how portable it is, how reliable it is. It is measured by how much cleverness it represents.
This shift to Information Age cities is as basic a revolution as the one we went through a century and a half ago at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. In 1850, for example, 85 percent of the U.S. population was rural. Cities, such as they were, were small and mercantile. Their landmarks were the counting houses down by the wharves. There, the riches of the hinterlands were swapped for the complexities of Europe and Asia. By the turn of the century, that had all changed. Mighty cities like Pittsburgh were built not so much on their relationship to farm and woodlands as on the relation of their factories to iron ore, coal, and sweating labor.
Before the Industrial Revolution, a world like today's would have been utterly unimaginable-in which only 3 percent of all Americans farm and more than three quarters are metropolitan slickers. Edge City represents as radical a shift. This is not because America's manufacturing prowess has rusted. Ignore the gloom-and-doom-sayers. The United States is now so technically advanced that it makes a ton of steel with fewer work hours than any nation on earth. From basic metals to chemicals to pharmaceuticals, American industry is strong. The American worker is by far the most productive in the world. Manufacturing jobs in America are actually increasing in absolute numbers.
But the way the world measures success in manufacturing today is by how quickly the number of blue-collar workers per object created can decline. That means increased productivitymore output per person-which means competitiveness with the rest of the world. Thus, it is possible to imagine an America with as strong a manufacturing base as there is now an agricultural base, in which the share of people actually turning widgets is astonishingly low. It is already no more than 18 percent of the work force-and it sank below 50 percent for the first time only in 1953.
That leads to the key work location being the office. That is industry in the late twentieth century. Instead of actually making airplanes, people more typically are figuring out how to make stronger, lighter composites to translate less fuel into more passengers in airplanes. Or they are supporting the people who do-either directly as researchers or word processors, or indirectly, by delivering their meals, fixing their Xerox machines, or nurturing their children.
That is why five million square feet of leasable office space is the point of critical mass for Edge City. The developer's rule of thumb is: One office worker equals 25 o square feet. That's the size of a fair-sized living room, and counts not just the worker's desk area, but her share of reception rooms, file rooms, stockrooms, and Xerox rooms.
Why do Edge Cities seem to hit critical mass at five million square feet of leasable office space? No one knows exactly at a theoretical level. But the figure does work like crazy as a predictor. When one drives out to see a place so measured, one always finds the same tall buildings, bright lights, and a hustle and bustle that is distinctly urban, albeit a little raw and cracked.
Five million square feet of office is a point of spontaneous combustion. It turns out to be exactly enough to support the building of a luxury hotel. It causes secondary explosions; businesses begin to flock to the location to serve the businesses already there. Five million square feet is a huge number; more than a hundred acres. That much space dwarfs the sizable downtown of Dayton, Richmond, Wilmington, or Spokane. It represents dozens of office buildings that would cover blocks and blocks in an old downtown. The number instantly and decisively rules out our using "city" for any suburban office strip of dentists and cut-rate tax-return accountants. The number represents a reality that is so quantitatively different as to be qualitatively different.
This measure of Edge City is especially useful because it is easily gathered. Edge City is a creature of the marketplace, and commercial real estate agents are its most devoted acolytes. Their mental maps of what constitutes a single commercial real estate "submarket" is usually an exquisite description of' the functional outlines of Edge City. If you wish to know whether a place near you is a full-blown Edge City, simply ask a commercial real estate agent to total up the leasable square footage numbers in his computer by submarket.
Interestingly, it has to be office space. Industrial and warehouse space does not create anything urbane. No dense centers ever evolve. Factories usually figure one worker for every fortyfive hundred square feet. This is eighteen times less dense than office space. Warehouse space has even fewer workers than that. Only one story high, a warehouse sprawls over the landscape much more than does Edge City. North Carolina is the tenth most populous state in the Union. It has 35 percent of its work force in manufacturing-the highest level in the nation. Yet it has no large downnowws at all, and not much in the way of an Edge City outside the white-collar confines of the Research Triangle: Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. City of Industry, California, aptly named, has a staggering hundred million square feet of factory and warehouse space-almost four square miles under roof. But precious little of that Southern California site passes for civilization. Industrial and warehouse workers rarely demand specialty retail, high-end services, cloth-napkin restaurants, hotels, and bookstores.
