(Washington, DC) I live in a mid-sized city in the middle of the Rust Belt, and the many historic sites in the District of Columbia provide a Midwestern rube such as I with plenty to see.
I think the phenomena in DC, however, that most strikes me is that of near-perpetual construction projects. The ubiquitous sight of construction cranes and new buildings rising, skeleton-like, toward the sky is somewhat jarring to a person who lives in a city where any new construction - even a big box retailer like Costco - is a major news story.
In a city like Toledo, one is more likely to see demolition projects, as vacancies eventually give way to abandonment and blight.
I sat in traffic on I-95 yesterday heading toward southern Virginia, creeping past mile after mile of new development. I suspect that any three square miles of area in and around Washington contains more new construction than the entirety of Northwest Ohio.
I say this not to belittle those living in struggling industrial cities, but to remind people that life can be better. I think that people in a city such as Toledo can become jaded and disheartened by years of poor economic conditions, and that a visit to a growing metropolis such as Washington, DC can be a wakeup call.