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What I love about Durham

The readers write

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We asked readers to tell us what they love about Durham, and we got nearly 100 responses, many touching on similar strengths--diversity, friendliness, beauty, civic involvement--and a few unique ones.

D-town triptych - PHOTO BY LISSA GOTWALS
It's the brick and the kudzu. One a victim, the other a victor. Never in my life growing up on the West Coast have I seen a city so full of red and brown brick both subsisting and disappearing. It marvels me. The brick in Durham remains a poignant symbol in the history of the tobacco industry. I hear locals expressing a discontent for its gentrification. There seems there's no stopping it. One of my favorite things to do in Durham is ride my bike through downtown to the old Tobacco Trail. The sprawling, dangling kudzu makes me feel like I'm in some enchanted dreamland. There seems to be no containing it. One day the subsistent brick factories may all be turned into offices, boutiques and fancy restaurants. But at least later, who knows how soon, they will not be able to withstand the relentless, ravishing kudzu. --Carmela Meehan

There is lots to love about Durham, but race and class are the words most associated with our city of late. What some call racial "tension" in Durham, we call honest discussion. Durham is one of only a handful of cities in this country that has historically had a strong black middle and professional class. Because political power here rests with black as well as white people, race issues are an open and important, if sometimes painful, part of political debate, rather than being buried by a white economic and political majority. The racial debate enriches our city and puts us at the forefront of wrestling with a fundamental part of our country's history. --Mike and Mig Sistrom

I moved back to Durham after five years in New York City. The reason: There are millions of interesting people from all walks of life in New York, but somehow you never get to meet that many of them. And there are thousands of interesting people from all walks of life in Durham, but somehow you get to meet a lot of them. I feel my life has been enriched even more by living here than by living in the largest city in the country, just by showing up at the grocery store, the coffee shop, the Y, the neighborhood. --The Rev. Catherine A. Caimano

A few years ago during a morning stroll in downtown Durham, a young man approached and with great enthusiasm told me about his new restaurant, the Cocoa Cafe. He urged me to give it a try. I agreed. We walked a few blocks and to my surprise entered another business, Mr. Shoe. In the back of the store an old man waited on a customer. Near the front, amid the racks of repaired shoes, was a table and two chairs and a counter with several packages of store-bought cocoa. I smiled as the young man boiled some water. He asked how I liked the cocoa. I told him it was great. I left the Cocoa Cafe, amused by Durham's quirkiness. Later that evening I spotted him handing out business cards on Ninth Street. --Bill Pope

Some towns display their jewels in showcases. Durham casually conceals hers in old cigar boxes and brown paper bags. Behind a storefront, a riveting production of Chekhov. In an apartment over a Main Street office, a collection of antique harpsichords. Next to a parking lot, down a narrow path, a graceful garden with sculpture. On a residential street (no sign out front), a celebrated restaurant. When our treasures are too big to hide, we have other strategies. The lofty building that serves as our community's cathedral? We call it a "chapel." --Allen Wilcox

Durham has an authenticity and integrity that other communities couldn't buy if they wanted to. Durham's problems are real, but unlike the typical dysfunctional Southern community, Durham doesn't hide its problems behind social or political comfort. The conversation in Durham is out, and is getting air. Durham is attending these issues ... the big issues ... that other communities are ignoring: race, crime, poverty, equality, violence, privilege and class. Durham is a place for people who love their community almost more than anything else. The tide of this community is rising, and it is lifting all the ships, and that's why Durham is going to succeed in ways we can't even imagine. --Scott Harmon

When my parents divorced in 1965, we were living in suburban Chicago. My mother, determined to start her new life in a new town, spread out a map of the United States and we made a short list of requirements: cheaper cost of living, warmer winters, four seasons, near mountains and sea, university town. This narrowed it down to the southeastern Piedmont, and we picked Chapel Hill because we'd heard of it, and agreed to look at Durham because we'd heard of Duke. So she packed us four youngest kids in the Rambler and headed south to buy a house. It was soon clear that Chapel Hill did not have a cheaper living cost. Our real estate agent, Ms. Ivey (who summed up Carrboro by saying, "Well, I just don't know how to explain Cahbruh to you") was shocked that we were also considering Durham. "You don't want to live there," she said. "People in Durham scratch." We all looked at each other and burst out laughing. We knew that it would be Durham for us. --Jan Martell