With the workplace now centered on offices, cities are transformed. For one thing, "cleverness" is not heavy; it is not measured in tons, like steel or corn or petroleum. Thus, it does not have to be, like an old downtown, near water or rail-the preferred movers of "heavy." Edge Cities, in fact, typically rise at the interchange of freeways. This should come as no surprise. "Whatever its shape, its architecture, or the civilization that illuminates it, the town creates roads and is created by them," Fernand Braudel wrote of the Middle Ages. "We should imagine the great trade route to the East [of the 1500s] as something like today's autostrada. "
Cities are always created around whatever the state-of-the-art transportation device is at the time. If the state of the art is sandal leather and donkeys, you get Jerusalem. Even when wheeled vehicles replaced pack animals as the freight technology of choice fifteen centuries after Jesus, Jerusalem remained shaped by its transportation origins.
When the state of the art is carriages and oceangoing sail, you get the compact, water-dominated East Coast cities of Paul Revere's Boston and George Washington's Alexandria. Or Amsterdam and Antwerp.
Canal barge and steamship give you Boss Tweed's New York. Intraurban (the El) and transcontinental rail (the stockyards) yield Bugsy Moran's Chicago. The automobile results in Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles.
When, in 1958, you threw in the jet passenger plane, you got more Los Angeles in strange places-Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Dallas, and Phoenix.
The combination of the present is the automobile, the jet plane, and the computer. The result is Edge City. The proof is the half-million-square-foot corporate headquarters of Beneficial Corporation, formerly Beneficial Finance. Incongruously located off a two-lane country road one exit north of the interchange of Interstates 287 and 78, Beneficial's headquarters is a complex of low, brooding brick linked by cobblestone courtyards and crowned by an eighty-foot clock tower that management is pleased to refer to as "the campanile." This headquarters looms like a baronial castle over the swale in which the perfect white spire of the Reformed Church marks the picturesque village of Peapack. The effect is supposed to be campuslike. It did indeed overpower one would-be Beneficial executive. At his hiring interview, having seen the place for the first time, he looked out over one quadrangle and couldn't help himself. Out he blurted, "So how's the football team doing?"
The Beneficial site is achingly bucolic. The "guest house" is Hamilton Farm, the former estate of the Brady dynasty, from which sprang Nicholas Brady, secretary of the treasury under George Bush. The sixty-four-room manse is profusely hung with oil portraits of horses with names like Exterminator and Twenty Grand. Out back, the carefully rolled lawn sports a wind sock. For the helicopters. When I mentioned I'd almost clobbered four deer in the driveway, the chairman and chief executive officer, Finn M. W. Caspersen, replied idly, "Only four?" There are usually more, he said, showing only the mildest interest in the fact that there were all these large wild animals bounding around his Edge City.
The deer, after all, are not the stars of the show in these parts. The horses are. The long-time headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team is at Hamilton Farm. The stables, when they were built in 1916, were described as the largest and most lavish in the United States. They have forty ornate carriage rooms, harness rooms, and human bedrooms featuring tile walls, terrazzo floors, and brass fittings. The floors of the fiftyfour twelve-foot-square box stalls are made of bricks of cork.
As it happens, Caspersen is a competitor in an event called the "four in hand." That involves making four horses pulling a carriage perform like gymnasts. It is an exotic sport by the standards of fox hunting. When Caspersen beat Prince Philip at it in England to take the world championship, the glass trophy came home next to him in the seat he'd bought for it on the Concorde. Nonetheless, Caspersen protests it was not he who insisted that the Beneficial headquarters be built next to the headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team. It was just a happy coincidence. The serendipity of corporate decision making.
Caspersen's version of the logic that brought the diversity, complexity, size, and function of a major corporation out to Edge City-of how his Machine of many parts was brought out to the Garden-goes like this:
"We came to the conclusion in the 1970s that the rest of the century was going to put a premium on employees in our business-financial services. And many employees were going to want a life style more than just money-a helpful environment and a pleasant environment.
"We also came to the conclusion that women were becoming more and more of a factor in our business. And when a woman has to combine raising a family and working, there's a very strong argument for being out near where people live.
"And personally, I am not a proponent of skyscrapers. I think there's an impersonal feeling about a skyscraper that makes it very difficult to have any kind of corporate culture. The only time you see people is in the elevator.
