Anyone who has lived in Albuquerque, and sworn a curse upon the city and all its planners, visitors and inhabitants while broiling in traffic, and then eaten chile rellenos at sunset while watching the Sandia Mountains turn pink, knows that love and hate, beauty and grit, stand shoulder to shoulder in this desert city.
resident V.B. Price knows this, and writes in Albuquerque:
A City at the End of the World that the city is an
“endangered place.” Not simply because half a million
people are overwhelming an arid valley, but also because of an
“absence of love.” Always wanting to be something
bigger, something better, something more modern, Albuquerque
hasn’t embraced — or capitalized on — its Spanish
and American Indian heritage like Santa Fe, its neighbor to the
north. “We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth,
in the midst of cultures and traditions as fascinating as any in
the world,” he writes. “I’m as puzzled by our
willingness to dilute our identity as a New Mexican city as I am by
anything ... we squander our landscape, our open spaces, our water
and folks slap themselves on the back for having a good year in
Reminding readers of the city’s
water wars, dirty politics and lost chances, Price faces a reality
most of Albuquerque’s residents and politicians deny:
“The overall picture of the last ten years tells a sad story
of lost promise, lost opportunity, and failed leadership that
amounts to a metro-area that’s grown in a state of anarchy
— undisciplined, imprudent, unrestrained.” Despite
that, Price tries to end on a positive note: “I still
believe,” he writes, “it’s better to court the
energy of naive optimism than settle into the inertia of cynical
Albuquerque: A City at the End of the
by V.B. Price, illustrated with
photographs by Kirk Gittings.
199 pages, paperback:
University of New Mexico, 2003.
City at the end of its rope
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