Rip van Winkle moment

There’s a story in the NY Times this weekend about the rise and fall of a California cul-de-sac, a victim of the economy. It’s an interesting read but what jumped out at me was the following:

But as always in California, boom times came again. During the 1990s, Moreno Valley became one of the fastest-growing cities in America, and it now has 190,000 residents.

I have never even heard of this place, and it’s about 50,000 people bigger than Syracuse. It’s just another one of those Rip van Winkle moments where you get a comprehension of how full the West has become while you were sleeping. In decades past, the West was a place where nearly everyone had a past residence or ties (within a few generations) to the East. But now we have entire generations of Americans who live in the West who know nothing else, their parents know nothing else, they don’t know anything besides low-density suburban development and “cities” that have no center.

We’re not all living in the same America.