"So with that combination, what we were looking for was 80 percent of our people being able to live within twenty miles. That location had to be within three or four miles of a major interstate and it had to have room for expansion. An hour from a major airport-Newark is now thirty-five minutes away. We also wanted to have a railroad nearby. We weren't quite sure what role that was going to play-it turns out not too much.
"And we decided it was time to build a very pleasant workplace, and make it as personalized as possible. A lot of small buildings-that in practice are all connected, underground. A little more square footage than usual per person. But emphasize the outside. Eat outside, set up tables. There's two ball fields. Obviously you have tennis courts. We have a cafeteria here, we have a gymnasium, we have a company store if people need a new razor and wrapping paper or something. We have a barber shop. We have a gas station.
"As a result we've been able to recruit, even at lower salaries, against-certainly arther than would be comfortable even outdoors in a park, much less a supermarket.
This is not for lack of crime. Shoplifting is always an issue, and some of the mall rats without question deal drugs. One mother recently reported a pair of people at Bridgewater Commons attempting, unsuccessfully, to snatch her stroller with her child and her purse still in it. However, this foiled attempt was viewed as sufficiently unusual to merit major newspaper attention. In such places, there is generally not much violence. Nine million people a year come through the doors of Bridgewater Commons. In the first two years of its existence, the number of assaults reported to the police was two.
This is because Edge Cities have privatized the domains in which large numbers of strangers come together. Edge Cities grew up in the midst of what originally had been residential suburbia. No matter how heterogeneous the population ]'!Is becoming, the values of the territory's settlers survive. Sociologists who lamented the flight to suburbia claimed the middle class had abandoned the concept of city. They were wrong. The middle class simply built a new kind of city that functions in a Spanish style. It brought its quasi-public spaces in behind high walls, into the atria, open to the sun streaming through the skylights of the courtyards. There, patrol and control can operate at a high level.
"It's pretty hard to walk on my property without seeing some sort of highly visible security," says Jackson. Guards wear uniforms that look like those of the Marines. "I don't want them to be shy and subtle. I want them to be very overt." The gumball machine lights on the patrol trucks go on at the drop of a lug nut. Even if these paladins are only helping somebody change a flat tire, they do it with stark orange flashers. A local Explorer Scout unit occasionally scans the place from the roof with binoculars. At Christmas, the mall is patrolled on horseback. That's good community relations: the horse is a former member of the Philadelphia Police Department owned by the local animal-control officer who likes to keep his mount's skills sharp by working him amid people and cars. It's also beautiful public relations: children want to pet the horse. The horse patrol has tremendous visibility: the officer sits up so high that he can see and be seen for great distances. The pair can cruise real slow if that seems right. And they are intimidating-it's a big horse.
"You're in a toughie situation," sayJackson. "We're not police and we'll never usurp the police power." But Jackson gladly does everything he can to blur the line. He wants the township's police to have "a knowledge of the center that is very intimate." The chief of police is encouraged to lunch in the food court. The patrol officers are encouraged to park their cruisers in the deck, get out, and walk around. Even the normally desk-bound dispatchers are wooed with awards plaques and private tours. "There's definitely a symbiotic relationship. The police have a substation here. In the mall, sure. I'm trying to encourage that coordination to the nth degree. We have a police liaison who just happens to be the juvenile officer for the high schools and the township. Most high school kids, they're very good and well behaved. You will only have a small segment with problems. We recognize them by sight and we ban them. We are private property. Arrest them for trespass and ban them.
"Kids on average will have in their pockets $25 apiece when they walk in the door. We know that. When they leave they are much better than their parents because they leave almost to the penny with nothing. When you stop and think about it, that is very strong economics. You don't want to just arbitrarily throw them out. But being private property, that does give me a lot of rights. High-spirited youth can be escorted off. Quietly, subtly, but out of the picture."
"Sharper Image controls who they let in their store," Richmond picks up. "They have somebody watching who's coming in. Sometimes they have a greeter at the door say 'There's a limit. You can't go in until somebody leaves because there's too many people in there.' Kids get bored and leave. It's their sales philosophy-they want their salespeople to be able to meet, greet, and sell. And they're looking for shoplifters."
Yet no matter how insidious and sophisticated are the meth-ods by which issues of safety are addressed, Richmond and Jackson see it as only part of a much larger issue-what it takes to make people feel comfortable.
