MSN had a headline this morning announcing "America's 10 Most Miserable Cities." I linked to the slide show. Atlanta didn't make the list. I'm not sure what the criteria were, but Cleveland's number one. I've been to Cleveland a couple times -- I didn't think it was that bad.
If I were to think about U.S. cities in terms of the impressions they made on me the first time I saw them and do a list of "places I hope I never see again," it would include, in no particular ranking and with a lot of variation in size, New Orleans (seen long before Katrina hit); Norfolk, Virginia; Port Arthur, Texas; Kenosha, Wisconsin; Houston, Texas; Marshall, Minnesota; Las Vegas, Nevada; Tacoma, Washington; Gary, Indiana; and Phoenix, Arizona. New Orleans was just seedy and sad, Norfolk is a congested mess, Port Arthur looks like the setting for Dawn of the Dead, the last time I saw Kenosha it also qualified as seedy and sad, Houston is ugly, Marshall . . . well, it's hard to explain the antipathy I felt for Marshall, but having spent a couple days there, I don't want to go back. Las Vegas shouldn't exist for multiple reasons (the way it wastes water being one of them), Tacoma's depressing, Gary is worse, and Phoenix is too many people in a place where they shouldn't be.