I fell in love with Durham in 1971. I was a hippie attending art college in Philadelphia. I drove down in my VW microbus to visit my girlfriend, who was attending Duke. I was impressed with the humble and gracious way people here lived together in a patchwork quilt of neighborhoods. Intellectuals and illiterates, hippies and squares, blacks and whites coexisted with surprising respect and equality. Durham was blessed with natural beauty, arts, education and a mild climate. Now I'm a Methodist minister. I finally got to move here two years ago. Durham has only improved with age. --the Rev. J. Robert Kretzu

It was the first month we'd moved into the Duke Park neighborhood by way of Manhattan. My husband was thrilled to have a lawn. We'd been sent to Stone Bros. and Byrd for supplies. I was fascinated by the seed, hanging country hams (at the time), garden ornaments, bottled pickles and peanuts. "Country and quaint" was how I'd described it. When we went to pay, we had neither cash nor checks and they didn't accept credit cards! The man behind the counter told us they'd send us a bill. I was incredulous. "Don't you want to see my license?" "Nah, you look good for it." It was a startling introduction to the ever-present small-town feel of a city we've come to love. --Melanie Mitchell

I love Durham--it is so vibrant ... vivid and throbbing with true diversity of residents who are proud to share who we are with each other. We have our differences, but in Durham, we struggle openly in a healthy microcosm of citizenship and democracy. Durham has good neighborhoods, lots of artistic, educational and business opportunities, and no more random crime than anywhere else. Treating people with respect is a great way to disarm them, so I look people in the eye. I greet them, and am usually rewarded with a smile and greeting in return. This is Durham! --Diane Wright

I love zipping to work in minutes: no highway driving, no traffic jams. (My husband can bike or walk on the American Tobacco Trail to his office.) I love seeing movies at the Carolina; sipping a latte at the Guglhupf Cafe; hanging out at Foster's Market; eating at the Thai Cafe, Sitar Indian Palace, Bahn's and Saladelia's. I love readings at The Regulator and shopping at Vaguely Reminiscent. I love walking in my neighborhood of Forest Hills. I love fresh eggs and flowers from the Farmers' Market. I love that lonesome whistle of the freight trains in the night; I love "Hit Bull, Win Steak." I love concerts in Duke Chapel, the wisteria-covered pergola in the Gardens, the new Nasher Museum; Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Blue Devils. I love the Eno and the dancers who come to town every summer. I love the emerging art scene. I love being part of a community where people of all colors work and play alongside one another and I love that the only people who move here are ones who feel the same way. I love living in the best-kept secret in the state. --Christina Askounis

Durham Central Park from within the Liberty Arts foundry - PHOTO BY LISSA GOTWALS

I grew up in an Eastern North Carolina tobacco and peanut town (pop. 7,000--yeehaw!). After living in Raleigh, Boston, Asheville and Bellingham, Wash., places where something seemed to be missing, I ended up here and have no wish to ever live anywhere else. Durham fills my need for an authentic locale that hasn't forgotten its roots, as well as the culture and "neat goings-on" that only more "hip" and, well, larger cities usually have. I could mention many places, such as the Starlite Drive-In, Sennet's Hole, the Ringside, but mostly, Durham needs me, and for that, I love her. --Elizabeth Peel

One of the many things we most love about Durham is its wonderful music and arts culture. In late March we noticed an ad in the Indy announcing a chamber concert by the Durham Symphony to be held on a Sunday afternoon. This reminded us of the many happy musical moments we shared in the 1980s when we lived in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. The quality of the performance we enjoyed that afternoon was as good as it gets, easily on a par with the best available in any other city in the country. What a great pleasure it is to live in a small city that consistently presents and maintains such a rich and diverse offering of music, film, dance, and indeed all of the arts at the highest level. --Anne and Bill Moscrip

Some of the things I love most about Durham are things we take the most heat for in the media. What the media often represents as squabbling, in-fighting, special-interest politics and government ineptitude I see as open and accessible local government and diverse citizens who care deeply about and participate actively in local political and community affairs. What the media represents as racial discord I see as the healthy conflicts and disagreements that arise when the diverse groups that make Durham home work through issues together for the good of the entire community. While the media often represents Durham as gritty and crime-ridden, I see strong, organized, vocal communities of people who love their neighbors and their neighborhoods and work together to make all of Durham a better place. --Kelly Jarrett

It is very simple! When walking down the street and you say good morning to someone, the reply is a good morning back. --Bob Appleby

