Home > Humboldt County > New York Times, meet Humboldt

New York Times, meet Humboldt

The New York Times magazine has a nicely-worded piece about Humboldt County.  It describes our “hysterical shifts in landscape” and a “huge rainbow that seemed like the meteorological equivalent of a crazy person’s laugh.”

Locals and visitors alike might get a chuckle out of this passage:

My unfussy room [at the Arcata Hotel] had a claw-foot tub and a piping hot space heater, and seemed a great bargain for $99. I went back to the desk and asked if I might stay on through the rest of the week, which, incidentally, would overlap with New Year’s Eve. The desk clerk — ground down, I imagined, by her daily dealings with local free spirits and individualists — looked at me like I’d asked to crash for free on her couch.

“O.K.,” she finally said. “But you can’t bring a bunch of crazy, noisy people back to your room.”

“I don’t know any crazy, noisy people here,” I told her.

“You’re going to meet some, believe me,” she said.

“Well, even if I do, I don’t think I’ll want to bring them home with me.”

“They can be very persuasive,” she said.

The image also comes from the NYT.  It’s a screen shot of an interactive map detailing “racial and ethnic concentrations.”

Humboldt is very white (77%) but based on the growth rates of other groups it appears the times are a changin’.

  1. March 26, 2011 at 8:36 am

    This part cracked me up. I guess the reporter has never taken a hit off a Volcano.

    Roadside billboards advertise sales on “turkey oven bags,” preferred by contraband expediters for their odor-suppressing properties.

    March 26, 2011 at 8:42 am

    cool map,

    but what is the “type casting” of race being used for again in a census map aside from just overall numbers of humanoids residing within that census district? Just curious.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  3. Down the Road
    March 26, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Simple. How else would Safeway and Winco know what to
    provide their customers?

  4. Anonymous
    March 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I love those billboards, it’s like saying, rookies, here’s how to not (*^&%$ up using ups, usps, and fed-ex for the rest of us, dig, get with the program! But beware, such methods have often been used effectively by the feds. Turkey oven bags are not radio opaque so if you use them, put them in something that is.

  5. Owltotem
    March 26, 2011 at 9:26 am

    “Of the nearly two million acres of old-growth coastal redwoods that once covered central California to southern Oregon, less than 5 percent survived the past 150 years of logging, and about 80 percent of the remaining trees stand on protected lands.”

    damn those Richardson grove flunkies anyway

  6. March 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Wow, how can this writer be so sure he would not want the noisy people to party in his room? The writer’s loss for sure! It is also good to see the demographics changing. Diversity is good.

    Anyway, I am sorry to report to you Heraldo that your blog has once again faltered in the Blogger’s Tournament. The Surfer Girl from early morning fog… was game after all. I know you might ask how that happened, and you do not strike me as the kind to follow sports… so I will advise you to send your complaints to The Ohio State University. Better luck next year!

  7. skippy
    March 26, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Mr. Wells Tower’s New York Times piece is a good read moving along whimsically at a fast gallop. You’ll like it.

    Behind the scenes of this article– and perhaps unbeknownst to the kind reader– Editor Ryan Burns of the North Coast Journal graciously acknowledged and linked Kym Kemp’s Redheaded Blackbelt site and comments for your perusal. Kym, in turn, kindly tipped her hat to Kevin Hoover and the Arcata Eye. She also helped correct a detail Mr. Tower and his fact checkers overlooked in describing the finest restaurant and establishment in Garberville, Cecil’s,… and a few other matters about guns and cash.

    Many readers posted comments at Kym’s corner. Ernie’s Place weighed in with his own always interesting historical observations, as did Hank Sims noting his brief thoughts and a further link into Mr. Tower’s other imbibing article about Dutch marijuana coffee shops in Amsterdam for the timidly curious.

    Having her cake frosted with a deliberate innaccuracy, Becky of Cecil’s corrected the record saying all good Humboldt folks know her restaurant, Cecil’s, has great food at good prices– but no forest elves handpicking chanterelles, adding, “ Humboldt County is not only my home, but the home of many intelligent, creative and innovative people, we take great pride in living here.”

    Right on. Skips has looked into this, asked around, and yes, Cecil’s has received excellent reviews all the way around from locals, tourists, reviewers and the ratings. Mr. Tower raved about Cecil’s in his article, minor details and the sleight of a link aside, judging from stuffing himself and his glowing words afterwards.