They play that game at a very high level. "See that marble floor there?" Richmond asks. "We used to give it a very high, very bright gloss, but we've toned it down." Why, I ask; did women think they were going to slip? Not that, he says. "We found that it brought out feelings of inadequacy. We brought it down to the level of shine on their own floors."
Richmond had earlier given me a serious market segmentation by mall floor. On the floor for the affluent, he said, prime customers on weekdays were wives of those senior executives who were in their late fifties. On Saturday and Sunday, it became the territory of women who were thirty-eight, had 2.3 kids, and were working. I thought he was pulling my leg with data that precise and started to josh him. He cut me off. "I've got my marketing staff if you'd like to talk to them," he said stiffly. They do not kid about anything that offers them control.
They take equally seriously the goal of "comfortable." The range of custom-crafted lighting systems for the mall, for example, can be manipulated to create an enormous range of moods, varying according to the time of day, the season, and the crowds. That task is so important that it is handled on a daily basis by Richmond, the manager, himself, not by some flunky. And this devotion to "comfort levels" is not peculiar to Bridgewater Commons or even to malls. In Edge City hotels, offices, and commercial areas, glass elevators and glass stairwells are rarely there for the view out. They are there for the view in. Rape is unlikely in a glass elevator.
Another effort at comfort: the hot trend is to have parking decks with roofs at expensive, "Wasted," warehouselike heights, with light levels appropriate to night baseball. Again, the highest goal is to make women feel safe. The older, more "logical" design, with roofs just tall enough for a car antenna, and lights only bright enough to show car keys, has Alfred Hitchcock overtones.
Similarly, the lawn designs of Edge City office campuses also broadcast their values. One can see a stranger approaching for a quarter of a mile. The inside of a soaring glass office lobby is about as public a place as is ever built in Edge City.
Designers who wish to make Edge City more humane frequently advocate that public parks and public places be added to match the great piazzas of the cities of old. That sounds great. But George Sternlieb of the Center for Urban Policy at Rutgers, points out the reason that there's no equivalent of the old urban parks in Edge City. "They don't want the strangers. If it is a choice between parks and strangers, the people there would sooner do without the parks." In Edge City, about the closest thing you find to a public space-where just about anybody can go-is the parking lot. In Edge City, no commercial center could survive if it had as poor a reputation for safety as do the streets of most downtowns. In Edge City, there are no dark alleys.
In the course of my travels, I never did find any sound, practical, financial, technical, physical, or legal reasons why we could not build more nineteenth-century-style downtowns out at 287 and 78 or anywhere else-if we chose. Yet we do not. Edge City is frequently accused of being the result of no planning. Yet a close examination demonstrates that quite the opposite is the case. The controls exercised in the name of "safety" and "comfort" in Edge City are the result of vast amounts of planning. Also design, money, thought, premeditation, listening to people, and giving them exactly what they say they want.
There are homeless people in Edge City, for example. But they are not found sleeping outside the centers of commerce and industry. Our planning, design, and control of public spaces that are really private property make sure of that. Every Christmas there is a national flap over whether malls will allow the Salvation Army into their domains. But it isn't just a question of charity. It's a question of how much we value safety and comfort. In Edge City there is very little truly "public" space. On purpose.
Can Edge City ever be translated into something as fragile as "identity"? Or as selfless as "community"? We enter the amorphous realms of the last three major city shapers: culture, companionship, and religion. Is Edge City a barren, sterile wasteland of the spirit? Is it merely a "slurb," as decried by the architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable? Does it do nothing but embody "cliché conformity as far as the eye can see?" Does Edge City even deserve to be described by that very word we have inherited from the word "city," the word we use in the English language to describe refinement, learning, and the restraint of base cravings: "civilization"?
A close examination of the everyday lives of a couple like Ron and Nancy Murray is instructive. A careful analysis of how people like the Murrays function in such realms is a significant test of Edge City's claim to urbanity.
The Murrays are worldly people. Nancy Murray has a master's degree in psychology and an M.B.A. She researches what consumers think about AT&T and its products. Her commute from their home in Morristown to the 287 and 78 area in Basking Ridge is twenty minutes. Ron is a computer software consultant who is helping to create a claims system for Blue Cross that will carry it into the next century. His commute to the 287 and 8o area of Florham Park is eighteen minutes.