You know what I love about Durham? I love that there are more people in Durham doing stuff to make it a great place to live than there are people kvetching about what's wrong with Durham. Everyone from semi-anonymous city and county employees, to community activists, to volunteers in after-school programs, to downtown business owners, gets out of the house and does something. I love that Durham is not a town for whiners. Oh, yeah, and the Duke Park traffic circle. That rocks. --Barry Ragin

Durham is our newly elected home, although we had not planned on living here. Durham presents life on a neighborly scale; no more anonymity of being one among hundreds squeezing into the metro to go to and from work. Durham does not feel like an un-human machine. There is a true sense of community here, yet there is not the oppression of being hedged in by a homogenous society. Durham has not lost the authenticity of the neighborhood business to that same anonymity that pervades McDonald's, Wal-Mart and Starbucks. Those ubiquitous big names are just on the outskirts, but tucked in Durham's inner business centers are some wonderfully intimate shops, cafes and restaurants. The Broad Street Cafe epitomizes what I love about Durham. It is all about possibilities, creativity, diversity, community and proximity. Turn up at the Broad Street Cafe, and you are sure to run into someone you know ... if not, you'll meet someone new there. --Amy Howell

What I love about Durham is all the foodies. You know, people who are somewhat food obsessed. They love to eat good food, they love to talk about cooking food, they think about what they are going to eat for their next meal while still digesting the meal they just had. Foodies are all over Durham. Everywhere I go I run into people who are more than happy to talk about where they had a great meal in many of our fine restaurants, or where they found the best produce or meat, or what fabulous cuisine they made at home. The stimulating discussions and occasions of and for food abound here in Durham! Food = Love, feel the love in D-Town. --Esther Bent

Going to Locopops isn't a trip to get a frozen treat. (Chocolate Chile. Mojito.) No, it's become an almost sacred ritual. (Clementine Thyme.) Here's how it's done: First, case the joint. (White Chocolate Peanut Butter. Blackberry Sage.) What new flavors are on the menu? (Sweet Louise.) How many Must Haves? (Almond Cardamom. Chocolate Ginger.) Map the landscape, then get down to business. (Pomegranate Tangerine.) Water-based first. No question. (Hibiscus. Grapefruit Basil.) Anything else would be uncivilized. (Lychee and Lemongrass.) Ideally, go with a friend. Order two paletas. (Plum Black Currant. Pear cardamom.) Sample. Trade, if mutually agreeable. Close eyes. Savor. Breathe deeply. Then repeat with cream-based (Pistachio. White Chocolate Almond Kirsch)--for dessert. --Lanya Shapiro

A coffee gelato with hot fudge sauce at Francesca's. The gazebo at Duke Gardens when the wisteria is in bloom. Zydeco at the Durham Blues Festival. A line of turtles sunning on a log in the Eno River. A cold beer and a Flying Burrito at a Bulls game on a sultry August night. Working out at the downtown Y. A picnic with friends in Oval Park when the symphony comes to town. The black bears and the red wolves at the Museum of Life and Science. Fresh asparagus and local strawberries at the Farmers' Market. My wonderful neighbors in Duke Park. --Maria Mangano

The sunsets are sneaky in Durham, like a lot of the beauty. You have to be in the right place at the right time and remember to look. Just before dusk, go to the top of the field on East Campus that slopes down to the intersection of Markham and Broad. The huge willow oaks become backlit with orange, fiery red and pink, then purple, as dog walkers, runners and Frisbee-tossers pass by. The greens of the grass and trees become deep, rich and finally, dark, as everything quiets into night and the lights of the corner tavern come up. --Sherri Zann Rosenthal

What I generally love about Durham is what I sometimes hate about Durham. I have lived near drug dealers and prostitutes, thieves and addicts. That part I hate. Many of my neighbors are the working poor. We are white, black and Mexican. We are young and old, and straight and gay, and tolerant and not. Our differences have created some problems. Our differences have brought understanding and acceptance. I love that. Sometimes I think: I just want to live around people like me. But if I did that, if I lived in a fortress of sameness, I would forget. --Diane Daniel

The friendliness of the people. I escaped from Cary in 2001. I met more people in my first few months in Durham than I had met in over five years in Cary. When telling people about Durham I often describe it as "gritty" and "tasty." The breadth and depth of textures in Durham life sometimes remind me of Chicago. And politics as a spectator sport. --Chuck Davis

Durham is a place where people care. Whether it's crime, education, culture and arts, housing, or any of a myriad of other issues, people get involved. Maybe we aren't all reading the same script when an issue is debated, but debate we do. In the end, Durham is healthier for the effort. I've noticed a sharper focus on issues lately. That suggests a higher probability of resolution. What I love about Durham is seeing people from all walks of life pulling together. --Barker French

