The longer I work in Manchester, the more I come to realize it’s my second home. Although I’m not in the city as often as I was during my Union Leader days, I have more professional connections in the Queen City than I do in my hometown. I’ve gotten to know the place from a unique perspective — as one who works but has never lived there — which inspired me to do a quick post about it.
There’s plenty to complain about when it comes to Manchester, like traffic. Seriously, how is it that traffic is so bad here. Perhaps the 1 million lights? Or the worst drivers north of Boston? Crime is another factor, which is relatively low compared to some other cities the size of Manchester, but people in New Hampshire are outraged by a dog fouling epidemic. Hearing about a rash of break-ins or a drug ring bust is cause for panic.
Manchester is one of those funny places that has a small town feel, but big city problems. I think the big city aspects add more to Manchester than diminish, but I hold things like culture, entertainment opportunities and diversity in high regard. Here’s a sample of the Stay Work Play piece I wrote this week:
5 Reasons to Love Manchester
Manchester has many personas, depending on who you are and where you live. For some it’s where you see Van Halen play on its next tour. For others it’s a place to go bar hopping, and unfortunately for others, they see Manchester as a city where your car might get broken into. I’ve worked in Manchester off and on for a few years now and have found that the city has more to offer than its “Manchvegas” nickname lets on.
1. Manchester is multicultural
For one of the least diverse states in the country, New Hampshire’s Queen City is very diverse. Dozens of languages are spoken by students in Manchester’s public schools and more than 20 percent of the students are non-white. Manchester today is home to Sudanese, Bhutanese and Iraqis. Having different cultures represented in the city means there are stores and restaurants that cater to these cultures. The West Side has the Ali Baba Wholefoods Festival & Treasures, which serves wine, groceries and prepared food like falafel, shawarma and channa masala. Near Gill Stadium is its sister store the Spice Center, a market offering foods mainly from the Middle East and southeast Asia. There are many more small markets throughout the city that have ethnic food sections catering to the neighborhood. Manchester also has an embarrassing amount of good Mexican restaurants and a highly rated Nepali restaurant, Café Momo.
2. Manchester has the Merrimack River
During the Industrial Revolution, Manchester’s riverfront property was taken over by mills and warehouses. Now it has a baseball park, walking trails, and luxury condominiums. The mills are still there, but inside are tech firms, restaurants and the UNH Manchester campus. If you want to get up close to the river, head to Arms Park. Parking is ample and you can walk along the Merrimack just feet from the rushing water below.