So there’s this list which ranks the most miserable cities in the U.S.  I’ve checked off those in the top 10 which I’ve actually seen / driven through / stayed in (don’t ask):

No question but that Gary deserves its spot.  Under “Non-Third World Shitholes” in the dictionary will be its picture:

Detroit we all know about, ditto Newark, Flint and Camden, which all resemble the above pic in one way or another.  Huntington Park should be driven around  let alone through, and I don’t know anything about Warren (although its location near Akron and Youngstown probably gives us a clue).  Pine Bluff is actually little different from most Southern rural shitholes, except that its inhabitants seem to be more violent than most, for reasons which escape me.

I’m a little puzzled by Passaic’s position, though.  I lived just a couple miles away from it, in Lincoln Park, and other than the fact that it gets flooded out every other year or so by its namesake river — perhaps the reason for its high misery ranking, come to think of it — it’s little different from most of its Noo Joizee neighbors e.g. Paterson (a true shithole) and Verona (only a little less shitty), neither of which made the top 10.

Feel free to add your miserable candidates in Comments.


  1. I lived in the town next to Passaic (Clifton) 20ish years ago, and while it was by no means NICE, it wasn’t nearly as shit-holey (definitely a word) as Patterson, Newark, etc. Camden, of course, could best be improved by another Tunguska Event. I’d call that place a sewer, but that’s in insult to ACTUAL sewers which serve an actual useful purpose.

    Then there are places which are overall pretty nice, but have areas you just don’t go to. I grew up in Staten Island, NYC, and for the most part it was pretty decent (back then, it’s gotten much more populous since I moved away), but there were definitely no-go areas (mostly around various public housing projects, particularly in the Mariner’s Harbor, Stapleton and West Brighton areas). I grew up in the Mariner’s Harbor area, my neighbor hood was an old, mostly Italian neighborhood where half the people there were related by blood or marriage, and those folks took no shit from nobody. Some people (to use the term loosely) moved from the nearby projects to an apartment across the street from me. One of their kids robbed the neighbors two houses down from me (old couple, his brother lived up the street and her sister lived around the corner, and they were home at the time, in bed listening to their stuff being stolen). The dumb shit showed the jewelry he’d stolen to someone else who recognized it as an item that belonged to his relative, and the entire neighborhood was outside that evening with baseball bats. The kid’s mother called the cops and said “My son robbed the neighbor, please come arrest him before the neighbors kill him.”

    1. “Please come arrest him before the neighbors kill him”

      My mother’s family is from Newark. Old Polish salts, the lot of them. Grandpa moved the family out of Newark when the neighborhoods we’re getting diversified.

      My great grandmother used to walk to her job at the local grocery store, day in, day out. One particular payday, she got mugged by Diversity, for her paycheck. The N broke her fingers, her jaw, and gave her a black eye so bad she went partially blind in her left eye.

      Well. This particular N was known for this kind of petty crime. No one knows what really happened, or no one told or cared, but her sons and two of her grandsons got together shortly after this happened, and nobody ever saw that guy again.

      It’s a family legend that they got him with street justice, and I believe it, knowing my uncles. Great grandpa used to run liquor for the local gangsters when he was young. Guys like that learn a thing or two and know how to make it happen quietly.

      Newark was so beautiful, parts of it still are, but it’s been overrun by Diversity, Inc. it’s only a matter of time before it goes to hell.

      I taught high school in Paterson. I try not to think about that traumatic year.

  2. Happy(ish) West Caldwell resident representing here. Passaic ain’t great but not even close to the others, let alone at #4 on the list. Perhaps the list compiler was indeed thinking of Paterson, and not Passaic, which would indeed be deserving of the #4 position. I’d also add in Irvington, as well as East & South Orange to that list, although I guess technically they could just considered immediate neighbours of Noork. Woodland Park (aka West Paterson) would also rank far above Passaic on the shithole scale.

    Although I do wish I lived in the United States, for NJ, I will say western Essex County is pleasant enough. I have no issues with Verona (the next town over), and when I pass through Lincoln Park it doesn’t give me the heebie-jeebies either. That said, the high taxes and corrupt gun grabbing asshats (redundancy alert) make NJ a challenge to begin with. But our area is safer than most, and DID produce a SCOTUS judge (Alito) and a President (Grover Cleveland).

    1. I was thinking the same. Passaic is pretty nice in comparison to Paterson. I can’t believe Camden wasn’t higher up on the list.

