The background for this question comes from this Craigslist apartment ad on Cherokee Street (yeah...I might have been looking...).
Unique and spacious open loft in the fast growing Cherokee street arts district. Easily walk to an array of interesting shops and restaurants including APOP Records, The Archive, The Mud House, The Stable, Foam, O'Malleys, Off Broadway and Firecracker Press. The area is also known for a great selection of authentic Mexican restaurants and grocers, eclectic clothing and antiques. Probably the only Street in St. Louis that actually feels like a real city and can provide your every need without having to drive.
The emphasis is mine.
A litany of questions comes to my mind. What does the author mean by "real city"? Is it simply a function of being able to walk to satisfy all of your needs? If that's the definition of the term, do you agree or disagree that Cherokee Street is among the only spots in the city that fit this term? Or is "realness" also associated with diversity of ethnicity and income?
I'm sure the poster of this apartment advertisement is just doing a little up-selling of the Cherokee District and intended no harm to our fair city. But I still balk at language that dismisses other parts of the city as less "real" simply because they're not quite as active at all hours of the day or because they don't have certain types of businesses. Many people live a car-free or car-lite lifestyle in the Central West End, Skinker-DeBaliviere, DeBaliviere Place, Forest Park Southeast, and South Grand, too (not to mention places in the city where people can't afford vehicles and walk/take transit most of the time).
I would rephrase the ad to say: "Cherokee Street is the city's most creative, diverse, exciting, and collaborative street..." or something to that effect. I don't think that's too much of a stretch. But many parts of the city are still "real" to me without some of the energy of Cherokee Street. What are your thoughts?