1. FLINT, MI
“Flint, Michigan. Ugly, the water will kill you, and everyone’s on heroin.”
2. GALLUP, NM
“Gallup, NM. It is where humanity goes to die. Stayed overnight there in a run-down motel on a motorcycle trip and was never so happy to get out…”
3. GARY, IN
“Gary, Indiana. I was driving cross-country with my father, who is a musician. It was getting toward night and my dad was like, ‘Hey, Gary Indiana! Like the song! We HAVE to stay there tonight.’ Yeah, no. We pulled off the Interstate and were immediately in what looked like a good area to be robbed and shot. Then we got lost trying to find the Interstate again. My dad finally stopped at a gas station for directions, and I, an 18-year-old girl at the time, had a horrifying panic attack because I couldn’t decide where I was more likely to die: by leaving the safety of the car but sticking by my dad or by locking the car doors and hiding in the backseat by myself.
For the record, while I am a suburban white girl, I was raised a stone’s throw from NYC and was, at the time, driving my mom through some really bad neighborhoods 2-3x/month to go to a certain hospital for transplant follow-up. Like, gunshots a few streets over every now and again, especially if the appointments lasted towards dark. And I was fine. Maybe it was just that section of Gary, but I will never ever go there again. My dad, the most unflappable hippie you’ve ever met, was scared. This man walked right up to a schizophrenic man wielding a gun and talked him down. NOTHING shakes my father, but that place did.
4. ATLANTIC CITY, NJ
“Atlantic City. It’s like a tackier version of Las Vegas with added desolation behind the boardwalk.”