      I’ve driven to Philadelphia to cross the bridge back into NJ just to avoid having to drive through Camden.

    1. Forty to fifty years ago, Baltimore was indeed ”Charm City” – food was good, living was inexpensive, architectural jewels were plentiful, lots of good parks to enjoy, and most of the public schools were excellent. Then the black Dems took over in the 70’s and it’s regressed to stone age African intelligence and modern African corruption.
      Whole city blocks where my ancestors built houses and lived, and where I later lived and played, are rubble strewn vacant lots. The school system is nothing more than a baby sitting and food service for the multitude of animals the welfare mothers squirt out, with something like only 15-17% of the inmates able to pass a math or English competency test.
      I could go on, but suffice to say, the animals are running that zoo.

      1. I was born here. Lived in Hamden until ’65, then moved out near Yale Heights. Left in ’74 and never looked back. Been back a couple of times to visit, but that’s been it.

        Theo McKeldin must be spinning in his grave.

  3. I can vouch for Port Arthur, TX sucking. Went there for work a couple years ago. It was probably a struggling gritty port town before the hurricane and is a much worse dump after it. I could definitely never go there again and be just fine.

    1. I grew up in Port Arthur. Despite the city council having a long history of shooting the city in the foot, the place wasn’t bad. But even before Hurricane Rita in 2005 and the city going majority black, by the 90s you stayed away from Gulfway Drive area. It used to be a place with a lot of business and the comic/gaming shop where I spent so much money at in my teens and 20s. But by the late 90s, if there was a shooting or armed robbery in the paper, it happened on or near Gulfway Drive and the criminals were black.

      In 2005, property taxes on my half acre and house (worth about 60,000 depending on how long you wanted to spend selling it) ran about 600 a year. By late 2007, when I moved to Arkansas, it was over 1600 a year. I sold the house to my step-dad since it was right across the street and all. By 2012 or so, the property taxes on the house was over 2500 a year.

      Pop was a life long Democrat campaigner. The guy who was always sitting in a truck outside the polling place during the election talking to people and so forth. He never ran for anything himself, but he’s the man who got a lot of others elected. There was nobody in office in Jefferson county who didn’t know his name. Even after he retired, if you were a Democrat and wanted to win an election in Jefferson County, you talked to him and he’d tell who you you had to gain the support of to win.

      Pop did draw the line at Obama, he wouldn’t vote for him.

      He told back in 2012, only a couple of years before he passed, that the reason the taxes had gone up so much, was because the city council and city were now controlled by the blacks, and blacks weren’t paying their taxes any more, only the whites were paying… when they weren’t moving. In Port Arthur, the city will say nothing about unpaid taxes until at least 10 years have passed.

      Pop also told me once, years before, that the reason he and his friends cheated so much on elections was because if they didn’t cheat more than the blacks, the blacks would take the whole county and run it into the ground. Beaumont had a black mayor years back, first black things, times have changed and all that. People thought it was a good thing… right up until he left office in handcuff and was convicted of 15 counts of bribery and soliciting bribes. I have never heard of a town that got a black mayor and didn’t go downhill.

      I’ve known things were bad there for years, but even after my best friend told me of his problems in Port Arthur recently, it took that story to make it clear how bad it is. My mother still lives there.

      My best friend lives in Houston. He also has a mother, age 78. She fleeced his Dad when he was a boy and went on to fleece 4-5 more husbands after that, and had a good job as a nurse too. But at 78 all she has is an old car and 1000 a month from Social Security. All that money, she just pissed it away, at casino my friend suspects.

      Her latest husband is dying of cancer and kicked her out to make sure his daughter will get everything. My friend asked her to come live at his house, she declined (which I think is a good thing for him). Instead she has moved into the old house in Port Arthur. His father’s house that he gave to hon. They both live in Houston now. That place was built in the 20s, and is a falling down wreck that should be condemned, not repaired. But it is his mother, lousy mother that she is, so he’s spending thousands trying to fix it up. Such as lots of electrical work and lots of plumbing.

      Well, she’s been in the house, in the summer, for a going on a couple of months now. It took Entergy over a month to get the lights back on. While going through this with Entergy, they told him on the phone that the real problem was bringing in crews from Cleveland to to the work, because the Entergy people in Port Arthur won’t do their jobs.

