America in 2020 is a grim sight, and last night’s presidential debate didn’t instill much hope for its future, but half a lifetime ago, when I visited it at the end of my 1992 travels with my parents, it all seemed so sunny, confident, and democratic—even though its first Democratic president in over a decade was a few months away from winning.
Here’s a gallery of that trip, starting in Montreal—my first time in Canada—before moving south through Vermont and New Hampshire to Boston, down to Washington D.C., back up to New York, and then south to Atlanta. From Atlanta I flew west to LA and read novels in the airport for ten hours before my long-haul flight home across the Pacific, while my folks went to Denver for a few days before following me.
My 35mm photos caught glimpses of the experience, but miss so much: the North American growl of Metro announcements in Quebecois French; the campus buzz of early ’90s McGill, Dartmouth and Harvard; the racks of CDs in wasteful longboxes in Tower Records; the Monets and Picassos in the galleries of Boston, Washington and New York; the sight of the newsroom on a tour of CNN in Atlanta; sampling Fantas of the world in the tasting room of the World of Coca-Cola; riding up the elevators of the World Trade Center. By the time I returned to New York in 2005, it was a different place.