If you haven’t noticed by now, Realcity has never been just a hobby. For the past three years, it’s been the driving force of my days. I’ve put more into this than anything else — school included — and experienced more than any office gig could ever give me. Realcity, in all its various incarnations, has taught me how to travel confidently through not only city life, but life in general. From our start as a New York-based blog three years ago today to our final installment as a multi-city publication, I’ve learned something new every step of the way and will always be better for it.
Since that first day, we’ve published more than 800 articles from cities all over the country — and occasionally the world — the scope of which no description could do justice. While Realcity has never been popular by any stretch of the imagination, its words have reached more people than I ever thought it could. Our work has been seen over 200,000 times by people from every inhabited continent in dozens of languages. Most major sites do that kind of traffic within a matter of hours — if not less — but for us, every single pageview was a proud achievement. We got our ideas out to people beyond our own realities and that’s all we ever wanted to do.
Along the way, we’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of writers, learning about their lives and in some cases even meeting them in their own cities. The connections we’ve made have been truly heartwarming and only reaffirmed my faith in Realcity’s mission that we all take part in the urban experiment for the same reasons, just in different ways. Everyone from this little community who brought enthusiasm to what is often a tough editing process for no pay will always have my deepest gratitude. The friends who poured so much energy into that first year deserve an even deeper level of appreciation. I couldn’t have done it without the hard work and talent of former editors Marissa Graziadio, Jeff Swoboda, Jeff Amaral and Justin Levine. These people took my initial idea and helped make it into so much more. Without Ron Williams we wouldn’t have a logo — let alone a functioning website — and I’ll always appreciate his early coding guidance. As time went on, and the site evolved into something bigger than I’d ever imagined, it was Katie’s tireless efforts, great ideas and moral support that kept us going. To this day, I’m still in awe of how lucky I am to have such an amazing creative partner, wife and friend.
While Realcity may be over, its legacy will live on. In Maine, my sister Hannah has a gallery of the wonderful cover paintings she did for us hanging in her attic. Stickers of Ron’s iconic logo will be plastered in cities across North America for years to come. The ones in our neighborhood have survived two hurricanes so far. The Crosswalk Man heads that I made out of globes and spray painted on the roof will hold a special place in our closet. Our site will continue popping up in Google searches for the most random of reasons — this June we saw a particularly surprising spike in the search term “naked girls reading” from Turkey. Most importantly, though, I know that at least a few more people will look up from their daily routines and ask how they fit into the big picture as a result of crossing our path.
Though we’ll no longer have Realcity to fill our time, I can assure you that we’ll never stop thinking about what it’s taught us. Whether it’s the demographics of the latest party we’re working, the machinations of local politics or the inner life of our cab drivers, there will always be something new to consider. Soon enough, we’ll be back in one form or another to share these thoughts and more.
Until then, you can find me poring over sanitation garage proposals, stacking dirty plates behind the scenes at catering gigs, exploring new corners of the city with Katie and loving every minute of my days spent in the chaos of city life.