The Murrays have had a range of experiences with which to compare the texture, spirit, and opportunities of Edge City. Their eleven-month-old son, Gregory, was conceived while they were on vacation in Bali, an island between the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea about as far from 287 and 78 as is possible on this planet. Nancy went to Vassar. Her previous position was with a wall Street bank. Ron's previous life was with Mobil on Forty-second Street, across from Grand Central. They've lived in Greenwich Village. Ron has voyaged through places like Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. And they do not hate New York. "New York is exciting," says Ron. "It's a place where you walk down the street and things are happening on every corner. Whether good, bad, or indifferent, they are happening."
"I have a sister who lives in Boston, and when she comes here we have to go into Manhattan," says Nancy. "She finds it exciting to go to the Village and see the interesting types of people, and go to high-priced restaurants and see the European jet set that isn't in New Jersey. It has a whole diverse culture. It's a little bit of fantasy. It's like a TV show in real life. You have South American dictators' wives at the cosmetics counter in Henri Bendel's. It's not your everyday experience."
In fact, the Murrays are self-described "certified New Yorkers." Ron grew up in the South Bronx and moved to the East Side. He didn't learn to drive until he was twenty-four. We're talking hard core, here. When Ron first started working in Edge City, he would travel an hour and a half, each way, to Fiftyseventh Street, to get his hair cut for $45. But then he gave some local salons a try, and after careful analysis he came to the studied conclusion: "To tell you the truth, there's not much difference between the $45 haircut in New York and the $17 haircut in Morristown." It was an internal struggle, but city boy or not, he finally decided: "To travel an hour and a half each way to get a twenty-five-minute haircut, it's not worth it."
Nancy is equally a product of her upbringing. She grew up in a Boston neighborhood that she compares to Brooklyn. She lived on the West Side of Manhattan so long that she says she forgot how to drive. When she got pregnant after they had moved to Morristown, she says, "I just assumed I was going to have a doctor in New York City and have the baby in the city." It came to her attention, though, talking to the members of her Lamaze class, that "they had their babies here and they were treated better-nicer." She has since learned that Edge City hospitals can be large and sophisticated, with neonatal facilities and medivac choppers and all the modern conveniences. They sometimes find it easier, she's discovered, to attract first-rate interns and residents than downtown hospitals do. In fact, she says, if she gets pregnant again, she thinks it just might be possible that she could find a baby doctor west of the Hudson.
They admit, however, that for all their devotion to Manhattan's virtues, a whole new world, a whole new life, opened up like a flower when Mobil transferred them in the mid- 1980s to Texas.
They moved into a brand-new, 2,200-square-foot North Dallas "beautiful sprawling ranch house with lots of room and a nice big yard for the dogs and it was just a so much more pleasant and comfortable way to live," recalls Nancy fondly. "It was tremendous," said Ron. "I lived in a two-room apartment when I was a kid. To me, this-I didn't know that this existed. I much preferred this to living in a two-room apartment in the South Bronx."
They fought the siren song of the late twentieth century to the bitter end, though. These people are tough. They are New Yorkers. "I was going to business school at SMU," recalls Nancy, "and I used to take the bus into downtown Dallas rather than bother driving, and people just thought that was so bizarre. I always used to walk every place and people would see me and they assumed my car had broken down."
It was when they rotated back to Manhattan that their resolve finally crumbled. They sublet an apartment in the Village that their friends considered quite a find. It was, however, "no bigger than that room right here, yeah, the dining room," interjects Ron. "And in New York, that was considered a nice apartment," adds Nancy.
That's what really broke their will. The usual complaints about the dirt, crime, subway, stress, congestion, cost, and taxes of the big city of course were factors. But the idea of having a brand-new house, in which nothing needed fixing, and spaceall the space they could ever use, four fifths of an acre of land, four thousand square feet of house, four bedrooms, a sitting room off the master suite-that's what finally got them looking at Morris County. Then came the clincher. In this new realm, they discovered, challenging work was more plentiful than downtown. And what's more, that work was so close to their home that it was almost a return to a younger world. Nancy could actually come home to see her baby-on her lunch hour.
But what about "companionship," I ask them. Companionship is an issue crucial to the quality of cities-the extent to which it offers a choice of associations.