I love Durham because we're like a dysfunctional family trapped around a holiday table for all eternity. We take turns erupting like emotional volcanoes, hurling accusations, revealing disappointments--and arguing for a bigger piece of the pie because, back in 1972, David got the last slice and it just wasn't fair. How is this good? I'm an optimist. I believe honesty is the first step toward change. I believe that wiser leaders could use our passion to shape Durham into a strong community--one that makes room at the table for everyone because we're all part of the same family. --Katy Munger

I love the social environment of Durham and the individual communities. When issues arise, neighbors of the community stand up and unite for the good of the city. When there were crosses placed on the land to burn in the night, the next day people of all races and color stood together to unite for peace and liberty. Our neighbors are not strangers but our friends whom we rely upon in time of need and worship. Nowhere have I seen the warmth and sincerity towards newcomers as I have in Durham. --Sylvia J. Williams

Two 100-year-old legendary sports programs call the Bull City home: one coached by a devil of a Hall of Famer, the other the subject of a major motion picture. Both within a three mile radius of each other. Only in Durham. --Charlie Watson

In Durham, you can learn on Monday that one of the world's largest cement companies plans to build a plant in a less affluent community. Concerned about the health effects of cement dust, a coalition forms and mobilizes citizens across town. By Thursday, the chair of our county commissioners raises the possibility of moratorium on cement plant construction. (The cement batch plant was later stopped.) I really don't think such quick citizen or government responses would have happened in Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem or Charlotte. We don't just celebrate democracy in Durham, we live it. --John Schelp

With a growing economy and one of the largest urban renewal projects this country has ever seen, Durham is much more than its stereotype of a major university surrounded by a dangerous city. Durham's "creative class" and entrepreneurial spirit attracted us to relocate from Manhattan, and its diversity made the transition easy. From the Full Frame Documentary Festival to the locally owned restaurants and businesses, Durham has a character and allure like no other place we have lived. We are proud to call it home! --Whitney Wilkerson and Raven Manocchio

I love Durham because we are a big chunky stew of cultures, races, socioeconomic levels, and interests. I love the potential; everywhere I look new roads are being built, new developments are sprouting, new businesses are opening. I love that we have so many choices in education for our kids. I love that we're all intermingled so that I see mansions and boarded-up houses just driving to the store. I love that even though all the differences make us argue, it also means we care enough about our town to have the argument. --Valerie Parham-Thompson (My son adds: "I love my neighbors." --Miles, 5)

Web extras:

I love the Oprah Hotel. "WE WANT OPRAH!!! Email Oprah" is spelled out in block letters across the windows of the mildly ugly 1960s-era building in the center of town. Its two simple imperatives confound fresh observers--why Oprah? Though it serves as both a convenient landmark and a classic, inside joke for Durhamites, the commands of the Oprah Hotel belie the public need for the ham-fisted benevolence that Ms. Winfrey, Ty Pennington and their ilk at TV Makeover Land would offer. Durham is remaking itself on its own terms. Do we want Oprah? Not anymore--but I like that the sign is still there to remind us. --Andrew Edmonds

For my first meal 22 years ago in Durham, I ate a chili cheeseburger, fries and a real milk shake at the King Sandwich Shop near the old ballpark. I was a 24-year-old road-trippin' college dropout with a high-mileage pickup truck, $400 cash, fat horizons and a big appetite.
Driving through downtown that first day, the architecture mimed the same message as the old buildings in Barcelona had, but in English: "This could be home."
Amusing jobs were as easy, if not easier, to find here than anywhere else I'd been. In Durham I added driving a delivery truck for Ninth Street Bakery, bookselling for the Regulator Bookshop, and swinging a hammer for green builder Mark Marcoplos to a long list of B.D. (Before Durham) gigs that had me working with just about every kind of professional from archeologists to zoologists and with living things like sea turtles and monkeys to Spanish oranges and Lowcountry tomatoes.
My job-hopping exposed me to the unwritten side of Durham. I had found a town where back-to-the-land hippie-types were being their own boss and a lefty lawyer had won a mayor's race. In the Reagan years. I was inspired. I decided I didn't want any more jobs. If I had landed someplace like South Dakota or Appalachia, my choices would have been limited. But in Durham it became clear that instead of working a job for someone else, I could make a living practicing my own avocations: writing, politics and gardening.
By the age of 28, the Independent regularly ran my stories. At 30, a coalition of voters had put me in the first of two elected offices. At 32, homeowners in the older inner-city neighborhoods hired me for the first of what are now a lotta damn fine gardens.
I haven't had a j.o.b. in 14 years. My work life feels like school recess, but I still get paychecks.
Why do I love Durham? Because you can dream a dream anywhere. But you can live a dream in Durham. --Frank Hyman

