Associate Press journalist Hal Boyle was a hero. The old school newsman died in 1974 at the age of 63, but not before he churned out 7,680 columns, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting as a war correspondent during WWII. But one of his greatest achievements, in my eyes, were his prescient articles reporting how terrible the suburbs are. Long before there was internet snark, there was Hal Boyle, circa 1967:
God made the country…man made the town…but no one, not even the devil, seems willing to accept responsibility for the suburbs.
Like Topsy, they seem to have “just growed.”
And they are still growing like mushrooms — or toadstools. America is well on its way to creating one of the world’s first suburban civilizations.
Some of my best friends live in suburbs, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. Everytime I visit them and return safely to the city I feel like kissing the first skyscraper I meet in gratitude.
And he goes on. It’s quite possibly one of the most brilliant articles of all time:
There’s also this gem about the suburbs from a few years earlier in 1964:
Hal Boyle, ladies and gentleman, the ultimate New Yorker.