The Biggest Little City in the World
neon lights and slot machines.
Locals know better.
Nearby the Truckee,
the mountains and four seasons
wait for your visit.
Listen to birdsong,
drink in the art scene,
ignore what you’ve heard.
The prompt at dVerse has led me to write of my current home–Reno, Nevada–nicknamed The Biggest Little City in the World.
I find myself wanting to defend her–her reputation so besmirched by a not-so-glorious past and recently so maligned by a crass television series–Reno 911 (which I’ve heard wasn’t even filmed here.)
Many immediately conjure up Reno’s history as the divorce capital of the world, a cheap gambling mecca and plentiful booze when they think of my city. Walk a block or two to the Truckee or drive a few miles to the Sierra Nevada and you will see that Reno, unlike Vegas, is situated in a high altitude, right in the middle of abundant natural beauty that offers many forms of outdoor activity.
A block or two to the west, or south of the center of town you will discover the arts–Nevada’s only nationally accredited Art Museum, the Reno Philharmonic, the Opera and Ballet, a Chamber Orchestra and small theaters. The UNR campus sprawls to the north of town, adding its venues to the art scene. The month of July hosts Reno is ARTown–celebrating art and artists of every ilk.
Many now-defunct casinos have been turned into elegant high-rise casinos. restaurants represent a worldwide selection of tastes. Stop by Whispering Vine to sample a variety of vintages, then head over to Wildflower Village where an old weekly rental motel has been transformed into a home and studios for artists. Stay for a while and take in a poetry reading.
It’s true–there are enclaves of poverty and decadence. Alcoholism fires crime and domestic abuse. Homelessness, misery and sadness abound. But, is this any different from New York, Paris or Los Angeles, the city of my birth? The City of Angeles? Yeah, right.