My City

February 8, 2014 — Leave a comment

short descriptive essay for my required freshman english course

My city

Port of Spain can’t be compared in size to cities like New York or London. It is the capital city of a small twin island republic nestled at the bottom of the Caribbean chain. Located on the leeward side of the island, it is a seaboard city, a safe harbor for cruise ships when hurricanes are prevalent. But Port of Spain is not your typical tourist spot.

The city itself is compressed in a four square mile area, that runs along a grid of streets named for former mayors, governors and in one case, a world class athlete. Port of Spain’s design aesthetic combines multiple centuries of architectural styles from centuries old stone churches to old Victorian houses with the detailed trellis work converted into offices to shiny glass and metal structures that reflect the ever present sunlight. To the north the city is bound by the Queen’s Park Savannah, billed as the world’s largest roundabout, a multi acre, multi-use, tree-lined, green space. To the east, the last of the city’s real residences; brick apartment blocks and wooden tenements dot the nestling hills. To the south and west are the sea and the port for which the city is named, bustling with cranes moving containers full of goods and inter-island and local ferries.

This is a practical city, there are schools on almost every street in Port of Spain and every weekday from September through June there are thousands of uniformed children from kindergarten to high school making their way to and from their places of learning. This is also the capital city and a place of power, this is where parliament meets and the nation’s highest courts are located. It is also home to the main public library, the treasury and all of the country’s daily newspapers and quite of a few of the radio and television stations.

For two days a year the city shuts down. That’s not entirely true, for two days a year, the stores and the schools and the offices are closed, but the city is anything but closed. On Carnival Monday and Tuesday the city is transformed into a sea of costumed revelers. Clad in creations as simple as mud, paint and oil to iridescent feathered raiments that appear to defy gravity. Thousands upon thousands of every ethnic description, dance in the streets, following with gleeful abandon the sounds of live or recorded music from trailers jam packed with speakers.

This is a not a perfect city, poor drainage and careless waste disposal make flooding a constant occurrence during heavy rainfall. Poor planning has more cars than available spaces; combine this with predatory towing practices and parking in the city is nightmare. Like any major city there are problems with crime and indigents. The haste to build the new and shiny has outpaced the need to preserve and maintain causing the city lose bits of character.

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