You can be driving to hear one of the country's best writers give a talk at Duke and see a 7-foot minotaur walking down Ninth Street. --Sally Hicks

I love the trees; the vacant lots with groves of trees and streams running through them. The quiet little parks in the midst of homes and businesses. The delightful variety of architecture of the houses. The weather, the people, the politeness of almost everyone--young people, old people, even children holding the mall door open for me. The historic areas just next door, around the corner. The museums of art, science. Duke University. Duke Medical Center. People walking by and saying hello as I work in my garden. The wonderful trees. I love Durham. --Virginia Wilcox

Durham Inverse
Durham? It's the
One over triangle--undefined.
Like math, some just don't get it.
6, 28? No, it's not perfect.
It's greater than its combined divisors.
Real and imaginary components
Exist in complex problems.
Here, families and trees with deep roots
Merge with transplants coefficiently.
Differences unite.
Commute times are a plus.
(Mine is 15 to the Durham/Wake divide.)
It's not like burbs that multiply
And have to Cary the one.
Circle the Triangle's line,
But read the rest instead.
Live outside the box
They market.
Where we live
Is more than just a question of geometry. --Tom Transue

Where to begin? There are so many things I love about Durham: the food, the activities, my cute neighborhood on Clarendon Street, the parks, gardens and walking trails, and most of all the community. Apart from my wonderful neighbors, who are always ready to lend a mower, share some homemade soup, or teach me to cook Ethiopian food, there are community activities beyond my street. Take Traction, for instance. Traction, which stands for "Triangle Action," is a social network of left-leaning 20- and 30-somethings who are spicing up progressive activism by throwing fun, issue-based events that inform, inspire and connect us with other savvy Gen X & Yers. Traction is of course a way to have fun, to meet people, and to experience new things, but it also broadens my mind, keeps me informed on the issues of the day, and provides me with pathways of getting involved with those issues that really move me. Another bonus is that I always know that I can find others to join in when I have a project or cause I want to bring attention to, or if I just want to have some friends over to make sushi. Durham rocks, and if you don't agree, e-mail tractivist@getTraction.org to get on the Traction mailing list to find out what you're missing out on. --Celeste Richie

After spending much of my life visiting and living in a number of cities, there is no question that Durham is the place to put down roots. There is one main reason: the people. For over 25 years, I have found easy opportunities to meet remarkable people and make dear, new friends in every single one of those 25 years. Nowhere on the planet do I believe exists a community like this. The great abundance of loving people, who care about their city, their schools, their neighborhoods and each other is simply extraordinary. --Karen Stark

When I drive home from a day in Chapel Hill or Raleigh, coming down the Durham Freeway and seeing the Lucky Strike tower, I am frankly surprised how much affection I have for this city. Having bumped around all over the world as an Army brat and then as an adult, I landed in the Triangle in 1988. I lived in Cary for seven years, Raleigh for three. But now, despite the warnings of well-meaning friends and the grim media images, I have discovered the deep and unexpected pleasure of calling Durham my home these past eight years.
I have often wondered what, exactly, makes Durham so different than the dozens of other towns and cities where I've lived. Yes, there are many attractive destinations and goings-on we could all name, but really--every city of any size offers unique museums, shops, festivals and parks.
What I love most about Durham is how it seems to offer a unique, simple message to any and all: Welcome Home. Whoever you are--whatever your color, lifestyle, sexual preference, spiritual practice, economic class, attitude, education. There is a place for nearly everyone in this city, and an easy acceptance of one another that I've rarely seen anywhere else outside of large "melting pot" cities like San Francisco and New York.
The only folks I would say should avoid Durham are the snooty, Hummer-driving, chi-chi gated community types who actually don't want to be neighbors with everybody. If you don't like living next door to witches or Hindus, people with black or brown faces, kids with spiky purple hair, or GLBT folks who are firmly out of the closet, this is definitely not the place for you. Because Durham is for the rest of us.
Being the underdog of the Triangle, Durham seems to try a little harder, and we care for one another a little more. In fact, what I've found is that Durham is a diamond in the rough, and as such, is the true jewel of the Triangle. But only for those whose hearts and eyes are open. --Beth Livingston