"The women here are very interesting," reports Nancy of her experience. "It's cosmopolitan. The woman across the street used to be a pharmacist and now has her own advertising firm. One woman I got friendly with at the mothers' group is a documentary film producer. In my exercise class I met a few attorneys. Even the women who don't work right now used to, and they're very intelligent and they always have something to say. They go into the city, they see plays, and whatever. People in the 1960s rebelled against the suburbs as sterile. I wasn't rebelling because I hadn't come from there, so it looked pleasant to me. I never quite understood what they were so upset about. The people who live here aren't country bumpkins. You have all religions and races."
"Let me just go up the neighborhood for you," says Ron. "The guy in the house right here is the medical director of Prudential Life Insurance in Newark. The guy in the next house is the head partner of Price Waterhouse in Short Hills. The next guy up is with The Limited. He's British. The Prudential guy is black. The next guy is from Houston. He travels to the Orient a lot for business."
(Earlier, Finn Caspersen had taken that diversity question and shot back, "There's similarity here, sure, but it's no less a similarity than, say, people living on the East Side of New York City. Manhattan is the most parochial area. You talk about diversity in New York City, you're talking about somebody maybe living in the Village.")
Putting on her psychologist's hat, Nancy ventures, "There are younger single people I work with now-they have much more an upbeat social life. A lot of them are engaged and getting married or they're dating. The women I met in Manhattan-a lot were single people who weren't that happy with the situation at this point in life. I think the old idea that [downtown] is an ideal place for single people-it's one thing to be twenty-one; it's another thing to be thirty or forty or fifty and single. Then they'd find out that it wasn't wonderful to just have one dimension to your life. Their jobs became everything to them. They'd be willing to work till ten or eleven at night because they didn't have anything else that took up their energy. That made for quite an unbalanced type of life style, led to neurotic behaviorpeople would go flipping through my desk to see who was working on what projects. Just really neurotic behavior."
People in Edge City also have changed relationships with nature. They are by no means all benign. But Edge City is a landscape in which more humans are getting closer to other high-order species than at any time in the past century. Edge City is creating a world in which, for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the majority of the American peoplewhether they know it or not or like it or not-may soon be sharing their territory with fairly large wild animals. In fact, the New Jersey State Plan, unquestionably the most sophisticated growth-management scheme ever attempted statewide in this country, specifically envisions a world in which "corporate campuses are designed as refuges for wildlife" and "our homes in new subdivisions are clustered and adjoin protected natural streams and wooded areas."
American bald eagles winter only twenty miles from 287 and 78, and they are on the increase, according to Jim Sciascia, the principal zoologist with the Endangered and Non-Game Species Program of the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game, and wildlife. There are 150 black bears in the mountains not distant. Some weigh six hundred pounds. Where does a six hundred-pound bear sleep? Not only anywhere it wants. But right around Interstate 287. "Sometimes they get disoriented, or they get harassed, and they go up in a tree and won't come down," reports Sciascia. More than corporate jobs are multiplying in 287 and 78; so are Eastern coyotes. They a
re bigger than western ones, in the small German Shepherd range. Red-tail hawks are a common sight sitting in the trees along Interstate 78, staring at the carefully maintained grassland habitats of the shoulder and median, waiting for rabbits, mice, and rodents to make a break for it.
Edge City changes the ecology in ways that can be unexpected. As with any change that happens quickly, specialized species that do not adapt easily are in big trouble. The vesper sparrow, the upland sandpiper, and other grassland birds are endangered by the decline in pasture in the 287 and 78 area. Wood turtles are endangered by the decline in wetland. The bobolink, savannah sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, and bog turtle are threatened. Neotropical songbirds like the wood thrush, oven bird, and vireo require large tracts of continuous forests for their nests; otherwise, they are raided by more competitive birds.
On the other hand, adaptable species like beaver-not to mention raccoon and skunk-are booming. The result is not wilderness. What remains is a far less diverse ecology than what was there before. But if you measure it by the standard of city, it is a far more diverse ecology than anything humans have built in centuries, if not millennia.
