Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Tehran, LA, New York

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If there are two cities in the world that should be called “sister cities,” they are Los Angeles and Tehran. These two are so similar in their ugliness, in their freeways, in their beautiful purplish dry mountains, and in the lack of character in their faces.
Iranian immigrants intuitively have found the similarity between the two. Los Angeles viewed from the houses on the Hollywood hills, or mountains in the San Fernando Valley, is similar to Tehran seen from Shemiran, or Farahzad. Certain parts of downtown are exactly like “Joonoob Shahr.” East LA, with all the Mexican shops -with shirts hanging from the ceilings and mustaches walking- is so much like “Baab Homaayoun.” In every thing Tehran is a third world replica of Los Angeles, a replica in an uglier way.

But putting aside the ugliness, the dry mountains, and lack of character, Tehran is like New York: The grocery stores in Queens, jay walking, the presence of taxis everywhere you are, and the craziness in the air. Both cities are on the edge all the time. Both cities are like “Zire Pole Seyd Khandaan” -all the time.
There is something about “Vali-asr” square at 6p.m. that reminds me of “Times” Square. In Tehran, buildings are not as huge and tall, neither are there any big TV billboards on the buildings; but a craziness, a piercing scream is hidden behind the faces that makes these two cities both disgusting and attractive. Living in New York or Tehran makes you feel a mysterious energy which is constantly released into the air. An energy which is changing the world, in a hidden way.

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Photo: Tehran, Mirdamad St.
courtesy of Tehran 24