    Give the article a read and don’t mess with these Humboldt folks. They’re a tight bunch.

  8. Soggy
    March 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Cecil’s is one of the best restauraunts in the county.
    The chef is from New Orleans and was blown over our
    way by Katrina.

  9. felix
    March 27, 2011 at 2:16 am

    The ‘type casting’ of the map is totally apropos – this place is RETARDED from lack of diversity. And unfortunately most of the non-whites (in So. Hum. anyway)are assimilated (into Humboldt white culture)or are the product of race mixing.

    The quote was a hoot, but so is the comment re. “Humboldt folks being a tight group” – that is as inaccurate as it gets!

    March 27, 2011 at 9:23 am


    so now people look at census maps Felix to decide where they will live based upon the race counts and types of people living in a community – I guess if a person is a bigot, it is a good tool to use for re-location purposes.


  11. March 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Contrast Humboldt with the Bay Area Suburbs whereUpscale[New,Expensive} is
    the aim. You can find a place here-not portrayable
    in a slick article -and not typified as “a tight group”

  12. skippy
    March 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    This thread is running so slow it needs jumper cables clamped to it. Here’s what others said, race demographics aside:

    “Really, I would send the author a little thank you note. No one would dare set foot in Humboldt after reading his article, unless they were well-heeled enough to get out of there, quick.

    “The article was hilarious! Every stereotype (and yes folks, much of it based in truth) that the outside world has of us, all in one place, priceless.”

    “Don’t even trip. At least he got the story back before he stuck around long enough to fall under the spell. Two more days and he woulda been chopping wood, sleeping in a Yurt, talking about heading down to the Yellow Rose.”

    “The photos were stunning. This article will definitely draw Easterners to our magnificent forests, ocean, lodging and restaurants. A great advertisement for our area for drawing Eastern guests with their money to spend.”

    “…I did take offense at his feeling of Garberville being scary… Mine is that it is more like being time warped to the 60′s.”

    “I actually liked his florid prose, but my Depends did bunch up a bit around a few of his sentences.”

    “ya know… one world one love, and all that jazz but we could do without a flood of east coasters making the migration.”

    “I thought the spirit of the article was beautifully true to the place. And it was very, very funny.” (Hank Sims)

    “His description of the scene inside of Arcata Theater on New Year’s Eve was priceless. And, yes, Eureka does look like that with it’s plethora of bail bond agents. But, he described Willow Creek, my hometown, with glowing accuracy. Bigfoot and all.”

    “Poetic license at it’s best. I thoroughly enjoyed the article myself… a lot more than just the Marijuana industry, like our magnificent redwood forests. Nice pictures and contact information to draw more monied Eastern tourists to Humboldt.”

    “I am FURIOUS!!! Not only do we NOT serve a $72 steak but the NY Times called and fact checked this with me… waiting for organic beef raised by dwarves, and crabs harvested by mermaids to pair with our chantrelles hand picked by elves than… have the $72 steak on the menu!”

    “He should have ordered the spicy penne with crayfish. The sauce is to die for.”

    “As is the gumbo, the “oyster-tini”, and many dishes I’ve tried there. When we have out of town guests, we always take them to either Cecil’s, or Mateel Cafe.”

    “Cecil’s has the cleanest, neatest and most organized walk-in cooler in town. That comes from somebody that has been in ALL of them.”

    and lastly, from Longwind:

    “You can’t get Garberville until you’ve kooky-danced with it… Someone knowing nothing of Humboldt will get a glimmer of how wacked-out wonderful it is, with gobs of goofy on top. Is that wrong?”

    …No, it isn’t wrong; in fact, it’s all good. Hope you enjoyed the commentary and visit soon…

  13. skippy
    March 29, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Well, Humboldt got some major press, folks.

    Matt Drange reported today this New York Times Style magazine article, The High Life, had ‘a million peeks.’

    With 1.4 million subscribers and the magazine available in 53,000 retail outlets, the article was a major push forward introducing Humboldt and its gloriously wacky wonders to the nation, whether one likes it or not.

    The East Coast just met the North Coast. If it wasn’t well known enough before, SoHum and Humboldt County certainly are the buzzwords of the day for the Big Apple– and everywhere in between now.

    Cecil’s fine food garnished with chantrelles and elves are equally famous, too, no doubt. What’s next? I’m sure Guy Fieri will be coming by soon to check it out.

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