I Heart N.J.

Call It Smelly. Call It Sleazy. Call It the Armpit of America. To Me, It's Home.

I’m sitting in a circle during the second week of my freshman year of college, listening to everyone perform the introductions that have become comically commonplace: name, hometown, dorm. It’s routine until someone farther down the circle, some five bodies away, says he’s from New Jersey. I break into a smile, then catch his eye. I do the only thing I can think to do to commemorate this moment of commonality—I lean across two people to my right, raising my hand up in a high-five gesture. I’m surprised, then relieved, …

Suburban Eclogue

Volgar succede … (Leopardi)

Again, the streets empty this early hour,
Sunday evening, except those two
Walking their pugs before the work week starts,
There in the middle of the widened …

Larry Sultan’s Visions of Suburbia

Finding Distorted Glamour Among California's Tract Homes and Strip Malls

Photographer Larry Sultan grew up in Los Angeles’ quintessentially suburban San Fernando Valley, surrounded by tract homes and strip malls. What might appear bland to others, though, was transformed through …

Irvine, I Love You

My Hometown May Be Sterile and Boring, But It Made Me Hungry to Experience the Wider World

I am Irvine.

I grew up in Westpark, the neighborhood between Culver and Warner avenues a few miles north of where the 5 and 405 freeways meet. My first-grade classroom and …