Since I finally caved and signed up for Duke City Fix (note: wasn't against it, just wasn't sure I could maintain another online presence) I figured an appropriate way to start things would be to write a little love note to the city that has been my home for the last 19 years.

Dear 'Burque,

I remember first arriving in the city back in '91. I wouldn't call it love at first sight. More like we saw each other across the room at a few parties and you kept giving me nosebleeds and I kept thinking that you weren't nearly as cool (literally & figuratively) as the small island on Hawaii that I'd spent years 1-7. It didn't help that it never rained that summer and it was hotter than I'd ever experienced.

Over the several years following you put me through some tests, as all good relationships do. A brief respite in the 'norms (NE Heights) followed by a long stretch in the far South Valley were trying times. I will admit that the mix of drugs, gangs, and drive-bys took a little getting used to. But there were many good moments, like hot summer days when I would wander down to the ditchbanks (call them acequias if you like) and hop into the muddy water. Or climbing the massive tangle of cottonwoods that seemed to grow forever higher into the sky.

Anyway, the nosebleeds eventually went away and I skipped your fine elementary and middle schools in favor of homeschooling, so there was plenty of exploring in my free time. High school was an improvement, and while I wouldn't say that I really dug your general disregard for water conservation & corrupt politics in the early '90s, you really got your stuff together by the time 2000 rolled around (well, at least with the water part of things).

A small stretch away at college in Wisconsin was just the ticket for making me miss the usual suspects: green chile, incredible sunsets, random house shows in some weirdly appropriate Victorian mansion, etc..

When I got back a couple of years ago you'd changed a little. Things I'd noticed happening before I left really picked up steam. An increased appreciation for galleries/public art, a dedication to beautifying the Downtown and Nob Hill neighborhoods, and an influx of more, how shall we say, hip residents. Contrary to some people I found the change refreshing. Appreciating where you are and celebrating the good makes sense, and while I'm not a fan of gentrification in one sense, as a fairly long time Duke City resident I'm not really worried about this thing getting out of control. Those who really dig it will stay and those who don't won't.

I find your fierce sense of independence friggin' sweet. You can make nice and dress up but your fists aren't far behind if the occasion requires. You always adhere to the idea that we're satellites in this lonely universe, but there's no reason why we can't connect up and share data/design solutions. You don't pretend you're something you're not, and even when you mess me up at least I know where I stand.

Although that's only a small portion of the things I could say, I hope it communicates my deep and abiding passion for you. This life is full of so many false promises and missteps, but you, my dear hometown city, are not.

Sincerely yours,


Views: 3

Comment by Joseph Ridgel on July 11, 2010 at 10:38pm
Thanks for sharing this. I moved here not long after you...'93 and felt more at home here than I ever did in Los Angeles. Though I'm glad to see some of the changes you mentioned, I must admit that I also hold a deep and abiding love for the (not always) sub-surface roughness of ABQ and New Mexico in general. It ain't for eveyone, but it seems to suit me.
Comment by Joe Cardillo on July 12, 2010 at 7:58am
I would definitely agree that it fits a certain sub-set of people really well. I've known people who moved here from Portland, Chicago or other bigger cities -- and there's usually an initial love affair followed by a reaction I can only describe as "why is this place so backwards." I hate to sound trite but long time residents seem to like it that way. For me it's not so much that Albuquerque is backwards (I think that's an easy out, and the truth is much more complex), it's that the people are a very independent sort who connect up but at the end of the day do their own thing. Which I'll admit isn't always the most friendly, but it goes with the territory.
Comment by Barelas Babe on July 12, 2010 at 10:59am
For me it's not so much that Albuquerque is backwards (I think that's an easy out, and the truth is much more complex),

I really like this assessment. And "backwards' can be in the eye of the beholder, no? I've known a number of people who have moved here from bigcitylandia who chafe at some of this, but realize that there will always be tradeoffs. And there is another subset of people who move here for the "backwardsness" after a career lifetime in the big city rat race; and then there are those who make it work by living in two places - "Albuquerque and...."

Great post, Joe. Thanks for joining the DCF conversation.
Comment by Joe Cardillo on July 12, 2010 at 10:45pm
Teresa, thanks for your comment, I am glad I finally hopped on the Fix & your point is spot on -- 'Buque is sort of likeable to alot of people because it will meet you where you're at, whether that's full on or on your own terms whatever they may be.
Comment by Alicia on July 13, 2010 at 1:12pm
Beautiful. Love it.

"This life is full of so many false promises and missteps, but you, my dear hometown city, are not."

I concur.
Comment by Joe Cardillo on July 13, 2010 at 7:35pm
*blushes* aww thanks
Comment by Joe Cardillo on July 13, 2010 at 7:53pm
Oh jeez it's a lovefest ;)

Alright, now just waiting for "that guy is a total jerk" post


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