Adam Nagourney, in writing about Des Moines and how it is no longer a stereotypical Midwestern town, reveals why Midwesterners think New Yorkers are superficial idiots. His travel writing is as bad as his political writing.
But the other night in Des Moines, I had dinner with a colleague and the Iowa state director of Hillary Clintonâ€™s presidential campaign at a vibrant restaurant, Lucca, in the heart of a gentrified neighborhood called the East Village. The restaurant had more panache and better food than many places Iâ€™ve eaten in Washington, D.C. The East Village streets, spread out under the State Capitol, were aglow with lights â€” lavender, icy blue and, of course, red and green â€” strung out for Christmas. They were bustling with boutiques, bookstores, coffee shops, culinary stores and Smash, an edgy T-shirt shop where the proprietors were listening to Band of Horses while making slightly off-color T-shirts celebrating the Iowa caucuses.
Iâ€™m not sure I would go so far as to say that Des Moines has become a vacation destination. But it has most certainly become cool. More than that, if you have any desire to witness presidential candidates in the most close-up and intimate of settings, there is arguably no place better to go than Des Moines. If the city itself was once a reason not to come, it has now in fact become an added draw.
Des Moines is now officially a place I don’t care to go to. â€œThis whole thing in the East Village, which didnâ€™t exist 10 years ago: that area, it was a classic grimy neighborhood, with a couple of lofts and gay bars. And now itâ€™s wonderful and funky,â€ says David Yepsen. Wrong. It was funky 10 years ago. Now it’s bobo. I certainly don’t begrudge Des Moines economic development, but Nagourney’s enthusiasm only addresses one limited segment of an urban economy, that of an urban theme park.