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Los Angeles

California, United States of America

Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States, and with a population of 3.8 million is the largest city in the state of California and the Western United States. Additionally the city spans over 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km) in Southern California and is anchored to the world's 13th largest metropolitan area with 17.7 million people spread out over much of coastal Southern California.

  • Country

    United States of America                          

  • The Place

    Los Angeles                                       

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  • Los Angeles seemed especially preoccupied with comparisons of itself to New York. The 9/11 attacks and the admirable response of New York firefighters, policemen, emergency medical technicians, public officials, and ordinary citizens underscored the love and pride held by New Yorkers for their city. Did the people of Los Angeles love, and take pride in, their city to a comparable degree? Would they behave as well in the face of a similar attack? Openly discussed on talk show radio or indirectly approached by politicians and newspaper columnists, such questions possessed increased significance in that the image of Los Angeles in some form of catastrophic collapse—whether by earthquake, fire, volcano, or extraterrestrial attack—had been a fixed point of imaginative identity since early in the last century. Here was a city, moreover, in the midst of a secessionist movement that at the very moment of the 9/11 attacks was seriously considering making Los Angeles the first great world city voluntarily to disestablish itself. Here also was a city that had pulled the plug on its developing subway and light rail system, that remained ambivalent about expanding its international airport, and that in the aftermath of 9/11 had brought all airport plans to a halt, with a near-audible sigh of relief on the part of Mayor James Hahn, a suburbanite from San Pedro, who had opposed LAX expansion from the beginning. Whatever New York City was—gritty, uncomfortable, challenging—it was not suburban. It was a city: one of the greatest cities in human history, and it was behaving that way in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack. Los Angeles understood and applauded this response and the highly developed urbanism it represented. But there was also an element of envy in this admiration; for Los Angeles, beset by the rising power of the secessionists, was wondering whether or not it even was a city in the first place.

    Kevin StarrCoast of Dreams

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