There is a great deal of "edge," in the biological sense of the word, in Edge City, Sciascia notes. Edge is the zone where different ecologies meet-between woodlands and grasslands, for example, or the wetlands between deep water and dry land. Diversity of life abounds in "edge." Edge City has a lot of it because of the way it has a surprising amount of small grassland and woodlots which add up to tremendously large acreage by any historical standard of city. This abundance of edge is "good for prey population," says Sciascia. which is why you find predators there. Including rattlesnakes and copperheads. The Garden State, indeed. Right down to the serpents, Edge City does lay legitimate claim to garden-ness. It is not wild. As in agriculture, it is managed and controlled and selected-for by man. Yet it is an urban civilization in which children are at least as likely to be acquainted with fireflies as they are with cockroaches. A relationship with nature is seen as a key elementsecond only to safety, in the opinion polls-in what makes it a good place to live. You wonder why 76 percent of all Americans consider themselves environmentalists? Perhaps it is because a lot of them live near Edge City.
Sciascia agrees with the New Jersey State Plan that sprawl "compromises the quality of life in our state." He scorns "people who freak out because they don't want to deal with animals" and call him to get rid of critters holed up in their basement or attic. He acknowledges, though, that vastly more numerous are those who "get off on the wildlife." In fact, he says, they lay out so much supplementary food that they contribute to the population explosion, and their neighborhoods offer sanctuary from hunters. There are 150,000 deer in New Jersey. In the Edge City of Princeton, the Institute for Advanced Study had to name a wildlife Control Officer to recruit bow hunters after the deer population increased by a factor of six.
Throughout human evolution, most people lived in the countryside; few in the city. Only in the last century was that order reversed, and cities became top-heavy. Maybe Edge City is reversing it again. The Machine in the Garden, indeed. Despite the best work of the bulldozers, the hottest topic among foresters today is that oxymoron the "countrified city." The good news is that people who live amidst small woodlots take meticulous care of them. The bad news is that a forest fire would be awesome.
Again, this is an attempt at a new equilibrium. It does not involve moving to Montana, but it is by no means a total rejection of the old downtown. Take another measure of urbanity: culture. Nancy Murray acknowledges that eleven-month-old Gregory has changed her habits. But typically, she said, "we used to go out on Saturday night to a nice restaurant or something; maybe half the time we'd go into Manhattan and half the time we'd just stay out here. Then Sunday every three weeks or so we'd try to go in. I joined some Off-Broadway theater groups where you get tickets for the season. And when I was pregnant I got a subscription to the ballet."
In fact, close questioning of the Murrays reveals that for them Manhattan is primarily an entertainment center. And they are not alone. Tourism is now the number one industry in New York City-ahead of financial services. It is also the fastest growing. This is good news for many of the old city's most fragile and important institutions, from the theater to the symphony.
Many urban visionaries who have nobly devoted their entire lives to reviving the old downtown see the rise of Edge City as nothing but a threat. Every time a corporate headquarters leaves town for literally greener pastures, they bleed. They make it clear that they believe settlement patterns to be a zero-sum game. They assume that to the extent Edge City gains, their beloved downtown-and, by extension, Western civilization loses.
The more I looked into this, however, the less evidence I found to support their theory. In the last decade, the downtowns have been going through their most striking revivals of this century. From coast to coast-Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle-downtowns are flourishing. Downtowns that no prudent person would have bet a week's pay on twenty years ago-Los Angeles, Baltimore, even, my God, Trenton-are back. Manhattan went from bankruptcy to, for better or for worse, the Gilded Age of Donald Trump.
These downtowns were reborn at exactly the same time as Edge Cities boomed. Maybe it is only a coincidence. But maybe not. It may be that Edge Cities, by relieving the downtowns of trying to be all things to all people, actually did them a favor. The creation of new industry may be inherently messy and chaotic. Maybe moving it out to Edge Cities is what allowed us to look with fresh eyes at our downtowns. Tear up the old docks, for example, now that freighters no longer tie up there. Return the waterfront to the people. Build a South Street Seaport or a Battery Park City. Transform the old warehouses and lofts into condominiums and shops. It is as if our downtowns have become antiques, in the best sense of that word. Edge Cities may represent the everyday furniture of our lives, but we recognize the downtowns as something to be cosseted and preserved. The New Yorker magazine writer Tony Hiss has even suggested that it was misguided for Manhattan to compete with its surrounding Edge Cities for so much new office space in the 1980s. He feels that the old city would have been better served by preserving the sense of place that had been layered up there over the generations. "Tourists don't like to visit office districts," he points out in The Experience of Place. "Their interests are in seeing safe, beautiful, interesting places-places that afford vivid and memorable experiences."