      For getting the city to turn on the water, it’s into the 2nd month now. They haven’t done it yet. That first day he went to the water dept. He was one of over a dozen people there to get their water turned on… all of them were told it could not be done that week and might take over a month. (To show up and turn a valve.). He’s been there multiple times now and they haven’t showed up like they said they would.

      His mother has been there, without lights or water, over a month and without water for two months… IN SUMMER. She’s been crapping in trash bags and God knows what she’s been doing for a bath. And the City of Port Arthur, whose service departments are now mostly blacks… has told him they don’t consider this situation an emergency, or any kind of a priority.

      My own mother lives a couple of miles from there and thank God she’s not broke and the house is in good shape. But she’s in her 80s and on dialysis. And our formerly all white neighborhood now sees young black men just walking around daily. She can’t sell that house for even half of what it should be worth. And the only people who would buy it, if anyone would buy a house in Port Arthur, are going to be blacks or illegals and we’ve known the neighbors for many years. Pop bought my house to make sure he could control what sort of people would live there (he found a good family to rent to, who then bought it from him) and Mom won’t do that to the neighbors either. Unless I win the lottery or something, she’s stuck there.

      I grew up in that house. Even after getting a real job and my own mortgage, I was still right there on our little dead end street so I could wander over any time I smelled jambalaya on the stove. But I’ll never move back there.

  4. I’ve driven past Gary, IN many times, and I wouldn’t live or work there. Flint is Flint, and the only way to improve it is by finding the biggest, baddest bulldozer in the U.S. and start an urban renewal project that runs 24/7/365 and stops when you can no longer find one brick on top of another. Don’t forget to interdict the river.

    In Detroit it depends entirely on where you live and work. I worked and lived in Southfield, and it wasn’t bad. Parts of Detroit are uninhabited except for people like The Coon Man, and the off-the-grid inhabitants living in the old Packard Plant.

  5. I’m not so worldly, or even stately for that matter, that I can judge other places. But as for appearances from the air, well… I flew into Miami Florida once. Looking down on the approach to landing, Oh My God! It’s Beautiful! Bright sunshine, green grass around terra-cotta tile roofs, blue water in the canal behind the house. Impressive!

    On the return to Spokane Washington, you look down to see dead cars up on cement blocks, stacks of rusty 55 gallon drums, tumbleweeds stuck in a line of barbed wire, and dusty sagebrush. Sigh. There’s no place like home…

  6. Passaic NJ has an interesting history. I lived there from 1954 to 1968. My parents came from the Scranton PA area and moved to Jersey when I was about two years old because there wasn’t a lot of work in northeastern PA in those days. I was told that the reason my folks picked Passaic was because of its excellent school system.

    During my school years the population of Passaic was about 30-40% Jewish – mostly eastern European and Russian. The high percentage of Eastern European – mostly Polish and Hungarian – Jews made education important to the people of Passaic and they supported the school system. Our goal was to go to college and get a good job in one of the “respected” professions like medicine or law.

    The parents of the kids I went to school with all pushed upward mobility. They observed the traditions of their religion and national customs but emphasized that they were Americans first.

    I left Jersey in 1980 and these days we get back to the People’s Republic for weddings, funerals and the occasional attack of acute nostalgia. I see that the demographic has changed dramatically and there just doesn’t seem to be that same support for the community and interest in making a better life for the next generation. I’ve seen small business signs in Passaic in Hebrew, Polish, Italian, Spanish and even English and all of those folks welcomed my trade (and my money). These days the signs are in Arabic and too many of the folks seem to want to turn New Jersey into Kabul or Mogadishu, rather than celebrate their escape from third world pestilence.

    Add all of that to a notoriously corrupt local government, virtual one party rule, outrageous property costs, tax rates that would embarrass a European socialist, population density that drives people crazy just due to overcrowding, and the infamous Jersey traffic circles and this old man will be glad to place Passaic New Jersey – and indeed the whole state – on the shite hole list.

  7. Duuno but about any small rural town anymore looks like a third world. Thanks to Chicago for emptying the projects. Gave them all bus tickets and some money and they went west.

  8. Huntington Park CA at mid-century was a white working class city with an easy commute to the industrial area outside of Downtown L.A. since the Red Cars (Pacific-Electric Railway) went there, and turned around. There were even some nice upper-middle class neighborhoods. Now, it’s just another Latino Barrio, surrounded by other Latino Barrio’s, all with corrupt City Hall’s.

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