January 23rd, 2010 by Marianne McCann
Nearly two years ago, Second Life announced a new area. A bit of a throwback to the days of Nova Albion, this would be a city area composed of several regions, planned to be in an “American urban experience” theme, focusing on Art Deco stylings and a “Chicago in 1950” feel. I immediately wanted a part of this place. Since then, I have remained a part of the area, helping in some small way to keep the area growing as best as I can with the members of the Bay City Alliance.
To be honest, I’ve put in a lot of time in Bay City. It’s not like I haven’t stepped back a time or two for various reasons, and re-accessed why I’m there — but in the end, I always come back to it. So… why?
First off, I have to look at the three things that appealed to me in the first place:
1. I’m a sucker for mid century design, especially Deco and Streamline. This could mean being a part of a virtual recreation of these times and their structures, much as Caledon is a “steampunk” version of Victorian England.
2. I run a toy store that has a higher than average focus on older “retro” toys that would appeal to those reliving a childhood that happened in the same — or similar — times as my own.
3. I envied the sense of community that existed in Nova Albion, and hoped to see a similar, vibrant community that I could be a part of.
Note on that last one: I did not feel I could be a part of the Nova Albion community given the high cost of land there. Little did I know how much Bay City would be!
These reasons are still a part of it, but it’s more complex now than it was then.
For one, I’ve become involved in the mainland as a whole, looking at some of the “historical” parts of the grid, helping to see them preserved (when they can be) or modernized, and feeling a kinship to the grid.
My avatar may have grown up on the other side of the Sansaran continent, but I first rezzed into the world in Ahern. Nowadays, my home location is in Shermerville, north of Nova Albion, and a six or so region trip from my Bay City store. I feel a odd sort of “kinship” to this chunk of virtual land. It is “home.” Bay City is, as some might put it, my “stomping grounds.”
The city has not been without its challenges, but it does have its Art Deco flair. It may well be the most consistent, on theme part of the mainland, which is in many ways a miracle. It’s far from being a mid-century modern paradise, but compared to a lot of the mainland, you’ll find a consistency beyond the rest of the grid.
And then there is the community. In Bay City – Imaginario — the region I own land within — I know all my neighbors. We chat when we’re in the region together, and I often find myself in IMs with others from the city. We all meet regularly to discuss “city business” with ourselves and with Blondin Linden. We all — particularly lately — do a good job of acting as a group, and coming up with plans that will benefit us all. I think that too is a bit of a rarity.
It’s not a perfect place. Land is still frightfully expensive (tip: always ask a seller and try to bargain if you can). May parcels sit vacant as a result. Not every parcel is going to be a showpiece, either.
That said, it has a charm and “specialness” not found all that often. It’s worth taking another look at i you haven’t for a while.