Whatever the case, the greatest glory of our old downtownstheir world-class museums and theaters-have been injected with new life. The more Edge Cities boomed, the more different places were created within the metropolitan region in which to locate high-paying work places. To the extent that this provided more opportunities for well-to-do people to make a living in the area, it yielded more patrons overall for downtown institutions of minority high culture like opera. If it were not for the attractions of 287 and 78, the Murrays might not be buying tickets to Off-Broadway. They might still be in Texas, fundraising for a ballet there.
Edge Cities may even be helping with the social problems of the old downtowns. The corporations of elite Princeton-Route 1 are taking an unprecedented, even flabbergasting, interest in the schools of gritty-city Trenton. They now realize that is where their future labor force will come from. Trenton is also a source of affordable housing. Huge old Victorians that, in the mid-1970s, were viewed as worthless dinosaurs, fetching $22,000 apiece, are now valued at more than $220,000. It defies description how enormous a change this is in only fifteen years in this once bombed-out burg. It was started by the scores of people who refused to let the old city die, no matter the personal cost. It was further enabled by a state government that would not abandon the state capital, in which George Washington clobbered the Hessians after crossing the Delaware.
But the renaissance could not have happened without money. And the source of jobs in America today is Edge City. That is why the future of downtown would actually appear to be secured by Edge City. Edge City pushes wealth back into blighted areas of the old downtown as its companies seek less expensive housing and labor. Downtown also offers Edge City visitors the amenities of a place built in an earlier era. This is especially attractive for the young and single and those otherwise without children in need of the kind of stimulation only a full-blown arts district can provide.
You can see this symbiosis starting between the Edge City of Cherry Hill and the mean streets of Camden, as with 287 and 78 and both New Brunswick and Allentown. It is hardly a panacea; jobs and housing should be in better balance. But many innercity residents have found that making long journeys to jobs in Edge City is better than having no jobs at all.
After all, when it comes to the location of our homes, we Americans have been voting with our feet for some time now. Eighty-eight percent of all Americans live outside what has traditionally been defined as a big city-the political boundaries of a place at least the size of El Paso, with half a million population. (Only 8 percent of all Americans live in politically defined cities with more than a million population, like Los Angeles.)
Thus, it could be that without Edge City underpinning our society, the plight of the old downtowns would have been immeasurably worse. After all, metros like Phoenix have demonstrated that you can have many successful Edge Cities without much of a downtown. But places like St. Louis show that heroic efforts to revive downtown are only marginally successful in the absence of the economics that vigorously produce Edge Cities.
In fact, the relationship of Edge City to the old downtown may be parallel to how most people in this country experience the performing arts. Recordings will never replace live performances. In the late twentieth century, though, we usually meet human needs by commodifying them. Even the most dedicated disciple of Mozart buys more compact discs than performance tickets. If an American today has a yen for the finest acting, she'll most commonly go out and rent some at a video store, like any sensible human being.
This is certainly what the Murrays do. "I like to get one foreign film for the weekend," says Nancy. "Pelle the Conqueror was one I had out two weeks ago. This week it's a Chinese film, Eat a Bowl of Tea. I used to really like going to the ballet. Now they have some good ballet tapes. Gregory loves it. The music calms him down if he's cranky. I waltz around with him."
This is not to say there are no live performances in Edge City. The local brags include the Shakespeare Festival at Drew, the Metropolitan Opera performing at Waterloo Village, the McCarter Theatre at Princeton, and the Playwrights Theatre in Madison. But even if the commodity you require is to have your soul lifted, the place to go is Bridgewater Commons. Select-aTicket inside the main entrance one weekend was offering access to The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, Eric Clapton at the Hartford, Connecticut, Civic Center, Cher at the Sands in Atlantic City, the International Opera Festival at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, and Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash together at the Nassau Coliseum.
If the arts have any real problem in Edge City, thinks the urban designer Patricia L. Faux, it is simply that the founders of Edge City aren't dead yet. Palaces of the arts usually aren't built until the crusty old buzzards croak and the children give the money away.
Americans today spend more money attending cultural events than they do on spectator sports. That is way up from 1970, when, according to the National Endowment for the Humanities, we spent twice as much on sports. This increase is concurrent with the rise of Edge City, as well as the dispersal of the American population to the South and West. It would seem logical, then, that if there can be a serious dance company called B