It has been a roller coaster of a month for those Manhattan town boosters who take seriously national publications that generate ad dollars by assessing the assets of various American cities.
In January, livability.com named Manhattan, Kansas, the #2 city in the nation for “livability.” Behind it in the top 10 were city that might more quickly spring to mind, at least on the national level: Santa Cruz, Madison, Palo Alto, Charlottesville, Corvallis.
In the top 10, only Manhattan needs to have the state name attached to it so readers know which city is being talked about. “No, not the New York one — it’s Manhattan, KS that ranks second on Livability.”
“Thanks to affordably priced apartments and starter homes and a low unemployment rate, Manhattan scored well in the housing and economic categories,” affirms the anonymous author, adding, “With many restaurants, shops and cultural venues, Aggieville and the bustling downtown are two popular entertainment districts.” Overland Park ranked 11th in the same survey by the way. No other suburban city outranked it.
The pundits at Business Insider apparently have never partied in Aggieville. They just named Manhattan the “most boring” city in Kansas. Those not familiar with the charms of Kansas have to think that the competition for most boring city had to be pretty intense. Manhattan, after all, had to beat out contenders with names like “Prairie Village” and the “Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County.” But prevail Manhattan did. Town boosters would do well to demand a recount.
As to the “most exciting” city in Kansas, that would be Wichita. The folks at the Wichita Eagle are already doing an end zone dance. The article on this major award begins, “Earlier this year, a travel blogger called Wichita one of the ‘best-kept secrets of the Midwest.’ That secret won’t last long if Wichita continues to fare well in nationwide studies.”
It is not often that “Wichita” and “most exciting” are used in the same sentence, but if Barack Obama and Bob Dylan can win Nobel Prizes, no dream today need go unfulfilled.