I feel enriched by the racial integration of many aspects of Durham life, especially in downtown Durham, where I work, play and worship. For example, downtown business owners include white, black and Hispanic folks; St. Philip's Episcopal Church (on Main Street, near the County Courthouse) is a racially diverse congregation; and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (held recently in several downtown venues) was made possible by a large heterogeneous group of volunteers. This racial diversity contributes to making downtown Durham an exciting place to be! --Margaret F. McCann

Durham has a wonderful Child Care Center! There is a Primrose School at Hope Valley Farms. It is a wonderful place. There are people who walk around this area. They walk with their children and with their dogs. They even walk their children to school. How cool is that? There isn't a big problem with safety. There are always police cars in the area. Everyone in the area seems to take pride in this area. They have a wonderful school system, and beautiful parks throughout the area. There are lots of flowers that have been planted. There are actually people who aren't afraid to let their children go to the parks. They go along with them and it is just beautiful. So this is what I love about Durham. There is lots of diversity and loads of happiness through out the area. --Lori Fisher

I love Durham because I'm a member of a group of friends that includes many Durhamites. We are women and men of all ages, black and white, Democrat and Republican, many kinds of religious beliefs, and all walks of life. Each summer, Durham is the destination for those of us who live elsewhere, and we make the best of your great city. From baseball games to gardens, from exotic food to barbecue, from art museums to sports bars, from bluegrass music to fun with kids--we do it all, and we love it all. We'll all be back this summer! --TJ Jones

I love being able to get to: the country's biggest film festival, a fancy neighborhood restaurant, a not-fancy neighborhood restaurant, a neighborhood bar, miles of running trails, one place I work, the other place I work, three coffee shops, a pizza place, a great grocery store, a good movie rental joint, two places to get hand-dipped ice cream, and a park with a playground, all within 10 minutes on a bike. When I get really hot in the summer I can drive 10 minutes to a stream to swim in. That's what I love. --Edwin Williamson

Real City. Real people. Real problems. Welcome to Durham, one of the most progressive, eclectic and PhD-infested cities in the country. I have called this place home for all 17 years of my life and admit to its faults, yet I know that the potential of the Bull City is only beginning to shine. When I think of my city, I think of diversity, history, open-mindedness and pride. There's no hiding from reality here. --Nathaniel Baker

Durham is funky, diverse and unique. Although it has seen better days, its best days are yet to come. Durham has a rich history, an interesting presence and an incredible future. People here may not always get along, but we are willing to give people a chance to speak out. Durham is a place that grew out of (and still thrives on) entrepreneurial drive, creativity and community involvement. In a world of strip malls and mass-produced neighborhoods, it is inspiring to live in a place that has both a heart and a soul. A place worth trying to improve! --Michael Lemanski

I have lived in Durham for 21 years, and the city continues to change itself, which is why I love Durham. Yes, I have lived in other locations, but Durham is special. Durham has the flavor of many peoples, beliefs and exciting life moments. Durham has grown from simple daily routines to complex international issues for its citizens. Durham should be proud of its heritage, mission and diversity. The entire world community has been a better place because Durham has taken challenges and made them opportunities to be the best city to live, play and learn for everyone. --Brenda Pollard

What I love most about Durham is its diversity. Sitting on my steps some days I can hear Latino music playing in the background, while smelling soul food coming from next door. I see an elderly Pakistani woman walking down the street and admiring the gardens in the neighborhood. I see small kids of all colors running up and down the street and in my yard, laughing and playing basketball. I see gay and lesbian couples walking their dogs and racially mixed heterosexual couples enjoying the same outing. I find these old neighborhoods in Durham fascinating by how they are transitioning from the old stereotypical American homes and neighborhoods to more diverse homes and neighborhoods that outwardly show different cultures. To me Durham is a great example of what America truly is.... --Donald Bradsher

(Sung vaguely to the tune of "My Favorite Things")
biking down American Tobacco Trail and popsicles at Locopops,
browsing at the Regulator and espressos at Bean Traders,
southwest veggie grits and oreo milkshakes at Elmo's,
these are a few of my favorite things.
ruby red strawberries and green garlic and cheese and more at Farmers' Market,
petting dogs on 9th street and saying hello to their humans,
cozy nooks at Pop's and quesadillas and sangrias at Blue Corn Cafe,
these are a few of my favorite things ... about Durham. --Eunice Chang

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